A still image from Operation Black Ice, a new mission available to players of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege that is set in the Canadian Arctic. (Graphic: Ubisoft)
The Arctic’s hot these days — even in video games.
With stories of the Arctic opening up to ship traffic and the associated potential international conflict, not to mention tales of the impact of climate change in the region, it’s little wonder that Canada’s polar region has shown up in a video game — specifically as a location in new downloadable content for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege.
The game, created by Ubisoft Montreal and part of the popular Rainbow Six tactical first-person shooter franchise, was released in December 2015 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The new Canadian-based mission, Operation Black Ice, was made available to the game’s season pass holders on Feb. 2, 2016. It will be available to all game owners on Feb. 9.
Players can control Buck and Frost, members of the game’s Rainbow team, an international counter-terrorist unit. The duo are also part of Joint Task Force 2, the real-life elite special operations team of the Canadian Armed Forces.
The game includes a bio for each character, and both have lots of references to Canadian locations and organizations — the RCMP, the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., the Royal Canadian Air Force, etc.
Buck and Frost travel to the Arctic to secure a stranded luxury yacht, Boreal, which has crashed into an iceberg in Baffin Bay, off the coast of Baffin Island, Nunavut, and is in the vicinity of an unidentified submarine.
Given the attention the Arctic is increasingly generating these days, it’s unlikely this will be the last time the polar region shows up in a video game — hopefully a boon to spreading geographic knowledge of Canada’s polar region and the important issues it’s facing.