Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands Splinter CellSource: Ubisoft

Ubisoft appears to be cooking up a cryptic tie-in headed to Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, with evidence suggesting its forthcoming Year 5 Season 3 update joins forces with the Splinter Cell franchise. The pioneer in stealth and espionage may soon head to the hit tactical shooter, akin to recent crossovers with Ghost Recon, including an alleged Operator hailing from Sam Fisher's Echelon.

Rainbow Six Siege previously teased substantial changes with its Year 5 roadmap, including the second-half scheduled to overhaul its seasonal structure, and pivoting away from the two Operator tradition. Season 3, expected to receive an unveiling this August, condenses to just one Operator, helping free resources for new core systems like "Ping 2.0" and "Match Replay."

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The roadmap included planned nationalities and map rework candidates while teasing a secretive "Classified" Operator this summer. Ubisoft stopped short of providing further context, kickstarting extensive speculation in the months that followed. It now appears increasingly likely that Season 3 will feature a Splinter Cell crossover, with details surfacing in the wake of the Operation Steel Wave reveal.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint Deep State Splinter Cell Sam Fisher has been missing in action, but made brief appearances in Ghost Recon Wildlands and Breakpoint.Source: Ubisoft

The first details on the potential Splinter Cell tie-in come via /u/Zer0Bytes_ on Reddit, a recognized Rainbow Six data miner, attributed to several accurate leaks in past seasons. They now flag two newly discovered strings, seemingly naming remaining Year 5 Operators codenames and their assigned counterterrorism units, "Operator.Y5S3.Scout - ECH (Echelon / Third Echelon)" and "Operator.Y5S4.Jordan - PSC (Nighthaven)."

The snippets refer to Operators "Scout" and "Jordan," likely work-in-progress codenames, and not necessarily guaranteed to launch under identical monikers. The aforementioned classified Operator, "Scout," reportedly falls under Echelon — a series of divisions familiar to Splinter Cell fans. The secret initiative within the National Security Agency (NSA) comes heavily rooted in the game world, as the creator of the Splinter Cell Program, home to Sam Fisher. The latter Thai Operator looks to be a Nighthaven recruit, from the same private military organization as Kali and Wamai.

Rainbow Six Siege Year 5 Roadmap Rainbow Six Siege's Year 5 roadmap teases a "Classified" Operator, but ignore the Nighthaven logo.Source: Ubisoft

The leak contradicts the Year 5 roadmap at first glance, presenting a "Classified" badge embellished with the Nighthaven emblem. However, circling back to my past discussions with Rainbow Six Siege product director, Roy Del Valle in February — plans for the winged icon have changed.

"[The Nighthaven logo] shouldn't be there. We've been working on the narrative and looking at what we want to do," Del Valle told Windows Central at the Six Invitational 2020. "And as of late, the last two weeks or something, we tweaked some things on the narrative that you'll discover, and you'll be very happy with, that does not necessarily strictly link to Nighthaven. But the arrival of Nighthaven is an event on Rainbow and it will shape some of the stories that are happening behind the scenes."

Rainbow Six Siege Kali Wamai Nighthaven Trailer Rainbow Six Siege's mysterious Nighthaven organization continues to play a crucial role in the rollout of Year 5.Source: Ubisoft

As with any unconfirmed report, take any details of a potential crossover lightly until the official word from Ubisoft. Development plans can and will change, meaning that the appearance of such references doesn't guarantee an event for the future. They could reference a noteworthy plan, or simply be remnants of abandoned concepts.

Splinter Cell's arrival in Rainbow Six Siege wouldn't be unexpected, however, following past appearances within Ghost Recon Wildlands and Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Echelon also doesn't guarantee the Fisher himself, with the potential to explore other personalities from the universe.

But rumor of a new Splinter Cell entry continues to circulate, potentially opening a prime window to bring the Splinter Cell Program to Rainbow Six. With past updates firmly adhering to a tri-monthly schedule, expect more details on Season 3 this August, and a public release around September.

In the meantime, don't miss our hands-on preview with Rainbow Six Siege Steel Wave's new Operators, Ace and Melusi.