Branching Levels Driven By Moral Choices Could Be Rainbow 6's Secret Weapon

While other shooters are pursuing more weapons, more maps, higher polygon counts, higher body counts; Tom Clancy's latest Rainbow Six game is pushing the envelop on morality.

In unveiling Rainbow 6: Patriots this week, developer and publisher Ubisoft says that the game "adds an unprecedented level of humanity that will make (it) an extremely tense and immersive experience." Players will have to make "tough ethical decisions" as the story progresses.

Over the summer, sources leaked material to Kotaku showing some of those tough decisions. Some of that showed up over on Game Informer today as part of a video. In the video we see a group of men break into a home and threaten a man who they say cashed in when everyone else got foreclosed on.

A bomb is strapped to the man's body. He is told to hold the bomb's detonator and keep it from exploding until they get to Times Square—or his family dies. When the perspective shifts to the Rainbow Six team they're eventually asked to toss the man off a bridge to save the lives of hundreds of people. While not shown in the video released to Game Informer, Kotaku saw gameplay that shows the player the number of nearby civilians that could die if a player makes a different decision at the game's predetermined crossroads.

Kotaku's sources, which first revealed the game's setting, plot and details months ago, also went into more detail about the game's use of morality. The game was meant to morality as a plot-shifting element to the choices a player makes in the game. But that idea was on the cutting block, we were told. Developers and the publisher were still debating whether the game should include not just questionably moral choices, but choices that impact the way a level plays out.

The video shows the tough calls a player may be asked to make, but not whether deciding not to make the call means that the game can continue along a different route. Ubisoft declined to comment today about the game or what decision was made about the way the game's levels could be influenced by decision.

Including these branching paths would mean a longer development cycle and greater risk. But morality as a road sign along a predetermined path would bring very little to the game. Morality with choices and differing repercussions, on the other hand, is the sort of inclusion that could change the nature of an increasingly stale genre.


    Wow, very interesting indeed.

    Alas, alot of games have claimed to give you game changing moral choices... Yet little to no games have made the forks caused by your actions to be "game changing".

    What "stale genre"?
    This isn't the fast paced, death from all angles,Michael Bay COD/Battlefield series... For one R6 has a cover system - something no-one seems to want in the big FPS'.
    I don't see that the tactical shooter is a stale or overused genre - most FPS' have shied away from this type of action... Are there similar games I've missed?

    I won't be sold until I know what the choices actually play out like. Tough ethical decisions in games usually just end up being 'be a monster or be a hero'. You never get stuck between doing something really terrible and something really, really terrible, then having either option constantly dredged back up.
    The bridge situation sounds like it could be that, but it also sounds like it could just be a chance to stick it to someone we hate or be the better man and save them.
    They also need to make it so the outcomes aren't so predictable. You can always tell when you're doing the right thing. You never go in with good intentions and come out soaked in innocent blood. I think it'd be interesting the second time when you know that trying to save the civilians is going to end worse than letting them die. Knowing that in the big picture you made the right choice while the game makes you feel like a jerk for not trying.
    It would also be interesting to choose to be a jerk (which ends up being the right thing) then getting treated like a hero as a result. Some people know the truth while others praise you (that'd make for an interesting reaction from the villain).

    Lastly it'd be nice if instead of only having morality choices they also had one chance performance based choices. The sort of options where you've been given the OK to just let the school bus full of kids die, but you've got the option of going in and trying to pull off a really hard save that puts your team in a lot of danger if you fail. If you choose not to try they die, you see some parents and feel bad. If you choose to try and end up failing, you lose some of your team AND the kids AND see the parents AND get chewed out for trying when you were told not to. Lastly if you choose to try and succeed, you're a god damn hero. =P

    I want to see more games do this. Simply put, good media makes us think about stuff, and games are a fantastic medium to explore that.

    Ugh, I was interested until you described one of the situations. Permutations on the trolley problem are way too irritating.

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