When Ubisoft announced this month that they would close online services for Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (and a few other tactical shooters), it was a surprise for two reasons. One, it's still a great game! Two, many players were under the belief that Ubisoft had already closed its servers, because it's been unplayable since December. Ubisoft have now told us what went wrong with Vegas 2, though sadly they say they're unable to support workarounds that might help people continue playing.
Ubisoft routinely shut down online services for older games, explaining "it allows our IT and service staff to better focus on delivering great online experiences to the vast majority of customers who are playing newer, more popular titles". Earlier this month, they announced Rainbow Six Vegas and Vegas 2, Rainbow Six: Lockdown, and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier were for the chop. Normally Ubisoft announce multideaths months in advance, but with this Clancy bunch they seemed to announce shutdowns after they'd already happened.
For months prior, players had complained that multiplayer wasn't working in Vegas 2. Future Soldier had similar complaints for a few weeks too. While many assumed Ubisoft had already quietly killed the servers, company reps on the game's forums denied that and said they were investigating why people couldn't play. Then not long after, Ubi revealed they actually were closing the servers. Confusing. Turns out, they had ran into trouble behind the scenes.
"Following a critical update on our online services management platform, we had to temporarily shut down the servers of Ghost Recon Future Soldiers, Rainbow Six Vegas and Rainbow Six Vegas 2," an Ubisoft rep explained to me this week.
"Ghost Recon Future Soldiers' online features are now up and running again. As for Rainbow Six Vegas and Rainbow Six Vegas 2, our teams have investigated and found that these titles couldn't meet our stability and quality standards while running said update. As technology evolves and we hold to our promise to only deliver the best experiences to our players, it was unfortunately necessary to permanently discontinue online features surrounding those two legacy games."
I did ask if Ubisoft planned to offer support for any workarounds. They responded, "While we are always happy to provide support for workarounds on decommissioned titles whenever possible, like we did for Ubisoft Massive's World In Conflict, we will be unable to offer such alternative in this case."
After Ubisoft ended that real-time strategy game's multiplayer services in December 2015, fans created a compatible alternative and Ubi later supported efforts by sharing the master server source code. Would've been good to see similar something for Vegas 2. People can at least use unofficial tools like GameRanger and virtual LANs to keep playing Vegas 2 over the internet, though you need to know to look for them and then how to use them.
It's a real shame. While R6 Vegas 2 is 12 years old now, it is still good enough that we declared it one of the best co-op games only last year. Along with support for playing the campaign cooperatively, it had the splendid Terrorist Hunt mode.
"Guns are powerful and fast; death comes faster," we said. "This makes methodically creeping through the maps as a unit, covering corners and assaulting defended positions, an incredibly tense affair. This only ramps up when your squad inevitably gets picked apart on the harder difficulties, right up until three of you are sat watching the lone survivor, the whole success of the mission pinned on them scraping through. It could even be down to you and you'll feel the tension ramp up as you suddenly become aware of being judged."
Ubisoft also noted that, actually, "Rainbow Six: Lockdown's online services were shut down several years ago but only recently added to the list." I'd honestly not noticed because wellll it's no Vegas 2, is it?