Six Vegas : Interview with Chadi Lebbos and Jean-Pascal Cambiotti
Senior Producer and Multiplayer Lead Designer -
other press members of XCN (Xbox Community Network), we have been able to ask
some questions to Chadi Lebbos (Senior Producer) and Jean-Pascal Cambiotti (Multiplayer
Lead Designer) from Ubisoft Montreal concerning their game : Rainbow Six Vegas.
: Why did you choose to introduce new main characters in the series ?
Chadi Lebbos : There are a couple reasons behind that decision. First is
the timeline of the game. The story takes place in 2010 so the characters you
used to play with are starting to be a bit old to remain in active duty. Second,
we felt that with the next-generation consoles, it was a good time to introduce
a new team of operatives.
XCN : UbiSoft
games like GRAW, Splinter Cell and Vegas look amazing on Xbox 360, but Windows
versions have always surpassed what the Xbox and Xbox 360 versions offered. Does
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas redress this balance by using the characteristic
graphical power of the Xbox 360?
Chadi Lebbos : Windows & 360
version will both look equally amazing, thanks to the 360's three core that allow
us to simultaneously deal with rendering, physics and AI.
: Online modes have been a distinctive aspect of your games. Will you improve
previous modes and include new ones in Vegas?
Chadi Lebbos : Tom Clancy's
Rainbow Six Vegas has 6 online adversarial game modes including Attack & Defend,
which is a team-based mode with mission-based objectives. This means that depending
on the map you're playing, the objective will change whether it's to recover Intel,
rescue a hostage or disarm a bomb. We also have the Retrieval game mode, which
has two teams racing to recover a biohazard canister. This mode can be won either
by captures, or by kills. We're also bringing back our legacy modes: Team Survival,
Team Sharpshooter, Survival and Sharpshooter. The team, or player, left standing
Since team work is so important for us in this franchise, we have two
different cooperative game modes: Terrorist Hunt and Story Mode. Both these modes
are playable in Split screen, System Link and on Xbox Live. Tom Clancy's Rainbow
Six Vegas online is the most complete multiplayer package you can get.
: Why did you choose to use Unreal Engine 3, instead of the GRAW engine, or
the one used in the last Splinter Cell ? What kind of new possibilities does UE3
gave to you ?
Chadi Lebbos : Several core team members were familiar
with the Unreal development suite having worked with Unreal 2 in the past, so
it was a natural fit. The fact that it was equipped with the kind of networking
support we needed for the game was also a big plus.
: The demo released on the Marketplace is great, but not always smooth at
moments; can we expect a better and constant frame rate in the final version ?
Chadi Lebbos : Without a doubt. We've had some time to improve the
game's frame rate since the release of the demo. Since first showing it at E3
we knew that many people wanted to play Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas, so we
wanted to get a demo out there to showcase our new game play elements and when
you read the forums, it's clear that a vast majority of players enjoyed the demo.
XCN : How much community input
did you read/use, during the R6 Vegas development?
Chadi Lebbos :
We read the forums and listen to our community. We know that they wanted a more
tactical experience and with the package we're offering in Tom Clancy's Rainbow
Six Vegas, I'm sure they'll be happy about it.
: What do you think is the most important feature in this new title?
Chadi Lebbos : Actually, it's not a feature, it's the OPA (observe / plan
/ assault) concept and the global experience you'll have while playing Tom Clancy's
Rainbow Six Vegas. We have a group of features that together offer a unique experience
for the player. The take cover system, the snake cam, the rappelling, crashing
through a window, getting your briefing live in the chopper and through the Picture
in Picture, the tagging system, the team command, you name it.
: How does the multiplayer game differ from the single player mode and will
you be able to command your team-mates via the headset in single player?
Chadi Lebbos : The multiplayer part of the game shares all the cool features
you have in the single player like the rappelling and invert-rappelling, the fast-roping,
the take cover, the snake cam and the wide variety of weapons. You can even play
through the entire story mode with your friends in coop.
You can issue voice
commands to your team in single player using your headset. In the multiplayer,
you can communicate with your team-mates to increase the team play.
: Will the 3rd person view be disabled in the multiplayer game?
Lebbos : No it won't. We realize that some people are sceptical of third-person
view in multiplayer, but we're convinced that it's a lot more fun and we've taken
considerable time to tweak and balance the cover system just for MP. We play tested
the game, played countless hours at the office with the development team. It's
not an unfair advantage because everybody has it, and when you get out of cover
to shoot, you expose yourself.
: Do you have any plans for Add-Ons or downloadable content in the future?
Chadi Lebbos :
It's our objective to keep supporting our games
once they've been released, but it's too early to give any details on this.
: What kind of co-op play can we look forward to seeing online and will this
include the ability to play through the single player missions with friends as
past incarnations of the game allowed?
Chadi Lebbos : Two different
co-op modes are available for you to play with your friends: Terrorist Hunt and
Story Mode. In Terro Hunt, you can play up to four players in a variety of maps
in which you have to eliminate all terrorists. In the story mode, you can go through
the entire single player experience with your friends. Both coops modes can be
played with the multiplayer character you created using the P.E.C. 2.0, or you
can select from a bunch of pre-made characters.
: Could you tell us a little more about the new cover system and how it affects
the way the game plays?
Chadi Lebbos : Take cover is a new addition
to the series and everyone who's played the game will say the same: it's great.
Not only does it increase the observation stage of our game play by letting you
see the situation, but since you can stay on cover and turn 360 degrees it's also
really useful to stay in cover while you shoot at enemies that are trying to flank
: Whats new about Rainbow Six Vegas?
J-P Cambiotti : Ill
address that in two sections whats new on the single-player side
and whats new on the multiplayer side. In the single-player game we have
a new switch between first-person and third-person view when youre doing
certain actions. We now have a full 360 degree cover system so you can see and
move in every direction while youre in cover. If terrorists or other players
try to flank your position you can now spot them and take care of the threat.
We also have other third-person activities like rapelling, inverse rapelling,
fast-roping. They all add an extra level of immersion into the game and they just
feel right they feel like they should have been in the game from the start.
From the multiplayer point of view we have a new system called Persistent
Elite Creation which means you arent tied down to one specific character
class. We do this by giving you a handful of character customisation options for
every rank you achieve. So at Private rank youll only have a few, but when
you reach Elite Operative youll be able to totally customise your appearance
and skill set. Weve got a whole bunch of new weapons, body armours, clothing
and camo to unlock. You can use these to differentiate yourself as an individual,
or create a unique uniform for your team.
: Why Vegas, and what characteristics of the city will we see in the game?
J-P Cambiotti : Las Vegas is a great city for a videogame. Its very
rich in terms of diversity. Theres lots going on lots of lights,
lots of sounds, lots of interesting locations. Its kind of like the adult
version of Disneyland, and we thought that itd be cool to have a game in
an urban setting with so many different visual themes. But the game isnt
exclusively set in the city. In fact, the first mission is set in a Mexican border
town, so we also have that contrast of this big, brash city with the isolated
XCN : Will we be seeing
the seedier side of Las Vegas?
J-P Cambiotti : Ha! Yes and no. There
are certain seedy areas like underground casinos and mafia strongholds that youll
have to explore, but for us the coolest thing was taking the action to areas where
people are usually having so much fun. Youll see the Strip, Freemont Street,
and some of the biggest and flashiest casinos in town, but its not just
about casinos. Youll be on the street, on rooftops, underground. Youll
really have to take advantage of the new moves like rapelling to complete your
XCN : Las Vegas is being held
hostage by the terrorists, so what kind of situations will Team Rainbow come up
against as we play the game?
J-P Cambiotti : We have loads of interesting
scenarios that put Team Rainbow right in the line of fire. Theyve been sent
to Vegas to free the city from the clutches of a terrorist organisation, but I
dont want to go into too many details. Weve put a lot of time and
effort into making the storyline really engaging for the player. The plot has
a lot of twists and turns and I want people to experience them for themselves.
I will say that its definitely worth seeing how some of the characters develop
later in the game
XCN : Xbox Live play
in Rainbow Six 3 was huge do you think youll have the same success
J-P Cambiotti : Weve certainly taken some big risks.
The third-person cover system is something that people generally frown upon, but
we went with our gut instinct and now when people try it they think it feels right
for the game. What we did to test it was take one of the classic Rainbow Six multiplayer
maps City Street Sarge and see if the cover system, rapelling and
fast-roping worked. Luckily they fit right in! Weve actually added the map
to Vegas under a new name and with a new visual style. Its called Mexico
Streets, but its exactly the same layout that people know and love.
: When did the idea for the face mapping come about and how easy was it to
J-P Cambiotti : Wed been in talks with Microsoft
for a long time about what we could do with the camera. For us, wed always
thought that playing co-op and competitive with other players was great fun, but
you often want to see your friends faces. When Microsoft showed us the Live
Vision Camera we thought wed finally be able to do that. Getting it up and
running was actually a lot easier than we thought. Were using a third-party
application called Digi-Mask from LogiTech. What it does is take a picture of
your face from the front and one from the side, then creates a unique Unreal Engine
mesh of your head. Its not just taking a picture and slapping it on an existing
head. Its building a whole new head complete with bone structure and 3D
: What do you think it will add to the Xbox Live experience?
: Its going to immerse you a lot more. You have much more of an attachment
to your character when he looks exactly like you. If he dies, it hurts a little
bit more! Add that to the deep customisation we have and you can really create
a totally unique character in your own image, which is something everyone wants.
XCN : Is there a security risk that people
might create an inappropriate head for their character?
: Microsoft has restrictions that you can put in place so if you dont
want to see other characters custom heads you can turn them off. Or you
can choose to only see your friends faces. You can also report inappropriate
use of the face-mapping system. But weve taken great care to ensure its
difficult for users to create anything inappropriate. Digi-Mask scans for eyes,
nose and lips in every image so its tough to get anything inappropriate
past the computer.
XCN : Could you scan in
a picture of, say, your cat and use that as your in-game head?
: It would be very tough to get something like that to work. The Digi-Mask
software knows face geometry, like where the eyes are, how far apart they are,
where the nose should be in relation to the other features, and the kinds of relative
size ratios of the human face. That said, if you do manage to get something offensive
past the system other players can report it and Microsoft has the power to remove
XCN : What support are you giving to clans
J-P Cambiotti : Were allowing teams to create their
own unique look and give themselves a three letter prefix in front of their GamerTag
to identify themselves. They can then engage in team battles by using friend invites.
Rainbow Six is all about team play, and in fact our new multiplayer game mode,
Attack and Defend, is totally focussed on effective teamwork. That said, co-op
gameplay is huge for us. I think its a very neglected type of gameplay,
but in Vegas we have several modes where you can have loads of fun taking on the
AI with your friends.
XCN : Do you have plans
J-P Cambiotti : We havent announced anything at the
moment, but what I can tell you is that the Rainbow Six team listens very closely
to the community and what it wants from the game. So I think we can definitely
expect to see something for the community on Marketplace very soon.
: And whats in the future for Team Rainbow? Where will its next assignment
J-P Cambiotti : Its too early to tell. Lets just make
sure Vegas is saved from the terrorists for now!
: Many thanks for your time !
Six Vegas videos
Six Vegas official site
Other Xbox 360 interviews
Max73, Xbox Gazette,
December 6th 2006
Thanks to : Chadi Lebbos, Jean-Pascal
Cambiotti, Graeme Boyd, XCN, Ubisoft