Recently Ubisoft opted to make some rather drastic changes to Rainbow Six: Siege in order to accommodate the censorship standards that are required for releasing software in China. The changes did not go over well with the community, however, and now Ubisoft decided to revert those changes.
In a blog post made over on the official Ubisoft website, the company announced that the aesthetic changes that were announced in the blog post published just 18 days ago (November 2, 2018) will be reverted with update for Y3S4, which is for the Year 3, Season 4 content.
The changes for the game will be reverted as part of the Wind Bastion update for international audiences, and Ubisoft states that it will attempt to remove as many elements as possible that were censored in the game for the release in China.
Originally, Ubisoft made a post explaining (and showing) how melee icons would be changing from knives to fists, and death icons would be changing from skulls to a body icon with an 'X' on it. The skull graffiti was also changed to a face with a mask on. All the slot machines that were in the game were also removed, replaced with empty shelves. Environmental blood was also removed from levels, and the neon sign featuring an exotic image of a woman was replaced with a neon light sign of a finger pointing into the distance.
You might think that these are odd changes, but it all fits in line with the 10 Rules of Censorship that China requires of studios who plan on porting and releasing games into the mainland. China has strict rules against certain kinds of imagery glorifying or promoting images of death, especially supernatural images such as skulls, ghouls or the undead. These changes have to be applied to a lot of games releasing in the region, whether it's for home consoles or for PC, which is something both Sony and Microsoft had to adopt to when releasing the PS4 and Xbox One within the region.
China also has very strict content policies when it comes to depicting or promoting gambling in media, namely that the country doesn't allow it. This is why Ubisoft had to remove the slot machines from Rainbow Six: Siege.
Now the real interesting part about it is that in the latest post, Ubisoft addressed what would become of gamers based in Asian countries regarding the changes. According to the post, it's mentioned that gamers in the Asian territories will be able to "continue enjoying the same game" as gamers from other regions.
This doesn't really explain what will become of the Chinese version of Rainbow Six: Siege, just that the game in Asian territories will stay the same as the other versions of the game. Does this mean that the game will be the same in Southeast Asia and Japan, but will change in China? How does that work?
For now Ubisoft has promised to keep gamers informed about further updates and potential changes to the game as the team preps to release the new Operators and the new map for Year 3, Season 4.