If you’re at all familiar with the Tom Clancy brand of military shooters and espionage games, a portion of the fandom around Rainbow Six Siege might surprise you. A contingent of the usual series enthusiasts is there, lovers of phrases like breach and clear, who know the difference between a clip and a magazine. Beside that familiar lot though are a community who like to do cosplay, who have Tumblrs full of cute fan art – a community who have embellished the game with a personality richer than anything in the game itself.
Games like Overwatch are well known (infamous?) for their enthusiastic fan communities, filling the internet with all manner of fan art, but there’s never been this kind of response to a Tom Clancy game, especially not the tough as nails Rainbow Six series. What changed?
Operators. These hero types for Siege’s multiplayer portion are implemented similar to Overwatch with unique abilities and weapons. They stand out in gameplay terms but are reinforced with varied characters. I love Sam Fisher as much as the next gal but Tom Clancy games are usually led by gruff white men and after dozens of instalments it’s a bit tiresome. Now, Rainbow Six has always enjoyed an international cast, though they’ve never had all that much personality in the games, but the real change is in gender balance. Rainbow Six Lockout (a not very good game) first introduced women to Team Rainbow, but the balance in Siege was much better, improving with each subsequent update till at the time of writing there are 17 women in the 47 Operator roster. Admittedly this still leaves almost two thirds male but in a world where other military shooters, especially those leaning towards realism like ARMA, feature no playable women at all, Siege stands out.