Although it may have moved down the pecking order a touch with Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter also ploughing a Tom Clancy furrow this season, Rainbow Six: Lockdown is still right up there as one of this year's premier military first-person shooters.
After a successful debut on current gen consoles last year, the PC version of Lockdown is promising even more on the FPS's home platform, with the addition of new features, added extras and additional gameplay that only the might harnessed by the big beige box can truly deliver.
Masterminding Lockdown's thrust onto the PC is one Stuart White, producer for Ubisoft and having originally started out in healthcare IT, he quickly ditched all that namby-pamby caring profession malarkey for a life in games. We sent out our own recon squad and tracked him down for a chat on how Lockdown has been progressing.
Why is the authenticity of the weapons so important in a Rainbow Six game?
Stuart White: It's vital, because the series is based in reality and we want to try to educate the player - give them the opportunity to have fun through the realism, letting them know how real-world weapons work. When you shoot you've got your eyeball and you've got your finger, those are the two ways you interact with the world. It's completely different on your PC, with your mouse and your keyboard, so it's all about translating that real-world agility of shooting into a game.
There are 42 weapons in the game: how do you go about choosing which models of which guns end up in the game?
Stuart White: We listen to players whenever we release a Rainbow Six game. We get a ton of feedback each time saying, "Hey, why didn't you put this weapon in?", or "I've shot this weapon and you guys definitely need to have it!" So we keep track of that, but we also have a design team in-house. There are two guys on the team right now who are ex-military, and they haven't shot all 42 of these weapons but, well, they've shot their fair share. So they're bringing their real-world experience into it and we feed off that.
Are those guys actually military consultants, or are they designers who've been through the army?
Stuart White: They're designers who've been through the army, they've had some training here and there. We've got one guy at Red Storm who isn't actually on this project but who used to be in the military police, so he comes with a lot of real-world experiences.
The other guys go out at the weekends and they play - not paintball - but this version called Airsoft, where you shoot plastic BBs. They have, last time I spoke to one of them, three of the weapons from the game themselves. They're pretty hardcore about it.
How do you go about recording the sounds of the guns?
Stuart White: The sounds we're using in the game came from a while back when we joined up with a company in California called Sound Deluxe and actually did a shoot. We've got footage of them going out to the rifle range, we gave them a list of the weapons that we wanted sounds for and they just had a blast going out there and recording it. They had all their super-high powered microphones and basically went out to a hillside in California, shot them and got the sounds for them.
What's your favourite weapon load-out in the game?
Stuart White: Right now it would probably be the assault rifle class. Sub-machine guns are a little bit lighter and let you home in on your target a little bit quicker, but the power behind the assault rifles are definitely my favourite right now. I like shooting a guy in the leg and watching Havok take over as they slide across the floor; so that's the assault rifles right now.