For fans on consoles looking to enjoy all that Ubisoft's Rainbow Six Siege could offer, many are now scratching their heads at something that was previously revealed, but not expressly advertised. Rainbow Six Siege runs on consoles at 60 frames-per-second, a benchmark most cross-platform games don't hit. But even so, Rainbow Six doesn't truly hit this benchmark all the time, though it's not due to fluctuations in the AnvilNext engine being unable to bear the load mid-game. Ubisoft has elected to cap the "Terrorist Hunt" mode to 30 frames-per-second on the Xbox One and PS4. Consoles are experiencing this cap, but PC gamers will not be restricted thanks to the scalability and power of PC hardware.
Ubisoft previously mentioned the reasoning due to the enemy AI in the mode being able to fluctuate and perform all the tasks the player can, and as a result the console's hardware is pushed to its limits. Ubisoft has stated that this was due to optimization, thanks to Rainbow Six's use of advanced AI that can emulate every tactic that players use. This is a nice step up from the mindless drones players usually see in modern First-Person Shooter titles, but this step up in AI takes its toll on the so-advertised "next-gen" hardware.
For fans looking to play the game on Xbox One or PS4, the player will be taken to a jarring experience, with most of the game rendering at the 60fps mark, being brought to a gameplay experience that is literally half the framerate. As a result, the gamer is brought through a jarring experience, where the reactions and muscle-memory of the player that are fine tuned with the more fluid experience are brought to a more sluggish presentation. In Digital Foundry's analysis article, this is expressly brought up by the staff, bringing the frames-per-second disparity into question.
That said, after playing the main multiplayer mode at 60fps, the drop down to 30fps is readily felt: the reduction in controller response and smoothness is substantial and the experience feels far less fluid and enjoyable to play as a result. After a few matches, it's possible to adjust to the change in motion and the appearance of heavier controls, though the shooting never feels quite as satisfying compared to the regular multiplayer games at double the frame-rate.This continued disparity on further showcases the issues with the console hardware pushing the boundaries of gaming. A game mode is being as a direct result of the hardware. This isn't the first game this generation that has traded off performance to make the game run. Games such as Halo 5: Guardians has traded the game-mode that helped put the series on the map in order to have the game presented the way 343 industries envisioned. Ubisoft's own decision to use massive amounts of AI on screen for Assassin's Creed Unity brought framerates to below the target 30fps on both Xbox One and PS4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 isn't receiving a campaign on last-gen hardware because of the technological limitation. Watch Dogs has been the poster-child of "downgrade" since the game shipped looking markedly different than the original E3 footage.
Whatever the issue, Terrorist Hunt is a mode where Ubisoft's Rainbow Six team is attempting to be ambitious, but as a result of rubbish hardware, the mode isn't as realized as it is on the PC. And as a result, the gameplay is being affected as players go from normal multiplayer modes to the sluggish-feeling Terrorist Hunt mode. While in the end, many fans would prefer the more stable gameplay, the fact is that these issues are happening, which is circumventing real developer progress. Rainbow Six Siege's use of this adaptive and complex AI should be something that's lauded, but instead the conversation turns into how sacrifices were made to make it possible on the target platforms.
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[Image via Ubisoft]