Rainbow Six: Siege was the surprise finale of Ubisoft's E3 conference, featuring a team of players descending on a suburban home where a woman was held hostage by a group of heavily armed bad guys. The woman cowered while the house exploded around her, and she was referred to as "The Hostage" throughout the demo, passed back and forth between enemies and rescuers as if she were a flag to capture.
The apparent objectification of the woman didn't sit well with many viewers – but the game will also feature men as hostages, Technical Artist Oliver Couture told RPS: "We're also gonna have male hostages. That's part of the plan."
Ubisoft decided to use a woman hostage in the E3 demo for a specific reason, Couture said. "I know some people asked about the hostage in the demo. 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." Men aren't worthy of empathy, apparently.
Couture described the technical aspects of the hostages in Rainbow Six: Siege as the epitome of next-gen. "We're trying to define next-gen with the hostage," he said. "We call that a 'living hostage.' So she'll react to explosions and things like that. It's pretty cool. She'll cough because of the dirt in the air, she covers herself when there's shooting – those sorts of things. We want the player to be able to move her into different positions, for there to be fluid controls. It's a balance between player comfort and reality."