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About Judy

As WP's senior editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games...

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'Rainbow Six Lockdown' (PS2/Xbox/PC) - Developer Q&A #2

by Judy on Jan. 24, 2005 @ 10:54 a.m. PST

In this new episode you lead Team Rainbow as they are called into action and unfamiliar territory to battle a bioterrorist threat. Stakes escalate as they are personally targeted by an evil terrorist organization. Used to protecting the lives of others, Team Rainbow must now embark on a mission to fight and save some of their own. Ubisoft sends along yet another pre-canned Q&A with designer and writer Rafael Chandler, talking about story development, dialogue, briefings, and cinematic concepts.

Rafael Chandler is a designer and writer on Rainbow Six Lockdown PS2, which is being developed at Red Storm Entertainment. He has been working for Red Storm for 1 ½ years and his tasks on this project have included: story development, dialogue, briefings, and cinematic concepts. He is a published writer of horror fiction and an Airsoft enthusiast.

Q : Tell us a little about the new storyline.

RC : The Global Liberation Front is a terrorist organization with a single goal: destroying the governments of the developed nations. The GLF has obtained an experimental bio-weapon, which they plan to use in a devastating terror attack. Ding Chavez and Team Rainbow are brought in to neutralize the GLF, but no one knows where or when the attack will take place and the clock is ticking.

Rainbow's Team-2 takes on the GLF and begins to dismantle them, one terrorist cell at a time. But the GLF is a worldwide movement numbering in the hundreds, and their elite units have received extensive paramilitary training. The terrorists turn their attention to Team-2, and focus all their energy on destroying Chavez and his operatives.

The team now find themselves under attack, and they have to wage a personal war against a relentless army of terrorists who are ready to die for their cause.

Q : Will Rainbow have a personal stake in every mission?

RC : Members of the team are betrayed, ambushed, outnumbered, outgunned, captured, and tortured. No one is safe. We want the player to feel like every firefight could be the last one.

To make matters worse, people who are close to the team keep getting put in harm's way. While trying to take down this terrorist network, Chavez and the team find themselves also protecting the people they care about.

So, yes, Team Rainbow will have a personal stake in just about every mission, whether it's rescuing someone's niece, or getting one of their analysts out of a heavy gunfight in one piece. There will also be missions where Rainbow find themselves in the crosshairs, and Weber's pinpoint accuracy is the only thing that keeps them alive.

Q : Why change the conventional direction of the storyline for this Rainbow campaign?

RC : With Lockdown, we wanted to immerse the player in a cinematic experience. By making the storyline more personal, we hoped to create three-dimensional characters with distinct personalities and goals.

For example, Ding Chavez won't leave a man behind, under any circumstances. He wants to keep the team together, no matter what. John Clark, on the other hand, wants to get the job done, regardless of the cost, and he will use his people in whatever manner he deems necessary.

Q : How did you come up with the darker storyline? Was there something from the original stories that made this transition a natural progression?

RC : We looked to the Tom Clancy novels Rainbow Six and The Bear And The Dragon for inspiration. In the books, we see a darker side to Clark and Chavez, as well as moral ambiguity and conflict between team members (such as Johnston's infamous "missed" shot at Worldpark). We really wanted to create some grey areas in the way that the team operates.

In terms of earlier games, Rainbow Six 3 (PS2) featured a mission in which two members of Team Rainbow were captured by a terrorist group, and had to be rescued. However, we felt that the overall tone of Lockdown should be much more sinister than previous installments, given the subject matter.

Over time, the stress of the job has begun to take its toll on the team. Years of disarming bombs with seconds left on the clock have turned Roger McAllen into a wisecracking troublemaker who hides his paranoia behind a flippant attitude, and Ayana Yacoby has been so shaken by the horrors she's witnessed on the battlefield that she has difficulty showing any emotion other than rage. In many ways, the various operatives are deeply flawed individuals.

Q : Were there any challenges when writing the story?

RC : We wanted to create a story that focused on the characters, while maintaining the core elements of a Rainbow Six game.

The challenge with a game like Rainbow Six is that you've got an elite unit, the best of the best, yet you need to make the player feel somewhat threatened when facing a group of disorganized, fanatical terrorists.

Q : Do you think fans of the franchise will welcome this change in the storyline? Do you expect any backlash from the community?

RC : Hopefully, the fans will appreciate the emphasis on realism in storytelling and our aim to delve deeper into the Rainbow universe. In addition, we are still delivering the core action that makes the Rainbow franchise what it is and we are hopeful that the fans will enjoy the experience.

Q : Any last comments on the darker storyline?

RC : The storyline immerses the player in the roles of Ding Chavez and Dieter Weber, two heroes with radically different personalities and objectives. Ding is a charismatic and confident team leader, but there is nothing he won't do to protect the lives of his teammates. Weber is an arrogant loner who watches the team through a scope, when he's protecting them from a distance.

The team isn't just rescuing random hostages in foreign countries this time. They're fighting for their survival in the streets of Algeria, crawling through piles of human bones under the city of Paris, and avenging their fallen comrades in a battle atop a crumbling fortress, miles from civilization.

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