Rainbow Six Has Male Hostages, & Why They Weren’t At E3

By Nathan Grayson on June 24th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

Rainbow Six Siege by many accounts “won” E3, at least as far one can win a circus. For real, though, it’s quite a concept, and Ubisoft seems well on its way to making destructibility actually mean something in a game, something even more profound and important than, “Oooooo, now that pillar is made of 20 percent less pillar.” Siege’s E3 demo did leave a bit of a weird taste in some mouths, though, mainly because shoving around a lady in the team-based Hostage Mode like she’s the flag in capture the flag is kind of odd, even if you’re rescuing her. First the good news: there will be dude hostages too in the final game. But, when pressed to explain why the E3 demo only featured a woman, I was given a slightly troubling answer.

I spoke with technical artist Oliver Couture about the hostages in Siege’s hostage mode, and he said that, yes, there will absolutely be male hostages. As for the reason a woman hostage took center stage in the E3 demo, well, here’s the thing:

“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. But we’re also gonna have male hostages. That’s part of the plan.”

It’s great to hear that options will be there, but unfortunate that its most public presentation played off an ancient videogame 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. And to be frank given the way many people are raised in this day and age, that might be true for some. But approaching a game demo this way is exploiting that trope instead of seeking to undermine it or otherwise move away from it.

I understand that Ubisoft had to show something for its demo, but the reasoning here leaves me feeling a little wary. It comes off the back of their games at this year’s E3 featuring poor representation and contradictory reasoning for it. I’m not super surprised given how this year’s E3 generally unfolded, but I am disappointed.

The hostage tech does sound legitimately interesting, though. Couture continued:

“We’re trying to define next-gen with the hostage. 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.”

So they’re aiming to make it feel like you’re helping out a person, not just dragging around a creepily human-looking doll. I worry, though, that even the most uncanny-valley-bounding effort might plummet into the depths of bizarro world strangeness after 50 or 100 matches.

We’ll see. In the meantime, we’re at a familiar crossroads: Ubisoft has a fantastic looking game on its hands, but there are some archaic mentalities feeding into it. Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad there will be both male and female hostages in the final game. I just wish that one of the few woman characters featured at Ubi’s conference wasn’t a victim of kidnapping. I can’t demand a company change what it’s doing, but I can hope very, very hard for better in the future.

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131 Comments »

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  1. herme. says:

    In this world there are women and there are men, this hostage just happens to be female.
    Sometimes if you want equality you shouldn’t point out how things should be different.

    • Premium User Badge

      Vesuvius says:

      Yeah, maybe there’s a 50/50 chance the hostage would be female. But what are the odds that almost every hostage in pop culture and video games is female to the extent that “damsel in distress” is a term we all know?

      It’s not like this game exists in a vacuum.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        Ironically, in the walking dead, when faced with saving a Carley or Douge, 75% of gamers save the woman.

        http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2013/03/28/telltale-why-fewer-people-saved-doug-in-the-walking-dead.aspx

        • HadToLogin says:

          I saved her too, but not because of vagina – she knows how to shoot (which I decided was more useful in zombie world), he repairs electric stuff (which I decided will have less uses).

        • bill says:

          I saved Doug. And then felt very protective of him after finding out that most people didn’t. He was cool.

      • HadToLogin says:

        I don’t remember any action movie where all hostages were females.

        But when bad guy take one hostage, it’s usually someone closest to main hero – we didn’t had that many gay main heroes, so kinda hard to take their husbands…

        • Premium User Badge

          Vesuvius says:

          Telling me that in almost every action movie the hero’s a hetero male and the main captive is his helpless female love interest does nothing to disprove this as something that’s overdone.

          And to my earlier post- I did say ALMOST intentionally, I recognize there are exceptions, and there are places where it is fitting too- but there’s also a very hetero male centric view which makes most of this stuff…..

          • HadToLogin says:

            Yes, it is overdone. But you made it sound like there’s some nefarious plot behind it, while it’s simple “guy rescues his girl”. When once in decade main hero of pure-action-flick is female, we can see her boy getting in trouble and she needs to rescue him.

      • Remnant says:

        It doesn’t exist in a vacuum, no, but there’s this kind of strange selective vacuum going on here.

        Let’s evaluate:

        The first Rainbow Six game had female and male operatives, female and male hostages. This trend continued in the series, through Rogue Spear and Raven Shield, Lockdown (even though we prefer to ignore that).

        It changed in Vegas, to an extent: Your three-person team was all-male, except for creating a custom character as a female. The intel agent was female, and again the hostages were split between male and female.

        So in conclusion, Rainbow Six has been using men and women as hostages (and operatives!) since 199-fucking-8. But again, we are all wasting our time with this stupid shit. There are legitimate areas of concern — Assassin’s Creed, for instance. But five minutes of, gosh, research would show you that this is actually one of these series that deserves praise. Does it get praise? No. One demo featuring a single hostage, and a coin toss to essentially decide gender, and this gets an article.

        Does the female sniper get a mention, who saves the male operative during the game? No. Because Grayson probably didn’t see the rest of the video for the blood-red vision he suddenly had at the notion of a female hostage.

        Again, it needs to be said: Rainbow Six is actually a series that has said “Your gender does not matter to us.” You can be male and have a gun to your head. You can be a female and save the goddamn day. You can roll in with a full team of men or a full team of women. It’s a series about stopping bad guys.

        But instead, this nonsense, as if a 15 year streak of male hostages is going to end based on one 15 minute demo. This is uninformed, perhaps even deliberately. It neglects the awesome female sniper, forgetting to even mention her work, because the goal is to fixate on (incorrect!) negative assumptions rather than praising this series. Rainbow Six should, for all its faults, be held up as an example of where the industry should be going, a direction that Call of Duty and Battlefield have STILL failed to match. This series sees gender as no obstacle.

        Again, not a vacuum, right? No. Apparently this 15 minute video is a vacuum, because he’s willing to throw the franchise’s history under the bus to make a point, but in another article he’ll jump on Assassin’s Creed poor history to prove the same point… so… what, AC gets hounded for its history, but R6’s history is wiped clean because they want their alarmist bullshit?

    • Hyoscine says:

      Okay, no, flat-out wrong.

      “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.”

      Love how you can read a quote overtly stating this was a conscious design choice, and attempt to defend it by telling us it just happens to be this way. An idiotic status quo requires idiotic logic to defend it. Which I guess is how we get gems like…

      “Sometimes if you want equality you shouldn’t point out how things should be different.”

      Urgh, just… Just stop, okay?

      • FleeingNevada says:

        It’s human nature that the males will have a natural urge to protect females. It’s not sexist, it’s fact. Equality is a great thing that should be striven for, but the internet has a habit of picking all the wrong battles and making huge deals of them. This being one of those cases.

        • joa says:

          Thank you. Arguing against basic evolved behaviours is an utter waste of time. It is absurd to me that people have such a problem with the idea that there are natural differences between men and women.

          I don’t even buy that this is entirely negative towards women either. It also has negative implications for men, i.e. that people will not try to help/protect them as much. So it balances itself out, as do all things in nature.

          • Premium User Badge

            DrollRemark says:

            Rainbow Six: Only for men with outdated biological compulsions!

          • joa says:

            Hmm yes – real men rewrite their genetic code at will to fit in with the social movements du jour

        • WinTurkey says:

          It’s also a sound design decision to make the hostage, you know stand out. She was female in that video for the same reason the engineer in TF2 wears a bright yellow hardhat to combat: to be recognizable. Seeing a dude being held hostage by equally-sized dudes (albeit better armed and with masks) would be far more confusing in the video.

          • Hyoscine says:

            Because the idea of hostages being rescued by a woman is utterly impossible. Gotcha.

          • FleeingNevada says:

            Hyocine, please point out how elite Rainbow Six teams comprised entirely of women are there. You probably missed the fact that one of the team members was a woman to begin with.

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            megabear says:

            I know WinTurkey, normal dudes are always wearing body armor, balaclavas, holsters and a bunch of ammo pouches – I can never tell them apart from the actual dudes that want to kill/kidnap me!

    • Hikkikomori says:

      I see what you’re trying to say but the developer specifically said that the hostage didn’t just happen to be female. It was a targeted attempt to elicit more empathy and macho protective feelings.

      Why not put a child instead, or an older man? It’s pretty much guaranteed that everyone will have more protective urges towards a child. And if that child happened to be a girl, that wouldn’t be too bad, I suppose.

      • Runty McTall says:

        Presumably the hostage being a child would have other design implications though, such as it being a smaller object to see / potentially avoid shooting?

      • FleeingNevada says:

        A child would have elicited no response from me. I’m more bored with the “oh noes, the child, think of the children!” trope than with the “help her/him against overwhelming odds.”

        It’s more telling that in this situation people are not seeing people helping someone against well armed, well co-ordinated thugs with weapons and training that the victim doesn’t have, but instead are only focusing on what they have between their legs.

        • BobbyDylan says:

          Indeed. In fact children illicit a feeling of loathing in most gamers as they tend to be a chore. I remember hating the little sisters after playing Bioshock 2. Clementine was pretty much the only child in a video game I didn’t want to shoot.

      • PaceCol says:

        Well, imagine the media outrage at a chiild being killed in a videogame? VIDEOGAME PROMOTES CHILD VIOLENCE ROARR
        Odd that you take offence at the thought of “women being protected” as opposed to the obvious inference that “no-one cares about men”
        I certainly know which ideology I find more offensive.

    • leandrombraz says:

      The problem here is that someone started a controversy hunt against Ubisoft in this E3, so the media is looking at everything Ubisoft showed there with other eyes, looking in each corner for something that they can classify as prejudice against women. That’s the only reason the gender of the hostage stood out. It’s merely the media looking for controversy to get some views, nothing more than that. I honestly feel sorry for Ubisoft having to deal with this BS. They just released a game with a female protagonist (Child of Light), does anyone in the media remember of that while throwing accusations at Ubisoft? No, it doesn’t give views, they want the controversy..

    • MrFlakeOne says:

      @herme. – Can’t agree more. There are more male characters in almost every game (CoD series, Battlefield series almost don’t have any female characters) and it wasn’t a big deal, but someone decided to point it out to Ubisoft this year. A bit silly imho.

  2. Stevostin says:

    “It’s great to hear that options will be there, but unfortunate that its most public presentation played off an ancient videogame trope”

    Isn’t this a bit video game centric ? It’s an anthropological trope. It’s not even ancient one. It’s one thing to want civilisation to evolve in a certain sense, it’s another to pose as woman right progressist by condemning everyone who doesn’t share that posture by messing things up and actually considering men and women are “the same thing”, interchangeable etc. This has been overdebated and certainly will again so I’ll stop here, but my money is that in 30 years from now, men will still have a taste for violence, women still won’t, rain will still fall and kids will still copy theft every IP they can.

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      RedViv says:

      You did jump right to bloody comment on this, instead of reading the next bit in the brackets? Really?

      • Stevostin says:

        I read the whole paragraph and its conclusion. On a more general angle I note that the whole article is how it’s a bad thing that a character calling for player’s protection instinct (with player being generally a male, especially as it’s a fps) to want to protect a woman. I think a game maker’s priority goal, like in other entertainement such as books, movies etc is to get the player moved the way she/he wants to. You can get Lee and Clementine, and it doesn’t convey the same thing as say Michelle and Clementine or Michelle and Louis – all are valid option but they will convey slightly different reaction to the audience. You can make your game/movie/book about questioning the convention but you shouldn’t if that’s not really your goal, because else it will just be confusing. Well, at least that’s my opinion.

        Also note that I used the word “anthropology”. It’s more than just a cultural artefact. Culture (not like war) always change. But within the boundaries of what exactly is and isn’t humanity. I don’t blame the idea of lobbying in favoir of men right equality, but I think it’s often clumsy and missing the point. What matters is equality in political power/rights. If you confuse that with equivalence, you actually harms the cause by disrupting the energy and public debate in a dead end. Because there is no equivalence, there has never been and there probably won’t be (well unless science…). It’s not even that it’s not a bad thing, it’s that it’s that way. It doesn’t care to be “good” or “bad”, it’s a given.

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          RedViv says:

          This is all well and good, but… You’re still addressing that this is not a game-exclusive thing, which Nathan explicitly points out as well. And it does not even remotely require any delving into the complicated nature of conveying relationships and bond between audience and protagonist, as they are going for a rightfully criticised shortcut with Care About This Poor Woman Here in promotion of a multiplayer thing.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Stijn says:

    News like this makes me wonder – are game devs/PR people really so disconnected from reality that they can’t see such a rationale will not go over well in a lot of places? Inequality issues have been a pretty hot topic lately, I’d think you’d have to be fairly boneheaded to think explaining that scene like this is a reasonable idea.

    • soldant says:

      The dev is screwed either way, it really doesn’t even matter what they say. Give an explanation, get crucified for whatever you say – even if they just said “Because that’s what we made” they’d still be in trouble over it. Don’t give an explanation and your silence is taken as proof of guilt and you’re crucified for it. The trailer itself is enough to provoke a response apparently.

  4. TheManintheHat says:

    Another article about female vs troops in videogames? Really? I mean I really enjoyed reading some of the discussions, but is it just me or is this just becoming too much of a trend?

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Nah, it’s fine. I mean, I don’t particularly bitch about the high numbers of DOTA articles even though I don’t care about it, I just skim right over ‘em.

      • HadToLogin says:

        That was poor example, as search shows last article about DOTA was month ago, while women again took over Sunday Papers (well, at least comment section) and there’s whole s.exe column that focuses on women-in-games. Or riduculing men, to show how women are treated.

    • Shadowcat says:

      I can’t decide whether that was intentional or not.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      The articles will stop when the problem stops.

      Thus, any effort complaining about the frequency of these articles would be better spent trying to help solve the problem.

  5. Brinx says:

    Misogyny in 3… 2… 1…

    • Torn says:

      There’s no redeeming discussion, from either side. Many straw-person arguments.

      Turn back now.

      • Ansob says:

        “Either side” implies that MRAs have anything at all to say that isn’t just misogynistic white noise.

  6. zachforrest says:

    It’s amazing they actually put some thought into it, and the result was – let’s use a woman.

    Why open yourself up to this kind of (in my opinion justified) criticism? Who is running Ubisoft comms? Why are they so shit?

    At very best it says Ubisoft are a company who don’t even want the appearance of being different.

    Such a lack of ambition.

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      Yeah, it’s weird. They really could have gotten away with saying, “There are also male hostages. The level that we used in the demo simply has a women hostage.”

      • Premium User Badge

        RedViv says:

        It is weird and unfortunate.
        You know what? That’s all Nathan ever states. Why do so many people here get ANGRY over Nathan and Dem Horrible Nice Warriors And Knights supposedly being ANGRY at this? All this article conveys is that it’s bothersome.

        • Bull0 says:

          He also said

          “It’s great to hear that options will be there, but unfortunate that its most public presentation played off an ancient videogame 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. And to be frank given the way many people are raised in this day and age, that might be true for some. But approaching a game demo this way is exploiting that trope instead of seeking to undermine it or otherwise move away from it.”

          So because the hostage in the demo was female, they were “playing off” the trope that women are only for protecting/rescuing, instead of “seeking to undermine it” (like having a female rescuer – hang on, they did that) or “moving away from it” (love to hear suggestions on how to “move away from a trope” when you think about what tropes actually are for five seconds).

          There’s so much wrong with this it’s hard to know where to start really – all the previous games have had mostly male hostages, the fact that a hostage is unarmed and at threat is what makes them vulnerable, rather than their gender, etc. As it is it feels like clickbait. I’m normally down with these stories even when they seem a bit hysterical but I don’t see the merit in this one at all, really takes the mickey.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Thing is, there is a silent majority of people who believe in traditional gender roles and get genuinely butthurt on a fundamental level when someone questions masculinity at all, and companies know that while various people will get upset if they’re sexist, they also make money if they encourage the stereotypes that people find comfortable, and some negative press in the more progressive outlets probably won’t hurt sales as much as not pandering in their advertising. I mean, this is E3, where many people voluntarily go and soak up PR horseshit, where crass commercialism is jammed into everything (my favourite was where the presenters in the EA conference said they felt weird and self-conscious being filmed by a helicopter on a roof before openly shilling for pre-order tat).

      • zachforrest says:

        I don’t think this particular instance would have alienated the morons too much, had it been a man.

        Imagine the buzz they’d have generated if the hostage had been a really valuable race horse or something.

        Plus everyone empathises with horses. Those serious faces and big eyes…so sweet

        Edit: also the terrorists could ride the horse, for a tactical advantage

  7. gabrielonuris says:

    Next time I want my games to have dog hostages; or maybe chickens… I don’t know, maybe saving a frog from time to time would be cool too. What about CATS? Why can’t we have cats as hostages in game? But please, no more goats. We already have goats, so let’s go to the next step.

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      You can’t have a chicken hostage – years of Counter-Strike has conditioned players to attack chickens on sight!

      Unfortunately, current technology simply does not have enough pixels to add cats or dogs to a video game. Frogs may be a valid option, though.

    • Premium User Badge

      c-Row says:

      The dog never dies anyway – where’s the suspense in that?

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      You’re right; CS: GOAT, Goat Recon, the list is endless. The list is two things.

      I like the idea of a cat hostage. The teams spend half the round trying to persuade it to come out from under a cabinet, and the hostage carrier loses health points as they get scratched to ribbons. Eventually once the CT team rescue it and bring it outside it mews to be let back in.

  8. Volcanu says:

    Clearly it’s all to the good if the game features a wide variety of hostages -after all people of all creeds, colours and genders do get taken hostage.

    That said, I cant help but feel that it was pretty ridiculous that some people were up in arms purely because the hostage in an E3 demo was -‘gasp’- a feeeemale. To me that smacks of looking for an issue where there really wasn’t one. I suspect that it would probably have passed unnoticed if it hadn’t been for the, more understandable, furore over stablemate AssCreed’s lack of a playable female character.

    As for Nathan finding it troubling that there is a male bias towards helping an able bodied woman in jeopardy before helping an equally able bodied man in the same situation, well I suppose that is exhibiting a gender bias. For some reason though the image of a hirsute young Graham, resplendent in ‘top and tails’ politely explaining to a lady on the deck of the Titanic that giving up his place in the life boat for her would unfortunately be terribly sexist – leapt unbidden to my mind.

    That’s probably a little unfair….

    • PopeRatzo says:

      That’s probably a little unfair

      No more unfair than the point of Nathan’s article.

      But thank god that there are men like Nathan willing to step into the breach and protect women from sexism. Whatever would they do without allies like him?

  9. Premium User Badge

    DarkLiberator says:

    If they’re having male hostages too not sure what the big issue is here. The demo we saw was completely scripted so they probably didn’t have time to show them off yet.

    Problem is with these amazing animations or hiding from dust, it’ll get old after the first 200 times.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Indeed. Coupled that one of the playable characters was a woman (the sniper), I don’t see the issue. Would this piece exist if it was a child instead? “Are children only for saving?”

      This isn’t even a storm in a teacup. It’s barely tea.

    • Turkey says:

      Yeah. After a few rounds when everyone’s internalized the rules and the game becomes an abstract set of mechanics, the hostage is just going to turn into some kind of weird flag with arms and legs no matter what.

  10. Quickest says:

    “I just wish that one of the few woman characters featured at Ubi’s conference wasn’t a victim of kidnapping.”

    This sentence should probably have been near the beginning of the article to focus the argument a bit more. I think this is the real issue here.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Except for the fact that one of the rescuing team was also a woman. Maybe it was better for Nathan’s point to bury this line after all.

  11. USER47 says:

    Oh my god, woman as a hostage! How could they even do that?! Grab you pitchforks!

  12. Alroc says:

    And why aren’t you aknowledging the fact that one of the team member (sniper I think ) was a girl, played by a female player ?

  13. Goosemajig says:

    How is this even a problem? Would this article exist if it had been a male hostage? This just seems like drama for dramas sake. Do people not realise that there are two genders in the world, and picking one of the other sometimes isn’t meant as a fucking slight against the other/same gender. Such fucking nonsense.

    I’m done, gg RPS.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      Bye! Have a nice introspective life and learn something out there! Remember to eat well!

  14. BobbyDylan says:

    ” I just wish that one of the few woman characters featured at Ubi’s conference wasn’t a victim of kidnapping”

    Um one of the players was a swat officer.

  15. Mittens89 says:

    I have to say that im growing increasingly tired of the constant ‘RPS crusade’ against whatever happens to be flavour of the month. Its all a bit desperate. ‘look at us, the voice of the people. We hate on games/companies where everything is racist/sexist because its one thing and not everything at once’

    I do love you, RPS, but please, this is getting boring. This is a complete non story.

    • Quickest says:

      The author stated he was uncomfortable with the fact that they chose a woman hostage to evoke more empathy. I hardly see this to be “flavor of the month.” I think the point is that our culture is so incredibly focused on making women some combination of sex-object / princess-in-need / whore that seeing large corporations reinforce this trend is disheartening. Look on any online game or social forum and see how the women are treated, how half of the population is automatically assigned a lower worth just because they have a vagina. Then come back and tell us how it’s a non-story.

  16. mattevansc3 says:

    This sounds eerily similar to Crystal Dynamics talking about the “rape” scene in the Tomb Raider reboot and echoes one of the main complaints leveled at the Maleficent movie.

    We seem to be at a stage where empathy is considered to be nothing more than White Knighting and our level of empathy is based on the severity of the situation which leads to a variation on the torture porn mechanic.

    It may seem like a big difference because one pleasure mechanism relies on causing pain while the other relies on preventing pain but both require an unwilling subject be placed in a situation of physical and emotional torture and its almost always a female subject.

    This to me is quite troubling because I’m a father to a one year old girl and I want her to enjoy and participate in my hobbies such as gaming, comics and sci-fi/fantasy movies yet at the same time I want to keep her as far away from it as possible. I don’t want my daughter growing up being told all she’s good for is to be something (not even someone) that fulfils someone else’s power fantasies.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      As the father of a 24 year old daughter, let me suggest that the way to make sure she’s not beaten down by cultural stereotypes is definitely NOT to shelter her from those. Talk to her. Show her mother respect.

      If you and mom are doing a half-way job in the way you treat her and each other, they’ll realize early on that video games are not real life (nor should they be). Even if you don’t do a half-way job, she’ll figure it out. Sometimes, when we talk about “realism” in video games, we lose sight of just how far from real life even the most “real” art will always remain. Despite the protests of cultural warriors and artists. Kids are not stupid.

  17. Turkey says:

    They should go the Spelunky route and have the 3rd option be a puppy hostage.

  18. BobbyDylan says:

    So is the author, by leaping to the defense of women in media, perpetrating the exact offence he’s lamenting exists?

  19. elhisai says:

    While wanting and fighting for genre equality is a good thing, I’m not sure it’s a good thing to analyse everything through the prism of your fight : I mean it’s not assassin creed with no woman at all, it’s no woman in a demo and the symbolism you put in this : is equality really having a strict 50-50 representation everywhere, should we enforce that everyone respects this ? Here’s a game creator, telling he designed a character that speaks to him in a certain way, it happens to be he cares more for a vulnerable woman, is he really sending the message to the world that all women are weak? shall we insist that because he works for a big company he should respect gender rules and regulations 1.0 ?
    I mean when you write it seems to be only one side of the story, because what the other side, women discrimation is ugly and undefendable. but how you fight leaves me with a bitter taste and doing the right thing shouldn’t taste like this.

  20. TreuloseTomate says:

    The game needs more transgender hostages.

    • Humanji says:

      If they were smart, they’d have said the woman in the demo was transgendered, just to put the journalists on the defensive for once.

      • db1331 says:

        Oh man, that would’ve been so great.

        • PopeRatzo says:

          Or they just could have made the hostage Suey Park.

          Except there might have been too great a risk that nobody would want to rescue her.

  21. BarneyL says:

    If their hostages are as good as they claim then I hope they have a whole lot of minorities covered.
    Imagine the game play impact if your hostage is blind, deaf or in a wheel chair.

  22. Grygus says:

    I’m not sure you’re right here, Nathan. Female lives are inherently more valuable than male lives because females gestate our young. The key to success as a species is reproduction, and the time-limiting factor (assuming fertility all around) of human reproduction is the number of females. I strongly suspect that wanting to protect a woman more than a man isn’t sexism so much as lizard-brain pragmatism. I’m not saying that women and men exist only to procreate, but I am saying that the race is only as viable as our racial instinct for preservation, and this seems like a very easy choice from the point of view of preservation of the species. It’s the kind of thing that nature would select for; a tribe that rescued both equally would be out-produced over time by the one that preferentially rescued females.

    You might argue that this leads to problematic conclusions but I’m not sure that the instinct itself is harmful or a product of a patriarchal viewpoint.

    • Hyoscine says:

      ” Female lives are inherently more valuable than male lives because females gestate our young.”

      Except that in the real world, this is borne out by, well, nothing I can think of.

      • Grygus says:

        You should read a biology textbook, then. History would also be a good subject. The vast majority of wars are won by the side with the highest population.

        • Hyoscine says:

          Yeah, that’s certainly more of a factor than logistics, industrialization, available weaponry, local opinion, popular support, etc. Must be why the states did so well in Vietnam, and are doing so well in Afghanistan.

          Also completely undermining your point, is how rape is used as a weapon in almost all armed conflict. Perhaps heed your own advice, pick up a book, and don’t chime in unless you’ve something less moronic to say?

      • Runty McTall says:

        Could you not argue that a patriarchal society is a logical reaction to women being valued? That is, you want to obtain and control as many valuable things as possible?

        It’s not reasonable / moral but it would potentially make biological sense?

      • joa says:

        I think you’ll find we didn’t evolve all our traits and behaviours in 2014.

        Edit: Whoops, just re-read your comment and got the obvious sarcasm.

  23. yogibbear says:

    What would be more interesting than this article / entire issue regarding this demo is if instead Ubisoft ran a demo where the player had a choice between saving male hostage A, or saving female hostage B. Then if they had a statistically significant sample taken from everyone at the whole of e3 that played that demo that told us which hostage they chose to save first. i.e. without knowing game mechanics let’s say you get something like: a) failed mission, both hostages died, b) female hostage rescued, male hostage died, c) male hostage rescued, female hostage died d) both hostages rescued e) whatever other permutations you can think of. I know that if I was playing the demo and both hostages were strategically equally as likely to be rescue-able that I’d probably go save the female hostage EVEN IN A vidyagame. Because you know in real life faced with the same predicament I’d probably go save the female hostage first too. Must be because I’m sexist.

    • Premium User Badge

      c-Row says:

      Next time you find yourself in a situation like that just explain to the woman that you can’t rescue her today since your monthly equality quota forbids. I am sure everybody will understand.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Actually, in my IOS version of the walking dead, it tells me that something like 66% of gamers rescued the girl with the gun and a zombie holding her foot, over the fat nerd that was clearly about to be eaten.

      • The Godzilla Hunter says:

        It may have something to do with the fact that she had and could use a gun. A very valuable trait to have in a group during a zombie infection.

  24. kament says:

    I have a feeling we’re missing something here. Oh, right. Note that it’s a white female they were using so the players would care. Sexism is bad enough, but this… Just how low can they get?

  25. Hazzard65 says:

    All the terrorists were male and the police only had one female.

    Disgusting.

    • P-Dizzle says:

      Yep. Will we be expecting an article on that kind of blatant sexism too?
      I think not ;)

  26. Hyoscine says:

    “Right, we need hostages that people will instantly assume are powerless, in need of rescuing…”

    “How about children?”

    “Nah, too emotive. It’s got to be something you’ll feel good about saving, but not give too much of a shit about if they die.”

    “Okay, I think I’m on to something…”

    • Grygus says:

      The position of hostage doesn’t carry many perks, but being powerless and in need of rescuing are inherent.

    • skyturnedred says:

      While they said the hostage may die, I imagine killing children would cause less of a shitstorm than poor presentation of women these days.

    • HadToLogin says:

      Also, you can’t let players kill kids. Dead kid = dead game (just ask Bethesda, same with Witcher). So they need to have god mode. Making them best human shields around.

      • joa says:

        Unless I am mistaken, Elder Scrolls games let you kill children – and I never saw any controversy about that.

        • HadToLogin says:

          AFAIK no even a single kid in Oblivion (maybe Fan could be considered one, due to height?). God mode in Skyrim. God mode in Fallout 3.

          There are mods.

          (Probably should have mention I’m talking about now-a-days games, not those 15 years ago, as lot changed in gaming in this time…)

  27. AbyssUK says:

    Oh man, must speak up… the problem isn’t that they used a woman, it’s WHY they used a poor defenseless woman.. man seriously can we have an IQ test before being able to get an account on RPS comments please.

    • P-Dizzle says:

      So which kind of woman that is not defenseless against an army of armed kidnappers were you thinking?

    • Grygus says:

      They used a women because it would evoke the emotion they were after in their primarily male audience. It’s just marketing. Being angry about this is to also be angry because restaurants show their food cooked, or because movies use music to manipulate the audience.

  28. Gothnak says:

    When i played Counterstrike all the hostages were male… I expect these days that would get twisted to omg, why are all the scientists in Counterstrike male???

    I might say something sexist next (I say might, as i think it’ll only be sexist to some people and not others).

    A fireman goes into a burning building via a complex and dangerous route in. Inside the final room are an old man, a young woman, a young man, and a male child. He can guide them all out, but fundamentally can only physically assist one of them, who would he assist? Likely in this case the child or old man.

    Now remove the old man and child (they’ve already died in a burning rafter incident). Again, the fireman can only assist one. I’m assuming (And this is where i might be sexist in your eyes) that in that snap moment where he has to help someone through a dangerous building to safety, he’d help the woman and assume the man is slightly stronger and will have less problems getting out. Of course, if the characters are split by elements other than gender (The women is a bodybuilder, or the man is crying in a heap on the floor) then his decision may change, but with all things except gender in this case being equal do you really think in a real world situation the fireman will grab the guy in preference to the woman?

    I assume that is what Ubisoft is basing their choice on, not that women are pathetic, that they can’t look after themselves, but in a dangerous situation the general belief of most of the population is that a man ‘should’ be able to look after themselves better in a stressful situation.

    Much like I ‘should’ be good at DIY (which i’m not), that i shouldn’t do the cooking and hoovering in my house (which I do) and that i should be able to go to a garage and tell the mechanic exactly what is wrong with my car (I can’t, hell, my girlfriend usually drives and i’m the navigator).

    These are global tropes, not gaming tropes, so stop having a go at the gaming industry about it, blame the human population and the huge majority of tv shows you have seen and the books you have ever read.

    Why do most families have the father work and the wife stay at home, are they sexist?

  29. SuperRookie says:

    After spending years playing rescue missions in R6 Vegas One and Two, where the hostages were all men. I’m having a hard time understanding why I’m meant to be up in arms now that the hostages can be both male and female. It’s not like the female hostage is the ONLY woman who appeared in that demo, and if the online character creation in Siege is anything like it was in Vegas, it would be entirely possible to play a game featuring an all-female Rainbow team rescuing a male hostage.

    By the sounds of it this game allows for phallocentric rounds, but allows for the opposite as well. What exactly am I meant to be outraged about? The thoughts that the designer had, including the female hostage for an emotional response? I refuse to be outraged about something as petty as that when the game in question allows for both male and female player characters, as well as male and female hostages. Does it empower women to have them as damsels? No. But refusing to put a fictional woman in a plausible situation in which she would be imperiled is just as bad.

    • Volcanu says:

      This will be a key choice when outfitting your squad… do I take hollow-tip, armour piercing or phallocentric rounds….

    • Bull0 says:

      ^ solid work there. Really nipped the crisis in the bud.

    • Premium User Badge

      c-Row says:

      That’s either Adam Jensen in his early 20s or this year’s Eurovision Song Contest winner.

  30. altum videtur says:

    I really, really like it when games are aware enough that they do NOT try the typical tug-on-my-heartstrings routine. It’s cheap and pedestrian and disgusting on a really basic level. If you can’t actually engage me emotionally with your fiction, then don’t fucking turn to the cheapest form of barely-even-works-as-manipulation. Just fucking forget about it and let me have my fun, since you (imaginary game dev) are clearly incapable of delivering something perhaps more worth my time than that.
    ‘Course heartstring-fucking has many forms, the “you are societally preprogrammed to care about this type of character” is just one. Wailing stupid violins and the entire soundtrack of The Last of Us are much the same.
    And Bioshock’s little sistars and Elizabeth.
    … Infinite in general, actually.
    CHEAP STUPID OFFENSIVE
    OUT OF MY SIGHT
    I’ll just play something else.

  31. Tei says:

    Aliens/Zombies/Volcan attack.
    The only survivors are in two isles in different oceans.
    Isle A: many women, only two men.
    Isle B: many men, only two women.

    Isle A can potentially have many childrens (maybe 300)
    Isle B can potentially have about 12 children.

    Women survivors are more valuable than men survivors.

    Wen In doubt, save the womens first.

    In general, womens are more valuable hostages/survivors/slaves than men.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      You’re spoiling the mood here! We’re trying to save women from stereotypes and you’re all with the common sense.

      I think we should boycott nature shows on TV with their patriarchal presentation of motherhood as being only for females.

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      Of course, that hardly applies to first world countries that actively suppress birth/population growth, but, yeah, that is why men are naturally more protective of women over men. Evolution, and all that jazz.

  32. Syra says:

    The real reason is they had already done the voices and animations for the female character hostage so they had her ready to present.

  33. soldant says:

    To be honest I don’t really care if the hostage is male or female – everything in video gaming is a trope these days, even lots of indie games are retreading the same ground or inventing tropes of their own to repeat ad nauseum. That said, at least this trope is a bit closer to reality – it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, the vast majority of people would be scared shitless in a hostage situation and largely helpless.

    Yes, yes, it’s a trope, etc. Bad Ubisoft. They should have just put a male and a female hostage in the trailer and called it a day.

  34. Napoleon15 says:

    I try to stay out of these articles, because they always end in tears, but come on, this is the biggest nonstory I’ve read for ages. I get the feeling that game developers can’t win, because people are going to jump over them no matter what they do. Oh, no, the hostage is a woman. If it wasn’t for that it’d be something else. Oh, no, there’s no women on the terrorist team. Women are capable of terrorism too. Oh, no, the only female player has to sit and camp. She’s not allowed to raid the building with the others. Oh, no, they haven’t included multiple female skins for the player models etc. We’re not allowed to storm this building unless there’s an equal quota of men and women inside. They could make all hostages male and people would still complain and say, wait, why aren’t women represented as well?

    Seriously, I don’t care about any of this, and I expect a lot others don’t either. All I care about is whether the game actually lives up to the old school Rainbow Six games. I want a realistic tactical shooter, not a game that journalists can go, wow much female, such forward thinking.

    • Toby says:

      Can’t you see? We are not allowed to enjoy things anymore. We have to analyze everything and complain.

      Personally, I think it is time for me to go look for videogame related news elsewhere. RPS just wants to stir shit up with articles like these and I have no interest in them.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      So essentially, you’re saying “screw forward thinking, let’s just do things the way we always have”. Also known as “I’m the target demographic so everything is fine, and if you’re not, well fuck you”.

      The only redeeming feature of that viewpoint is the fact that, thankfully, not everyone shares it.

      • Jeremy says:

        Come on now.. you can’t really have taken that point from what he said? What does progress even look like now in the gaming community? We’re not even allowed to feel sympathy or empathy for women hostages because it’s gender normative to both men and women? There is nothing forward thinking about demanding that people stop feeling protective of a hostage simply because she is a specific gender.

      • Napoleon15 says:

        I’d say doing things the way we always have is quite legitimate in this context, because there’s nothing blatantly offensive, misogynistic or sexist about anything in that E3 demo. I’m not saying everything in the entire video game world is fine, but in this case, there’s nothing wrong with what they’ve done. It’s like a pendulum lurching from one extreme to the next. The game industry had some pretty shocking attitudes and depictions of women in the past, but now we’re swinging to the other extreme where it feels like there’s a massive witch hunt on for anything that doesn’t meet the perfect equality criteria of a small segment of journalists and a very loud, but not necessarily very big, demographic. Frankly, I’m tired of it, and I’m tired of seeing games pulled up for next to nothing and then crucified.

        Nearly every single games website these days is devoting lots of articles to this kind of stuff, and I’m just not seeing the issue here. It’s petty. If you’re going to go social justice warrior, surely it’s better to tackle proper issues as opposed to whether games are ticking sexism boxes. Make a fuss about games not considering control schemes for disabled gamers, or giving options for people who are colour blind. I can point to a lot more worthy and valid issues than what skin or model is used to represent people in a game.

    • Jeremy says:

      This statement seems to perfectly sum up the reality of the gender discussion in gaming right now.

  35. Serenegoose says:

    Let’s look at the words used.

    ‘Kind of Odd’.
    ‘Slightly troubling’
    ‘unfortunate’
    ‘a little wary’
    ‘disappointed’

    Cue 90 something comments of people outright losing their SHIT over an article on RPS. And Nathan’s the one fussing over a storm in a teacup? I suggest a substantial portion of people making comments here find themselves a mirror if they want to see someone overreacting to a relatively innocuous few sentences.

    • Gamboni says:

      It’s almost as if you assumed people are losing their shit without reading the actual comments.

      • Serenegoose says:

        Mittens89 says: I have to say that im growing increasingly tired of the constant ‘RPS crusade’

        Goosemajig says: How is this even a problem? Would this article exist if it had been a male hostage? This just seems like drama for dramas sake. Do people not realise that there are two genders in the world, and picking one of the other sometimes isn’t meant as a fucking slight against the other/same gender. Such fucking nonsense.

        Napoleon15 says: I try to stay out of these articles, because they always end in tears, but come on, this is the biggest nonstory I’ve read for ages.

        (There’s a story about someone getting to level 90 in warcraft by gathering herbs below this one…)

        PopeRatzo says: But thank god that there are men like Nathan willing to step into the breach and protect women from sexism. Whatever would they do without allies like him?

  36. Bull0 says:

    It’s not the fact that she’s a woman that makes her only suitable for saving, for fuck’s sake, it’s that she’s a hostage.

  37. PopeRatzo says:

    This article reminds me, anybody hear from Jim Rossignol? I wonder how he’s doing.

    • Premium User Badge

      c-Row says:

      Probably busy patching in female robots for Sir, You Are Being Hunted to avoid controversy.

  38. Crafter says:

    After Watch Dogs, I can only espect the worst coming from Ubisoft..
    I don’t usually rant about tropes in video games, but WD goes extremely far without any other reason than to provide a cheap way to involve male players.

  39. MkMax says:

    i remember when RPS used to do articles about the games in the “newz” when they were like “omg, games are killing humanity”, good times.

    now … well… RPS has lived long enough to see itself become the “newz”

    most AAA games are highly influenced by Hollywood anyway, you’d have more success if you got them to change which would be hard since there are evolutionary reasons why we feel like we “need to protect” women and children making them prime candidates as hostages when you want to create an emotional response from the player

  40. int says:

    If you save her, you will earn her hand in marriage and be given half of the entire kingdom.