Rainbow Six Siege
Developing New Operators, Levels, and More - an interview with Kehdrin Gonzalez
At the heart of every captivating game is a tale of challenges faced, decisions made, and creativity unfurled. Today, we take a moment to delve into one such story with Kedhrin Gonzalez, our Studio Head at A7 Europe Studio. Before shaping the visions here at Arctic7 (A7), Kedhrin was an instrumental force behind the development of Rainbow Six Siege during his tenure at Sperasoft, collaborating closely with Ubisoft Montreal. From crafting dynamic levels to designing unique operators, he was deeply entrenched in the game's evolution. Join us as we explore the challenges, triumphs, and invaluable insights from his rich experience in the world of game development.
Felix: Kedhrin, to set the foundation, can you detail your involvement with Rainbow Six Siege?
Kedhrin: "Certainly. During my time with Sperasoft, I transitioned from a level designer to a senior level designer, and ultimately took on the mantle of lead level designer for Rainbow Six Siege. I was mostly involved with the multiplayer components of the game, PvP (player vs player)."
Felix: Could you elaborate on your responsibilities in these roles?
Kedhrin: "When I was a senior level designer, I was working very closely with the multiplayer team. My main tasks revolved around creating levels for their season releases. Each season introduced a new level, and I created two of these personally. Later on, as lead level designer, I was given a different challenge: a seasonal event, which stood out due to its heavily scripted coop focus, as opposed to the regular multiplayer-centric design."
Felix: Talk to us about the design methodology. How did you bring these levels to life?
Kedhrin: "The process began on paper, literally, drawings on pieces of paper. Once we had our initial design ideas, we'd move onto 'Grey-boxing,' which meant defining the actual playable space. Since the games A.I. at the time was in its early days, there was an element of unpredictability we had to deal with. This is standard on projects like these, it’s something I’m used to. This is also when we started heavily collaborating with the Ubisoft Montreal team."
Felix: Speaking of Ubisoft, what was it like collaborating with Montreal studio?
Kedhrin: "Our engagement with Montreal was intense and rewarding. Our initial designs often spurred deep gameplay theories. With every advancement in the A.I. that Montreal implemented, our level designs had to update and remain adaptive. We had to make sure the art and design teams were always on the same page. We had a lot of autonomy which I believe is a testament to the trust we had fostered.”
Felix: To wrap things up, under which banner did all this happen?
Kedhrin: "This journey unfolded while I was at Sparesoft. We had the privilege to co-develop Rainbow Six Siege in tandem with Ubisoft Montreal. And thankfully, many of those team members are with me today, here at Arctic7. Several members from that project, from the engineering to QA teams, are now integral parts of A7 Europe, my studio."
Q: How has Rainbow Six Siege project impacted your management style and approach in subsequent projects?
Key Takeaways from Kedhrins interview:
- In Kedhrin's journey, he climbed the ladder from a level designer, then onto senior, and finally became the lead level designer. But hey, remember, each gaming studio might have its own way of doing things.
- Ever wonder how levels come to life? Kedhrin and his team first doodled their ideas on paper. Then, they stepped into the 'greybox' stage to carve out the actual gaming space, after the gaming space is further defined, they move towards polishing assets and lighting.
- Here's a fun fact: while one team was deep into level design, another group was busy crafting the AI for characters. And guess what? A tiny tweak in AI could mean going back to the drawing board for the levels. It's important that level designers work closely with the character AI or character Animation teams, it’s about teamwork and staying adaptive.
- When devs from different studios sync up perfectly in a co-development gig, sounds like it’s a gratifying experience. Less stress, more creativity, and everyone's in their groove.