Brace yourselves, wall of text incoming.
I think the lore expansion that's been going on for a while is great. It gives more room for content creation, skins, etc. The CGI movies we've been getting like "Hammer & Scalpel" and the Stadium one are incredible. However I think that recently, lore has been getting pushed too hard into areas of the game that don't really need it, like operator icons.
Icons are supposed to be unique symbols that make each operator easily identifiable at a quick glance. Given that special gadgets/abilities are the bread and butter of Siege and what makes it so different than any other shooter on the market, I think it's fair to say that those very things are what operator icons should represent. Let's go back in time first.
These icons look awesome. They possess a certain flair that current 'clean' icons do not. However they are severely lacking in one department. Practicality. For most of them, you can't immediately tell what each operator does. That was fixed with the icons that have been in the game since launch and has been on point for a time.
But recently, the focus of icon design has shifted to lore, or who the operator is as a person rather than what their role and use in the game is. This hurts even experienced players and I cannot imagine the confusion it causes in new players. I will go over each current icon and share my opinion of how practical it is.
Sledge – Has a hammer. Icon is a hammer ✔️
Thatcher – Destroys electronics. Icon is an on/off switch ✔️
Mute – Disrupts signals. Icons makes sense ✔️
Smoke – Uses toxic gas canisters. Brilliant ✔️
Ash – Grenade launcher. Clear enough ✔️
Thermite – Big fucking hole coming right up. Icon is a hole in the wall ✔️
Castle – Puts up bulletproof barricades ✔️
Pulse – Detects heartbeats through walls ✔️
Twitch – Shock drone ✔️
Montagne – Shield, can't do better than that ✔️
Doc – Healer. No comment needed ✔️
Rook – A bag of armor plates ✔️
Glaz – Sniper, icon is a reticle ✔️
Fuze – Cluster charge with multiple explosive pucks ✔️
Kapkan – Booby trap with a laser tripwire. Traps used to have an anchor back in the day. ✔️
Tachanka – LMG mounted and loaded ✔️
Blitz – Flash shield. Perfectly readable ✔️
IQ – Detects electronics. Eyes with lighting as retinas. Good enough I guess ✔️
Bandit – Electrifies walls and gadgets. Simple and effective ✔️
Jager – Spider web that catches projectiles. Creative ✔️
Buck – Rifle with an underbarrel shotgun ✔️
Frost – A literal beartrap ✔️
Blackbeard – The first offender. Most people know Blackbeard was a famous pirate but I don't see a face shield here ❌
Valkyrie – Looks more like laser vision than deployable cameras to me. Is kinda sorta maybe understandable meh
Capitao – Can't do better than a crossbow ✔️
Caveira – She is silent and interrogates people. Beautiful icon ✔️
Hibana – Literally her gadget ✔️
Echo – Hover drone that uses sonic blasts ✔️
Jackal – Icon represents the Jackal ping. It's a difficult ability to visually represent meh
Mira – Literally her gadget ✔️
Ying – Flash cluster charge. Nice ✔️
Lesion – A little prick that stings a lot ✔️
Zofia – A phoenix that rises again? Maybe? Lore based icon for a lore based ability. Not a fan ❌
Ela – Sticky concussion trap. Passable at best meh
Dokkaebi – A representation of dokkaebi from Korean lore, nothing to do with hacking phones or cameras ❌
Vigil – Disrupts signals, is invisible to camera. Icon supports that idea ✔️
Lion – A real lion? Seriously? ❌
Finka – Adrenal surge, icon makes sense ✔️
Maestro – Does the helmet represent the Evil Eye? What does the smoke mean? A generous meh
Alibi – I guess tentacles represent the holograms and how there's more than one Alibi? I'm digging too deep here ❌
Maverick – Why? Just why? It has absolutely nothing to do with the game. What is his gadget/ability? Does he ride a horse into battle? ❌
Clash – The London underground symbol? Where is the electrifying shield? ❌
Nomad – Lore says she is an explorer so she gets a compass as her icon. Why is the airjab not shown? It's an interesting and unique mechanic(until Oryx came out). Why not showcase that? ❌
Kaid – What the actual fuck. A sword going through a diamond is sure as hell gonna let players know they can electrify walls and hatches with this operator. Ridiculous ❌
Gridlock – Lore says she is a mechanic so she gets a piston. Wasn't this the perfect opportunity to just place a trax stinger on her icon? ❌
Mozzie – He loves riding his bike. Awesome. Does the helmet show he catches drones as well? Not really. ❌
Nokk – Shows she is stealthy. An accidental success I'd say but a success nonetheless ✔️
Warden – He was a secret service agent. Nice. Wouldn't his glasses have been a better fit though? To show what he's actually able to do in game? ❌
Amaru – Are a bird's talons a good description of a grappling hook? Close enough? Maybe? A generous meh
Goyo – His gadget is called the Volcan shield. Icon is a volcano. The gadget name kinda saves this one. meh
Kali – What a giant miss this is. A bolt-action rifle wielding operator that has been requested for so long gets an icon that shows the logo of her private military organization. Instead of incorporating an AWP into her icon and attracting players to Kali they chose to show this. How incredibly boring. ❌❌❌
Wamai – In a game with very futuristic gadgets(which i think is great!) Wamai's gadget is a plain old magnet. Seems easy enough to design an icon around. Instead his icon is based on a seasonal promo video where he is shown meditating in water. This is mind-boggling ❌
Iana – The shadow is a subtle and effective way to show off her ability. A rare design win in recent times ✔️
Oryx – An operator that can run through walls gets a ram as his icon. Very effective use of an animal in icon design! ✔️
Ace – Awful. His name is the only thing his icon correlates to. Pretty lazy ❌
Melusi – She is from South Africa so she gets an Acacia tree as her icon. Does the tree send out sonic waves in real life too? Another bad one ❌
I think it's clear lore has overstepped it's boundaries and practicality has been thrown out the door. This kind of philosophy might make sense in a story-based single player game but it's very out of place in a competitive multiplayer shooter.
Long post so here's a potato 🥔
- Icon Swaps 3 – Icon Pick Dynamic Probabilities SPREADSHEET
- How Ubisoft Should Buff Nøkk! 😀
- If EA insist on not having individual icon sbcs, their drop rate needs to be much higher
More about Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six SiegePost: "Lore influence on Operator icon design" specifically for the game Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. Other useful information about this game:
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