Earlier this week, Ubisoft launched its latest update for Ghost Recon Wildlands, a sizeable offering that included a crossover with the Rainbow Six Siege universe - which, fans have noted, includes a cheeky nod to the controversial, and ultimately cancelled, Rainbow Six Patriots game.
Patriots was unveiled all the way back in 2011, by way of some intriguing, predominantly first-person prototype footage that depicted a terrorist plot (orchestrated by the True Patriots of the title) as it unfolded through the eye of multiple characters - including a Rainbow Six operative, and an innocent man forced to carry a bomb into Times Square after his family is kidnapped.
Following several years in which further news about Patriots was notably absent, the game was finally confirmed to be cancelled in 2013 - Ubisoft's Laurent Detoc told IGN that it simply "wasn't working" - and it was announced the series would continue in the form of Rainbow Six Siege. All of which brings us nicely up-to-date.
And now, fans have spotted a nice little nod to the game that wasn't to be, in the newly released Siege/Wildlands crossover campaign mission. It features a brief sequence (seen in the video below) in which your Operative asks Twitch - Siege's drone specialist - about Patriots while driving. "Hey, I heard something about an op you guys ran that went south," your Operative inquires, "Operation Patriots ring any bells?"
A surprised Twitch demands to know where you heard about the Patriots, saying "Tell your sources to mind their business. Patriots is very classified." Despite additional prompting, Twitch refuses to be drawn on further details, "Not even with a knife to my throat." Hardly revelatory stuff then, but it's fun to see Ubisoft acknowledging one of the Rainbow Six series' more notorious episodes - and the game that, however meanderingly, lead to Siege's inception.
Ghost Recon Wildlands' latest update, known as Special Operation 2, goes way beyond self-referential callbacks, of course; it introduces the likes of new modes, maps, classes, customisation features, and more - as you can read about elsewhere.