Rainbow Six Siege North Star unveiled with new Operator, Thunderbird

Rainbow Six Siege North Star
Rainbow Six Siege North Star (Image credit: Ubisoft)

What you need to know

  • Ubisoft has unveiled its new Operation North Star update for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege.
  • The upcoming season brings a new Operator, Thunderbird, an extensive casual-geared rework of Favela, and various quality of life adjustments to gameplay.
  • The North Star update is expected to release this June.

Ubisoft has unveiled Operation North Star, its second seasonal expansion under its Year 6 plans for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege. The update brings the latest refresh to the hit tactical shooter, further progressing the gameplay meta with a new support Operator, one of the most exhaustive map reworks to date and various quality-of-life tweaks across the title. The publisher has now detailed its complete list of planned changes ahead of the North Star kick-off, currently slated for June.

The highlight of Operation North Star is the new Nakoda Operator, Thunderbird, representing indigenous people of Saskatchewan and a new healer on the defensive roster. The new face brings her Kona Stations, a trio of deployable healing turrets, enabling the first new healer since Operation Chimera in early 2018. And while her three-speed, one-armor configuration leaves her well-suited to roaming, her stationary gadgets also give her flexibility as an agile anchor on any objective mode.

The Kona Station can be placed across any flat surface, shooting players with healing projectiles when entering its radius. It has a lengthy recharge time, around 38 seconds per shot, although with three stations in her loadout to evenly spread support across rooms. The gadget also stows hidden tricks, reviving those who enter its radius in a down-but-not-out (DBNO) state and functional on attackers approaching its space. While familiar weapons return, with the Spear .308 and SPAS-15 primaries, plus Bearing-9 and Q-929 as backup, she's poised to fill a valuable gap in the current defensive lineup.

Following changes to Rainbow Six Siege introduced with Year 6, Thunderbird will be available through the North Star Battle Pass or obtainable through in-game currency.

The arrival of the North Star update also brings a fresh new location to explore, delivering yet another multiplayer map rework focused on Favela. The rework could be one of Ubisoft's most extensive yet, which finally scales back the destruction for more balanced gameplay, although geared toward casual play. It's almost impossible to distinguish the old layout from the new map, essentially dropping a new complex into the old Favela exterior. While Ubisoft shifted focus to map reworks, several years since a new multiplayer map, the new Favela comes close.

But North Star also comes with considerations for the past, bringing significant changes to several existing Operators, each prevalent in the current Rainbow Six Siege meta. Melusi, still strong one year post-release, sees her gadget reworked, deploying closed, and losing its bulletproof qualities once activated. Bulletproof glass is also set to change, allowing players to melee and shatter these panels, obstructive lines of sight. The change will impact Maestro, Mira, and the bulletproof camera gadgets, impacting three sizeable aspects of the current gameplay meta.

Thunderbird, the new Favela rework, and the changes above make up a slice of changes coming to North Star, with a full breakdown also available on the Rainbow Six Siege site.

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.