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A brief history of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six games

There are more titles than you probably remember!

Rainbow Six Siege fans are feeling a bit skeptical about Rainbow Six Extraction. The new game is focused on alien invaders instead of terrorists, something that fans of Siege are not used to. It's even easier to see why this is such a shock when you look at the history of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six series. 

Here's a brief look back at the Rainbow Six series' major titles leading up to Rainbow Six Siege. Siege has since become a very popular competitive title with rich lore and popular operators. But how did this all happen? 

Rainbow Six

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six came out in 1998. It's the first in the Rainbow Six series and sold over 200,000 copies. First available for PC it was later ported to Mac OS, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Dreamcast, and Game Boy Color. 

Rainbow Six takes place from 1996 to 2000, following counter-terrorism unit Rainbow and its elite soldiers from around the world. The organization is run by director John Clark. Rainbow immediately starts responding to a series of terrorist attacks by the Phoenix Group, a radical eco-terrorist organization. 

The organization is developing a highly contagious strain of the Ebola virus called Brahma. They plan to unleash the virus at the 2000 Summer Olympics, spreading it to every country in the world. Rainbow prevents the virus' release and captures the organization's leader. 

Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear

Published in 1999, this is the sequel to Rainbow Six. It features similar gameplay to the original, with counter-terrorists pitted against global terrorist organizations that have taken hostages and armed themselves with weapons of mass destruction. 

The story follows Russia and Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Terrorism has become commonplace and the Russian mafia is a huge problem. One boss in the Oil Mafia has been supplying arms and intel to small-time terrorist groups all around the world. This includes a plutonium deal that will lead to nuclear terrorism. 

Rainbow raids the nuclear weapons production facility to intercept the trade. 

Rogue Spear's multiplayer had two modes: cooperative and adversarial. Cooperative had individuals team up to complete missions against AI enemies. Adversarial had two players pitted against each other. A competitive scene quickly formed around the game. 

Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield

This game was released in 2003 with a lot of improvements for FPS players. This included seeing your own weapon while in first-person view, an abundance of new weapons, and improved multiplayer experiences. 

Raven Shield takes place in 2005, 60 years after two high-ranking Nazi party members escaped the country with an abundance of Croatian Holocaust-era loot. Rainbow is now investigating neo-fascist terrorist attacks in South America, tracing back to Argentina. It's soon revealed that a billionaire in Argentina is an escaped Ustase official, one of the two men that had escaped with the loot. 

Rainbow Six: Lockdown

This is the fourth game in the Rainbow Six series, released in 2005 for Xbox, PlayStation 2, and the GameCube. A Windows version came out the following year. 

Players control the main character, Rainbow leader Domingo "Ding" Chavez. Each level is a different mission, with 16 total, featuring the ability to save in-game process for the first time. Lockdown takes place in 2009, with Rainbow pitted against the Global Liberation Front, a worldwide terrorist organization. 

Rainbow must find the Global Liberation Front and stop them from spreading a virus with a 100% mortality rate. This has Rainbow going from country to country, tracking down different portions of the GLF. Rainbow's sniper, Dieter Weber, is captured by the terrorists, leading to an intense rescue mission. 

Rainbow Six: Critical Hour

This is the fifth in the Rainbow Six series, released 2006 to mixed reviews. It was said to have very little content and ultimately had poor sales. Due to its underwhelming launch, Critical Hour's European release was canceled as well as a PlayStation 2 port. 

In Critical Hour, John Clark is retiring, passing the leadership to Ding. It has realistic tactical scenarios and nonlinear levels, featuring classic weapons and popular maps from previous titles. The game also addressed the "run and gun" issue in Lockdown, with running making weapons less accurate. 

Critical Hour brought eight new multiplayer maps, making the total maps 18. The usual game modes returned but it also introduced Assassin Mode, Sharpshooter, and Last Man Standing. 

Rainbow Six: Vegas

This is the sixth Rainbow Six game, released in 2006 for the Xbox 360 and then the PlayStation 3 in 2007. This game followed a new team dispatched to Las Vegas with the goal of defeating international terrorist Irena Morales and her army of mercenaries. 

Rainbow Six: Vegas saw a lot of changes to Rainbow Six. This included new features like a health system that had players regenerate health while not taking fire and impaired vision when damaged. A third-person view was also added for when players blind-fired around corners. The AI enemies became a lot smarter and tougher to deal with. 

Rainbow operatives were deployed to a Mexican border town in 2018, tasked with capturing Irena. One of the operators, Logan, is separated from the others and must fight his way to an escape helicopter. He is redeployed in Las Vegas, dropped outside the Calypso Casino. 

Rainbow Six: Vegas 2

Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 has the player create their own character to use during the campaign. The player assumes the role of Bishop, a Rainbow squad member with a ton of experience. Bishop can also be customized. 

Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 was said to have very improved teammate AI. Teammates would even cover each other as they advanced forward. Several new commands were also added. Players could use the microphone to give commands. 

What is Rainbow 6: Patriots?

Rainbow 6: Patriots was planned to be released after Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, announced in 2011 in an issue of Game Informer. The game was canceled in 2014 and was replaced with Rainbow Six: Siege. 

In March 2012, the game's Creative Director, Narrative Director, Lead Designer, and Animation Director were all removed from Patriots. Fans then noticed that the game was removed from GameStop's database of upcoming games in May 2013. Ubisoft told fans it was still in development at E3 2013 but the game was scrapped in the summer of 2014. Rainbow Six: Siege was announced as the replacement. 

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