Rainbow Six Siege Year 5's gadget changes could redefine the Operator

Rainbow Six Siege Sledge Six Invitational
Rainbow Six Siege Sledge Six Invitational (Image credit: Ubisoft)

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege stows some sizeable changes for its Year 5 roadmap, reworking the approach to Operator releases amid a shifting focus to gameplay features. That comes with further diversification of secondary gadgets, currently comprised of explosives and deployables detached from unique Operator abilities. While on the offense that includes additional ways to breach and clear the objective, defenders are treated to various hinderances to stifle the attacker approach.

Throughout the early years of Rainbow Six Siege, those secondary gadgets have remained separate from Operator abilities. But in Year 5, Ubisoft hopes to translate a portion of Operator utility into that secondary gadget pool, democratizing core gameplay roles across a broader range of characters. We got the first tease at the Six Invitational 2020, with an unveiling of the Proximity Sensor, and talk of a hard-breaching alternative.

Ubisoft's new approach comes as the publisher hopes to bring larger changes with each update, shaking up those gameplay fundamentals like early seasons. "[Secondary] gadgets in general, they impact more than one Operator because they're spread among many. So, for us, it's a cool way to bring gameplay to more players in more rounds," lead game designer Jean-Baptiste Halle, tells Windows Central. And as an often underappreciated role in Rainbow Six Siege, secondary gadget changes in Year 5 could be some of the largest for moment-to-moment gameplay.

Rainbow Six Siege bringing hard breaching, EMP alternatives to existing Operators

Rainbow Six Siege Hibana

Source: Ubisoft (Image credit: Source: Ubisoft)

One prime example of Ubisoft's new philosophy reinvents hard breaching, a role in Rainbow Six Siege now integral to its level design. Overcoming the obstacle of a heavy metal reinforcement is currently limited to just three playable Operators, each with differing results and intricacies. While Thermite's charges deliver a large opening, Hibana and Maverick offer a more flexible utility. But Ubisoft aims to break away from the reliance on this trio, offering a dash of hard breaching across more Operators, through a mini thermal breach charge.

"Right now, in most situations, you're forced to pick a hard breacher"

"That's why we're doing the hard-breaching secondary gadget. Because right now, in most situations, you're forced to pick a hard breacher," explains Halle. "Hard breachers will remain the best at doing their job. But we think that typically, in some bomb sites – for a specific strategy, you only really need to open one hatch – it should be possible to build a viable strategy without having to pick one of those guys. By doing that, we hope that we can give more freedom and breathing room to the attacker's pick rate."

For hard breaching, it's currently unclear how its arrival would impact the presence of those Operators across matches. While guaranteed to reduce the pick rate of those Operators, the implementation is crucial to retain their value going forward. It currently appears Ubisoft may be exploring a single charge that players can move through, potentially closer to one cluster of Hibana pellets. However, given its work-in-progress nature, expect more details later in 2020.

Rainbow Six Siege Proximity Sensor

Source: Ubisoft (Image credit: Source: Ubisoft)

Ubisoft has provided further examples of gadgets on the roadmap for Year 5, with the first of those seemingly close to release. An upcoming Proximity sensor will provide new intelligence opportunities for defenders, emitting an audible alarm when foes walk past. That brings forward an aspect of Lesion's greatest draw into a widely available form, although cutting the invisibility and damage that defines his role today.

It also appears anti-gadget utility is expanding to a secondary, rivaling Thatcher and Twitch. As reportedly discussed with PC Gamer, Ubisoft would bring a new way to counter the growing arsenal of electronic devices, but without relying on those traditional launch-day Operators. And while in the early stages, its debut could provide that extra flexibility to disrupt team compositions.

The success of Ubisoft's new approach to secondaries proves promising, although is equally a balancing act through Year 5 and beyond. If a utility becomes commonplace across the roster, the value of those dedicated to the role will fall. However, if correctly implemented across the right Operators, it could lead to more exciting strategies than ever before.

In the meantime, Rainbow Six Siege prepares to launch its next seasonal update, Operation Void Edge. Scheduled for mid-March availability, it brings new Operators Iana and Oryx, coupled with an Oregon map rework.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.