Ubisoft's tactical shooter Rainbow Six Siege is undergoing some changes as part of the game's expansion into Asian territories, according to a news post on the official Rainbow Six Siege website.
Many of the game's more contentious elements, such as art and icons depicting skulls as well as references to gambling and sex, are to be toned down or removed entirely. Ubisoft says this is to "ensure compliance" with some of the more censorious laws and regulations in place in some Asian territories, but assures players that none of the changes will have an impact on the gameplay itself, just the visuals.
In the news post, Ubisoft also outlines some of the reasons the game is being censored worldwide rather than just for those territories. The company says its development team will be "more agile" as a result of maintaining a single build of Rainbow Six Siege rather than two different concurrent builds. In addition, Ubisoft wants to guarantee that future changes to the game are "aligned with the global regulations [it is] working towards", and having a single version of the game makes this easier. Despite this, Ubisoft stated on Reddit that a single build would not technically be possible and that there would be "some things that are split build-wise". The "branched build" of the game will be region-locked, and won't be accessible via VPNs.
Here are some images of the things Ubisoft is changing in Rainbow Six Siege:
These changes are likely due in large part to China's notoriously strict rules when it comes to content in games and other media. The country prohibits "anything that promotes or incites obscenity, drug use, violence, or gambling", as well as anything that "harms public ethics or China's culture and traditions". It's not hard to see how some of the content here could fall afoul of these rules, broad and uncompromising as they are.
Although Ubisoft says it isn't going to compromise the gameplay of Rainbow Six Siege, fan response to the changes has been overwhelmingly negative, with fans confused and angered by what they perceive to be hypocrisy on Ubisoft's part. Popular battle royale game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is currently facing a potential ban in China, and many other Western games have struggled to secure release in the region.
The changes will be implemented in the Year 3 Season 4 (Y3S4) update, due in late 2018.
We've reached out to Ubisoft for clarification on the "different builds" issue, as well as for more details on this story in general. We'll keep you posted as and when we get updates.
How do you feel about the changes being made to Rainbow Six Siege? Let us know in the comments below!