The last few weeks have been a series of unfortunate events for Rainbow Six: Siege. The major event of the calendar year, the Six Invitational had to be postponed due to the pandemic and for a while we were also concerned as to what that meant for the annual reveal of the next year of content. Well, fortunately, a pandemic didn't hinder Ubisoft's plans to show off Year 6 in its full glory, and so to get you up to speed, we've condensed everything you need to know about the Rainbow Six Siege Community and Game Celebration right here.
Year 6 in summary
Starting off, the whole year will once again be split into four seasons. The first is Crimson Heist - of which we will dive into further detail on shortly - and will focus on the Argentinian Operator Flores. The second, third, and fourth Operations are currently nameless but will centre on a Native American, Croatian, and Irish Operator respectively. There will only be four Operators this year however, as game director Jean Baptiste Halle explained to us in an interview, "We will release 1 new operator per season, so that will be 4 operators during Y6."
Each season is also bringing some degree of map reworking (Border, Favela, a variety of smaller tweaks on a package of maps, and Outback are scheduled in season 1-4 respectively). Events and new core gameplay features are also planned year-round. Cross-play is still on the cards as well, although no release date is on the table yet. As Halle put it, "We are working on cross-play at the moment, but don't have a release date yet."
Season 1: Crimson Heist
Crimson Heist is looking to bring a broad variety of new content and features to the live game, including the aforementioned Operator Flores. This attacker is a two-speed, two-armour character that can use an AR33 or a SR-25 rifle as his main weapon, a GSH-18 pistol as a secondary, and then either stun grenades or a claymore as his secondary equipment.
"Flores was inspired by heist films like Oceans 11 and Leon the Professional," said art director Alexander Karpazis. "He's an interesting blend of casual attire and combat gear which gives him a really unique look for the Siege team."
Flores' Gadget is the RCE-Ratero. This device is essentially a remote controlled car with a bomb attached to it that can be driven through drone holes and used to destroy enemy Gadgets or blow up destructible walls. Once activated, the device cannot stop moving forward, but it can still turn and jump. It's payload comes with a short timer when activated, and will explode at the end of the duration, but to make the device a little more threatening, the RCE-Ratero can anchor itself to walls, and when the timer is activated it will hunker down, becoming bulletproof.
Flores also marks the start of Operators being the first tier reward in the premium track of seasonal Battle Passes. From now on, new Operators will only be accessible through buying the Battle Pass for the first two weeks, however, the Battle Pass will not increase in price due to this.
Also coming with Crimson Heist is the rework of the map Border, which will be seeing layout changes in different places, cleaned up sight lines, and even a decrease in ambient noise such as the helicopters that fly overhead. You can check out a video of the reworked map below.
A new weapon is joining the fray in the new tool the Gonne-6. This piece of gear can destroy bulletproof Gadgets, although it comes with only one shot and takes up your secondary weapon slot. As Halle put it, the Gonne-6 is "meant to counter defenders bulletproof utilities."
A replay system will also be making an appearance, and will come to the PC version first of all, and as it stands will be a beta at the launch of Crimson Heist. The Newcomer playlist is seeing a few tweaks to further reflect the Ranked and Unranked modes, to make for an easier transition between the two. And, certain Operators are having their prices reduced, including Lion, Finka, Mozzie, Gridlock, Iana and Oryx.
Then to round out the Crimson Heist portion, several gameplay features are being implemented to make the game better than ever, including an indicator for when drones are getting close to a Mozzie P.E.S.T., as well as a new disabled state being added to easily spot when a device has been disabled by an electrical Gadget.
Over the course of Year 6, a series of gameplay updates are also planned. At the forefront is the 'attackers repick system' that allows the team on offense to switch out Operators after scouting out the enemy team with drones in the planning phase. Halle elaborated on this feature, saying it "will allow attackers to adapt their operator choice and loadout until the end of the preparation phase. That's a complete game changer, which I believe will make the preparation phase much more interesting and important."
Likewise, the new 'activities after death' features will allow players who have died to have a bigger impact on the game through moving cameras among other things.
Armour is also slightly being tweaked so that it now offers an extra 20 health per level, meaning Operators who have three speed-one armour will have 100 health and top mobility, whereas Operators with one speed-three armour will be slowest but with 140 health.
Future balancing is also set to focus on toning-down defenders and buffing attackers. Talking about the recent changes to ballistic shields and C4, game designer Emilien Lomet said, "Those changes were only the first steps toward shifting our meta. In season 1, we will release the second step of this process, introducing the Gonne-6, a sidearm available to some attackers, allowing them to take out bullet proof utilities. Later during the year, we will also introduce the rework of both Goyo and Melusi, which will contribute to the overall limitations to the number of bullet proof gadgets available to the defending team."
In terms of Operator reworks, the next on the cards are Goyo and Melusi, who are both seeing tweaks to their Gadgets. Goyo will be losing his explosive barricades in favour of smaller explosive bundles that can be detonated the same way, and Melusi's Gadget will now have a shootable center when it opens up.
Mira and Maestro will also be seeing slight tweaks to their Gadgets, although nothing to the same scale as Goyo and Melusi.
To ensure the best server stability, Ubisoft is also working on connectivity upgrades and DDoS prevention software to ensure the game faces the least issues when dealing with cyber attacks. The file size of Rainbow Six Siege should be shrinking as well, to make sure the game doesn't become a behemoth eating up your SSD or HDD.
Ubisoft is introducing more options to wear gear on your Operators, including mixing and matching between skins and headgear.
In terms of new cosmetics to be excited for, a Resident Evil skin is coming soon for Zofia, a series of horror-themed skins designed by Ikumi Nakamura are heading to the game (eight in total right now, with two coming in Crimson Heist, and potentially more in the future), and something Rick and Morty seems to have been teased - although no word on what exactly this will be just yet.
As a final note, Rainbow Six Siege esports do not intend to slow down over 2021. A new point system will be introduced, in-person global majors are still planned, and it will once again all round out with the Six Invitational, this time taking place in Montreal, Canada - the birthplace of Siege.
That about rounds out all the major points of the next Operation, Crimson Heist and the rest of the plans for Year 6. If you haven't already, make sure you check out Rainbow Six Siege, downloadable on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series, and of course thanks to the development team at Ubisoft for taking some time to answer our questions.