Rainbow Six Siege coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, cross-play in the works

Rainbow Six Siege Void Edge Iana Hero Art
Rainbow Six Siege Void Edge Iana Hero Art (Image credit: Ubisoft)

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege continues to scale, with Ubisoft now committing to plans for the next two years for its hit multiplayer shooter. It comes as the title consistently tops its portfolio of live-service experiences, bolstered by regular tri-monthly seasons and free content updates. And as Ubisoft shares its vision for a sustainable content lineup moving forward, it's also preparing for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

Rainbow Six Siege targets a launch day release on both next-generation consoles, Leroy Athanassof, game director, tells Windows Central. With recent amendments to its seasonal structure, its team of several hundred employees is committing resources toward the new systems. Ubisoft hopes Rainbow Six Siege leverages that hardware on release day, translating to holiday 2020 availability.

"Why I can't give you a date is because those dates are, in the end, on the people doing the next-gen consoles," Athanassof stated. "What I can tell you is that we are going to be on [the consoles] from launch. When they will release the consoles; but it's up to them to agree that. For Siege, our target is to be available right at launch."

Rainbow Six Siege Year 5: Everything We Know

Rainbow Six Siege Bandit

Source: Ubisoft (Image credit: Source: Ubisoft)

Ubisoft delivered its first console upgrades for Rainbow Six Siege with PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X, however, those updates materialized months after their respective launches. The studio takes a more proactive approach into the next generation, explains Athanassof. "We don't want to break our community. So, we want people who buy the new system right away to play it with their friends."

To avoid community fragmentation throughout the transition, Rainbow Six Siege will also feature cross-generation multiplayer. For example, "That means if you play on the next PlayStation, you will be able to matchmake with the previous PlayStation." Ubisoft also remains in discussions to bring cross-play to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, although it comes with numerous policy hurdles to circumvent.

"We would love to be fully cross-play, [...] it's just a matter of time before it happens."

"Again, this is more a discussion between Microsoft and Sony. We would love to be fully cross-play — have Xbox players matchmaking against the PlayStation players. We are ready to support that. And hopefully, this will happen because as I said, it's a general move in the industry, and there is nothing that can prevent that. It's just a matter of time before it happens."

Rainbow Six Siege Frost

Source: Ubisoft (Image credit: Source: Ubisoft)

However, while Ubisoft has considered the prospect of cross-play between console and PC, input disparities raise considerably more challenges. "I don't think there will ever be console cross-play with PC. The only way we could do that kind of stuff is by letting you do that if you want to. By default, you're always with console. But if you want to match with these players, to have better matchmaking, or whatever, and get your ass kicked by a keyboard and mouse, up to you."

Athanassof also assures me (an invested Rainbow Six Siege Xbox One player, looking to switch to PC) that the team hopes to bring cross-platform progression to Rainbow Six Siege. The concept would allow players to migrate accounts between platforms, especially valuable as regular events expand the pool of limited-time rewards. That follows similar implementation from titles like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Fortnite, and would push Rainbow Six Siege among the top for cross-platform offerings.

Rainbow Six Siege now prepares for its next major update, Operation Void Edge, introducing two new playable Operators, Iana and Oryx. It complements a vast range of features and quality-of-life improvements in the pipeline for Year 5 and beyond, including a new seasonal structure cutting down to one Operator per release.

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.