Ubisoft has announced a new roadmap for Rainbow Six Siege, which covers the next two years of updates. The content plan includes 10 new operators, eight reworked maps, a new system to tackle player toxicity, a battle pass for every season, and a plethora of core gameplay tweaks.
The plan, announced at the Six Invitational 2020, deviates from the traditional 12-month Siege roadmap typically outlined in February of each year. Instead, Ubisoft has opted for a 24-month plan that gradually shifts away from what players usually expect from each season. The key difference is that Siege will start to offer just one new Operator per season, rather than two, starting half way through Year 5, and continuing into Year 6.
Replacing that second Operator per season will be an increase in “core gameplay” adjustments and reworks. “The idea is that we’re going to revamp gameplay systems that impact your round every time that you’re playing,” says Jean-Baptiste Hallé, lead game designer for Rainbow Six Siege.
Operators and Maps
Operator reworks and re-balances will be applied throughout a season, rather than just at the start, which should keep the flow of content feeling more continuous. Those reworks have yet to be entirely detailed, but it’s been confirmed that Siege’s long-term joke Operator, Tachanka, is getting an overdue complete overhaul.
The roadmap will deliver eight maps over the two years, with all of them being reworks rather than new locations. Year 6 maps have yet to be announced, but Year 5 will see, in order, reworks of Oregon, House, Skyscraper, and Chalet. While only Oregon has been detailed so far, as part of the Operation Void Edge presentation, and is a small but impactful change, it seems as if House will be a more major rework than those seen through Year 4.
“We didn’t want to lose too much of [House], but it really was too small,” explains Alex Karpazis, Art Director on Rainbow Six Siege. “So we wanted to grow it a little bit more, provide more mobility, but still have it as a great introduction map for new players.”
When quizzed about why Siege seems to moving entirely away from new maps for the next two years, Hallé says “We’ve observed that the enthusiasm from our player base when they get a rework, when they see that the problematic parts have been fixed or changed, that has a better level of success.”
“You don’t have to learn the map from the ground up,” he adds. “You’re still familiar, but it’s also fresh and new.”
A map ban phase will be introduced to Ranked play, akin to the pick and ban system used for Operators. A selection of three maps will be provided for teams to decide upon, which will allow more player agency in determining the location of each match.
Ubisoft is also planning several major feature overhauls, with plans to make elements like the preparation and support phases more engaging. The first change to be announced is Ping 2.0; an Apex Legends-like system that allows attackers to mark defender equipment such as Kapkan and Frost traps. “It will give you more impact as an attacker during the preparation phase because you are able to pinpoint the position and the nature of gadgets and share it with your teammates,” explains Hallé.
There will also be new secondary gadgets introduced, such as a new hard breaching option, and a proximity alarm that can be used to help defenders track attacker movements. A new replay system is also in the works, which Ubisoft notes will be a helpful tool for those looking to learn from their defeats.
What will perhaps bring the biggest sense of relief, though, is news that Ubisoft is working on a player reputation system. “It’s a system we’ve seen used by our competitors and it gives good results when it’s well done,” Hallé says. “We know it’s going to be a tough one, but we think in the long run it will help fight against problematic behaviour and encourage the positivity we want to see in our community.”
While the team does not have the specifics locked it at current, the core idea is that players will have a reputation score that will be clearly visible. “A certain amount of what you can do will be tied to that score,” Hallé reveals. “Maybe if you get a bad score, certain playlists will be forbidden.”
Each season will feature some kind of core gameplay change, which the team explained could not happen were it not for the reduced Operator count. Ubisoft also promises that being able to focus on a single Operator will allow the character to be more polished upon release.
The two-year plan puts increased emphasis on events and a new Arcade Playlist. “These are smaller events that happen more frequently, with gameplay modifiers to freshen up the experience and let us test some things,” Hallé explains.
The first event will be Golden Gun, a homage to N64’s GoldenEye, in which all players are solely armed with a hilariously overpowered gold-plated Desert Eagle that needs reloading after every shot. Events have become a relatively common part of Siege, from Halloween-themed game modes to highly competitive map designs such as the SI’s Stadium, but the Year 5/6 roadmap promises a new one each season, as well as a playlist that will allow players to freely engage in a far more ‘fun’ version of Siege.
“The great thing about events is we get to have a petri dish of testing,” says Karpazis. “Bulletproof glass [from Stadium] is something we thought worked really well, and we’ll be looking at it in the future for sure.” Effectively, the Arcade Playlist is a guinea pig lab for the team’s wilder ideas that may eventually transition to the core Siege modes.
There’s also the promise of the Rainbow Six Cup, currently in the prototyping stage, which Hallé describes as a mini tournament. A team of five will subscribe to a Cup event and play against other similarly ranked teams, with the winners being crowned Cup winners, at least until the next event when it all starts afresh.
While all these changes are exciting for the future of Siege, it’s not hard to notice that the two-year plan overlaps with the advent of next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft. Ubisoft refuses to be baited into giving any details away, but it does promise that PS5 and Xbox Series X is part of its plan for the future of Rainbow Six Siege. “It is absolutely a part of Rainbow’s plan,” says Hallé. “We have a firm intention of heading to next gen.”
Pro League Esports
Big changes are being implemented for the Pro League. After the conclusion of the current season, the league will transition to a regionalised program that focuses on the four regions of Europe, North America, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific, with the latter being split into North and South divisions. Each season will be divided into quarters, with the first three concluding with a Major, and the final quarter being the regional finals and the Six Invitational.
A new points system for esports teams will be implemented that rewards consistent performance rather than purely victories. This will prevent those who win a Major ‘resting on their laurels’ for the rest of the season. “A team winning a major will be getting 600 points, which is a lot, but it’s not enough to qualify them for the Invitational,” explains Wei Yue, Esports Director at Ubisoft Montreal.
In each region, only the top eight teams in a stage will score points, meaning it’s vital to stay competitive. The top four teams in each stage go on to the Major, and the top 16 scoring teams after all three Majors then go on to compete in the Six Invitational.
For more on Rainbow Six Siege, check out our rundown of everything arriving in Operation Void Edge, along with fresh gameplay of the new Operators, Iana and Oryx. And if you want the full story of the game’s development, check out Saving Siege, our documentary on how Rainbow Six became one of the world’s biggest shooters.