It looks like review bombing games is back in style. We’ve seen that in the previous months for Total War: Rome 2 and also Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The former case occurred because of female generals that were announced months prior; the latter was for going on sale. This time around, the latest game to get hit with negative reviews en masse is Rainbow Six Siege. Apparently, it’s because Ubisoft has made minor changes to gameplay icons and other visual assets to conform to regulations in China.
It seems that Ubisoft’s explanation just a few days ago fell on deaf ears. They mentioned back then that they would be changing some gameplay icons and even removing some design aspects to various maps such as neon nightclub signs, blood spatters, and gambling machines. This was part of their move to release Rainbow Six Siege to a wider market in Asia, and particularly in China, which has stricter regulations. Ubisoft did state that it was easier to make some of these visual changes on a global setting, while more tweaks would be done for regional versions that shouldn’t affect other users.
Unfortunately, a number of very vocal players felt that this was an affront to their freedoms. Many took to the internet to voice out this threat to freedom and democracy — by leaving one-liners and copy-pasted commentary.
Fighting For “Freedom”
Players felt as though Ubisoft has caved in to the demands of a brutal dictatorship and are in cahoots with them. They considered it akin to censorship. This vocal subset of gamers started review bombing Rainbow Six Siege on Steam after the announcement was made. Around 1,600 negative reviews were posted in the last few days. Most of these reviews were simply one-liners or short quips. One review even just said: “Chinaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”
Over on Reddit, those same sentiments were echoed around the vast community chamber. There were talks of feeling disrespected because players in the West were made to feel as though they are living under a communist regime where their rights and freedoms are being suppressed. One player even broke his game disk in the name of freedom. As for Ubisoft’s community manager who commented on the issue and tried to provide further explanation? Well, that fellow earned 7,000 downvotes for his troubles.
No Big Deal
There were, however, a number of cooler heads in the community who weren’t eager to have knee-jerk responses. Given that, as mentioned, they will make additional tweaks for localization, no drastic changes would occur for existing Rainbow Six Siege players around the more Westernized parts of the globe. It is, however, worth noting that for those who tried to offer a different opinion, the angry mob tends to downvote them as well. Either that, or those types of views weren’t gaining traction early on compared to what comes from the outraged subset.
Some community members such as Rainbow Six Siege commentator Patrick Mackay even joked about the entire situation. It seems that many players cried out for freedom and criticize Ubisoft for adhering to China’s regulations. All the while, they were furiously typing on phones made in China. Who knows, maybe they were wearing Made in China Yeezys, headphones, and clothing as well.
"I can't support a company that is in bed with a Chinese dictatorship. Ubisoft are scumbags!!
*Sent from my iPhone X*"
— Parker Mackay (@InterroTalks) November 4, 2018
In any case, this outrage will probably blow over (like any other online outrage), but, for a short while, Rainbow Six Siege only had one color in that rainbow. It was red — for pure, unbridled, and somewhat irrational anger.