Details about Rainbow Six Siege‘s newest operator, Flores, have officially been unveiled, and they reveal two groundbreaking bits of information about the master thief — he’s the first Argentinian operator on Team Rainbow, and the first openly gay one as well. On Ubisoft’s official site, Gridlock offers up a brief biography of the newest member of the team, including how he calls home every day to talk to his husband, and always keeps his wedding ring on his person, no matter what. It’s a tender sentiment coming from a man who would be perfectly content to blow up his enemies with his RCE-RATERO Drones.
Continuing the ongoing Rainbow tradition of adding at least one new Operator per expansion, Flores will be joining the ranks as an Attack Operator when the next Rainbow Six Siege expansion, Operation Crimson Heist, releases worldwide on March 30. The ranks have grown this way in Rainbow Six Siege to total out at time of writing to 58 Operators strong, and growing, with Flores taking his place as #59. Meanwhile, Gridlock offers up some cursory info on the man known as Santiago “Flores” Lucero: a thief who grew up on the streets of Buenos Aires, stealing from the rich and powerful crime lords that reside there. Flores, who was initially introduced in a teaser trailer for Operation Crimson Heist, is otherwise described as a quiet, somewhat awkward, but dependable man, with strong convictions and a penchant for mechanics. Ash, under undisclosed circumstances, helped escape from Argentina, where he subsequently joined up with Team Rainbow.
While developer Ubisoft Montreal actively sought to create a lineup of Operators that were diverse and represented people from all walks of life, that diversity ended up being a bit limited as it applied primarily to gender on a binary spectrum, and race. It still took about five years for the company to introduce someone like Flores, an openly gay male character, to its extensive roster. Nevertheless, the implications of a gay man joining the ranks in a game like Rainbow Six Siege will undoubtedly have a lasting effect on the future of its subsequent Operators, as game director Jean-Baptiste Halle explained in a response to PC Gamer:
“It’s something that’s very, very dear to our hearts to make everyone feel welcome and make everyone feel like they can identify with different people in our cast. It’s really important that everyone feels like they have a place and can be represented in our game. You can expect more operators who identify with different genders and have different sexualities. It’s something that we’re trying to improve on.“
Flores is definitely a welcome sight as both a Latinx, and as an openly gay man, and it’s refreshing to see that his entire personality isn’t based wholly on his sexuality, but the five years it took for him to be introduced will always be the elephant in the room when it comes to the conversation about inclusion in mainstream video games. Ubisoft has been sort of toeing the political line in recent months, thanks to controversy stemming both from Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad‘s political leanings and ongoing discrimination lawsuits against the company at large, which may have influenced the decision to either hasten or slow Flores’ introduction, although that’s pure conjecture. But there also remains the fact that inclusion is not everyone’s cup of tea, and there will undoubtedly be backlash and accusations of pandering on the other side of Rainbow Six Siege‘s fanbase, which could also be a contributing factor to why it took so long for a gay man to find a place on Team Rainbow.
But it’s better late than never as far as Flores’s inclusion goes, and at least his presence in a game like Rainbow Six Siege is a pretty clear sign that despite the inevitable backlash from those who think that including diverse characters is some sort of personal attack, the gaming world is insistently moving forward – even if it took 59 steps just to get to this point.