Rainbow Six Siege Explains Why It Added A Trans Operator
As Ubisoft flies the flag for inclusivity, the developer has explained why it added a transgender Operator to Rainbow Six Siege. Even as we prepare for the much-delayed (and renamed) Rainbow Six Extraction, Siege is still taking the franchise into a new era - in lots of ways.
The inclusion of Osa as the franchise's first transgender Operator is a big step for Ubisoft, as calls for diversity are pushed further into the mainstream of AAA games. Once upon a time, it was hard enough to get female characters in first-person shooters at all. Things are slightly better, however, there's still a sometimes toxic community that would rather we stick to '80s action heroes.
Ubisoft explains Osa's inclusion in Rainbow Six Siege
Championing the importance of having a transgender Operator but not sticking her in to simply tick a box for inclusion, Queer Ubisoft Narrative Writer Simon Ducharme and esports caster Emi "Fluke" Donaldson spoke to Pink News.
Explaining who inspired Osa, Ducharme told the site, "Beyond making a character that fits into the world of Siege and the ecosystem of Nighthaven, I wanted to create someone to represent and show my love for all the trans women that I admire and respect, like Emi and the other consultants we worked with on Osa.
"When everything was said and done, I wanted Siege to have a badass trans woman that trans people in our game’s community could be proud of."
In terms of how Osa went from page to screen, Donaldson and other consultants were brought on board to make sure the team nailed the character without making it feel like lip service. Ducharme said it was important that "trans women are involved at every step".
Expanding on why 2021 is the right time for Rainbow Six to embrace the trans community, Donaldson added, "Everyone deserves to be represented. Listen, I’m not going to sugarcoat how crap it is being from a minority group inside gaming as a general space.
"I mean, you’ve already published one of my rants about fighting for my place in esports against bigots and hatred. Having an openly trans character, someone that LGBTQ+ folk can look up to and feel represented, like they belong in a space where so many hateful voices try to tell them otherwise? That’s what it is about."
Is Rainbow Six Siege paving the way for transgender characters?
Ducharme concluded, "Siege’s goal when it comes to its roster of characters is to represent as many people as it can – not just because elite specialists come from all over the world, but because our players do, too. As a team, we aim for parity, and it’s important to include gender identity in that endeavour. I’m very happy to facilitate that through my writing." Donaldson said that too often, people try to "paint on an identity as an afterthought" or deliver "vague wishy-washy descriptors".
Instead, Osa's journey and identity were designed to make sure it was authentic to trans women who've transitioned. It's been a big year for R6, with the Year 6 content previously adding the game's first LGBTQ+ Operator. Season 1's Crimson Heist update added Flores to the mix, while Osa joins the Crystal Guard expansion.
Some six years after Siege breathed new life into the sometimes stuffy Rainbow series, it's doling out much more than just map updates. Given that Ubisoft has taken such a stance on LGBTQ+ inclusion in Siege, we can't wait to see (hopefully) an equally diverse Rainbow Six Extraction.