Rainbow Six Siege has male and female hostages

But the E3 demo focused on a woman to encourage "empathy". Hmm.

Rainbow Six Siege will feature male and female hostages, developer Ubisoft has explained, answering questions raised by its E3 demo earlier this month.

"We're also gonna have male hostages. That's part of the plan," technical artist Oliver Couture told Rock, Paper, Shotgun at the show.

If you're wondering why the E3 demo only focused on two teams of players running around fighting over an apparently helpless female hostage, though, rather than the male variety, then the other part of his answer may be a little less encouraging.

"I mean, when we did that design we felt a lot of empathy with the hostage. We wanted people to want to protect her. If the hostage gets killed a team loses the game, so we wanted players to care about the hostage so that's the design we chose."

As RPS writer Nathan Grayson put it, "It's great to hear that options will be there, but unfortunate that its most public presentation played off an ancient video game trope (not to mention a larger, even more harmful societal stereotype) that women are only for protecting/rescuing, that we naturally care about them more than men in that capacity."

Ubisoft told Eurogamer it didn't have anything to add to Couture's comments at this time.

On a brighter note, Grayson reckoned that the tech behind the game sounds quite nifty, giving hostages a bit more agency than the average hostage-rescue-mode MacGuffin. Apparently hostages will react to explosions, take cover from gunfire and generally behave realistically as two teams fight for control of the situation.

Rainbow Six Siege was certainly one of the outstanding new games shown off at E3 earlier this month in a demo that suggested it might take first-person shooters in an exciting new direction, so we hope that will prove to be the case, even though the thinking behind the E3 demo sounds like it was a little less advanced.

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