Rainbow Six Siege Operation Steel Wave: Everything we know

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Rainbow Six Siege Steel Wave Hero

Source: Ubisoft

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege has vast changes planned throughout Year 5, reworking its approach to updates, and introducing anticipated features to the hit tactical shooter. With over 55 million players and preparations for next-generation consoles underway, Ubisoft prepares the grounds for over a decade of further post-launch support.

Operation Steel Wave is the latest seasonal refresh, with our first cryptic teaser now live. And while the next update sits a few weeks away, we already have a glimpse into plans for what’s inbound.

Rainbow Six Siege Operation Steel Wave release date

Following Rainbow Six Siege’s Year 5 kick-off, Ubisoft’s consistent annual scheduling provides an estimate of its next release. For Operation Steel Wave, expect estimated early June availability on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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In response to current world events, Ubisoft canceled the Pro League Season XI Finals in São Paulo, Brazil, raising uncertainty around its Steel Wave unveiling. While initially scheduled to appear at the event on May 17, 2020, the impact of the amended roadmap remains unclear.

It appears Ubisoft is now ramping up promotions, however, with Operation Steel Wave teasers suggesting an imminent unveiling. Assuming Year 5 Season 2 remains on schedule, and the usual three-week period of Test Server (TS) trials on PC, it positions the update for a June 9, 2020 release date.

Rainbow Six Siege Year 5: Everything We Know

Rainbow Six Siege Steel Wave Operators leak

Rainbow Six Siege Nokk Concept

The rumored Norwegian attacker will be the second Scandinavian Operator, accompanying Nøkk.Source: Ubisoft

Ubisoft’s approach to Rainbow Six Siege post-launch content is set to undergo some sizeable shakeups throughout Year 5, amid an evolving long-term strategy for the future of the hit shooter. While retaining the signatures of recent updates, it consolidates offerings to one Operator per season and instead investing in wider-reaching core gameplay features. With that shifting strategy underway, Operation Steel Wave acts as the final update under the established template.

As outlined via Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege Year 5 roadmap, the second update of 2020 features two new playable Operators of South African and Norwegian origin. Expect the usual diversity in male and female Operators and counterterrorism units, coupled with two unique abilities to rework the meta.

Ubisoft remains tight on the Steel Wave recruits, although past details on Operation Void Edge also help outline future content. Two reputable sources nailed details surrounding Iana and Oryx weeks ahead of the reveal, accompanied by passing mention of upcoming plans. And although worth taking lightly due to the nature of rumors, proven track records pose the latest leaks as likely additions for the next update.

Rainbow Six Siege Kaid Barbed Wire

Rainbow Six Siege may receive a new “smart” barbed wire alternative with its South African defender.Source: Ubisoft

The initial report, translated from Russian and shared by Reddit user /u/Maxinik03, provides a glimpse into both offensive and defensive plans for Steel Wave, based on internal concepts from January.

The upcoming South African defender allegedly sports the internal codename “Slowpoke,” with a gadget to slow players, like barbed wire, while also capable of marking enemy gadgets through cameras. ResetEra user Kormora, famed for past leaks, also discusses a “pyramid device for the defender that slows you down when it sees you.” Ubisoft-hosted files on the Rainbow Six website also suggest this slowing gadget will be named the “Banshee.”

Her rumored offensive partner has fewer surrounding details, potentially fulfilling a new breaching role. Rainbow Six Siege website files indicate he introduces the “S.E.L.M.A.” launcher, favoring breaching utility over pure fragging power. The aforementioned Kormora suggests this will be a new hard breacher, although it’s unclear how Ubisoft will differentiate him from the trusty trio of Thermite, Hibana, and Maverick.

We also receive new details on loadouts for both Operators, once again recycling existing firearms from the roster. The defender allegedly wields the T-5 SMG formerly used by Lesion, accompanied by the Super 90 shotgun used by Frost. The breacher may repurpose the AK-12 or Commando 552, although still undecided by Ubisoft, with the M1014 as a close-quarters backup.

For those with the upcoming Year 5 Pass or Uplay+ membership, both Operators will be available at no additional cost with the launch of the latest season. The recruits will later open to the public using Renown or R6 Credits, seven days after release.

Rainbow Six Siege House rework

Rainbow Six Siege House Rework

Source: Ubisoft

Operation Steel Wave also continues Ubisoft’s streak of extensive reworks, adapting existing Rainbow Six Siege locales with revised gameplay flow and visual palettes. With several well-received, reworked maps debuted throughout Year 4, the developer next has its sights on House.

First showcased during the game’s E3 2014 reveal, the map has emerged as one of the most iconic and beloved parts of the current roster. However, limited by its small footprint, among the notoriously broken maps, it’s excluded from Ranked play.

Ubisoft approaches the new House as a “casual” rework, explains Rainbow Six product director, Roy Del Valle. “What we’re doing is we’re making it a little bit bigger,” he states. “We’re adding an extra set of stairs […] we’re very excited about it.” It indicates that House will remain limited to the Quick Match playlist, likely excluded from Ranked and Unranked playlists.

The floorspace will significantly grow, further extending the rear of the complex, and now fully furnished for a fresh theme. That includes a new interior with an extra staircase, with significant changes to the workshop, master bedroom, and kitchen. As with past Rainbow Six Siege updates, access to the new map will be free to all players regardless of owning the Year 5 Pass, and widely available on launch day.

Introducing the ‘Ping 2.0’ system?

Rainbow Six Siege Ping 2.0

Source: Ubisoft

Steel Wave also appears a likely vehicle for Ping 2.0, a new contextual system unveiled as the Six Invitational 2020. Popularized by games like Apex Legends, praised as an in-depth system to aid communication, Ubisoft delivers a unique flavor around the fundamentals of Rainbow Six.

In contrast to the existing Rainbow Six Siege system, comprised of red and yellow pointers lacking context, Ping 2.0 adds more specifics around gadgets. That allows players to drop lasting beacons on the map, represented as icons on the heads-up-display for allies.

Based on the Six Invitational demo, it appears users can ping one hostile or friendly gadget at a time per player, either through their player view, drones, or cameras. The system works throughout the round, as well as the preparation phase and post-death “support phase.”

Rainbow Six Siege Ping 2.0

Source: Ubisoft

“It’s an improvement on the existing ping system that you’re used to and that you’ve been playing with. The difference here is that you can share the positioning and nature of gadgets that have been deployed in the environment either by your teammates or enemies. It’s a really easy way to share information with your friends, even if you don’t have a mic.”

“It ties back in what we were talking about before, which is trying to add stakes in the preparation phase and the support phase, this one being for both actually. It’s actually a very useful way for an attacker, to use your time with your drone, because if you spot some traps that have been deployed, for instance by Frost or Kapkan, this is a [type of] information that can remain potentially longer, and so it’s really useful for your teammates to get info. You don’t need to make that perfect call and describe exactly where it is. The game is just going to help you do that.”

Ubisoft plans to launch its “first iteration” of Ping 2.0 in the “first half of Year 5.” While unconfirmed for Operation Steel Wave, it’s indicative of a release over the months ahead, especially for Test Server users on PC.

Incoming this May

In the meantime, Ubisoft has launched its Year 5 kick-off with Operation Void Edge. That includes the addition of Iana and Oryx, two new playable Operators shaking up gameplay, coupled with an Oregon map rework.

Eyes On Target

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

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Ubisoft’s hit shooter is hotter than ever, touting tense tactical gameplay, and regular free updates. Entering 2020 with millions of players, Rainbow Six isn’t slowing down.

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