Rainbow Six Siege Steel Wave delay — why the new season isn't releasing today

Rainbow Six Siege Melusi
Rainbow Six Siege Melusi (Image credit: Ubisoft)

Preparations remain underway to deliver Operation Steel Wave, the next seasonal update headed to Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege. The latest flagship refresh for Ubisoft's hit tactical shooter includes new playable Operators, Ace and Melusi, coupled with a variety of game-spanning amendments, on track for a debut this June. But following release schedule changes, the next season won't hit Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC live servers this week.

Operation Steel Wave isn't far from launch, following an extensive period of trials via the Test Server (TS) on PC. This experimental, closed environment remains separated from the average player's public servers and provides Ubisoft with several weeks of tests to squash remaining bugs. The Test Server build often drops one day after the new season reveal, spanning three weeks, before rolling out to all players. Here's what you need to know.

Why is Rainbow Six Siege Steel Wave not releasing today?

Rainbow Six Siege Melusi T5 SMG

Source: Ubisoft (Image credit: Source: Ubisoft)

Ubisoft rarely discusses release dates for Rainbow Six Siege updates until 24 hours from deployment. Steel Wave wrangles evolving challenges posed by current world events, as the Rainbow Six Siege development team currently adapts to working from home. That saw features like Match Replay and Ping 2.0 pushed back later into the year, providing additional resources to test Steel Wave before launch.

To ensure Steel Wave arrives with fewer bugs and issues, Ubisoft decided to extend its TS duration by one additional week, now spanning four weeks. "[T]he devs at Rainbow Six have been working very hard on building new things for players to enjoy, with a focus on quality," stated Rachel Quirico, host on Ubisoft's Steel Wave reveal stream. "That said, the test server is going to be up for about a week longer than usual to make sure we ship a clean season."

Hopefully, Steel Wave releases as bug-free as possible, with an extensive list of fixes and adjustments already deployed to Test Server versions. But that has the unfortunate effect of delaying the expected Steel Wave launch from the week of June 8, back to the week starting June 15.

Rainbow Six Siege Steel Wave is expected to launch on June 16, 2020, assuming the usual Tuesday release of past seasons. However, given the uncertainty posed by working from home, there's always the possibility of later availability. Check the latest on Rainbow Six Siege Steel Wave's release date and times via our ongoing guide.

Rainbow Six Siege Steel Wave brings pure glory and frustration

What to expect from Rainbow Six Siege Steel Wave

Rainbow Six Siege Ace CGI

Source: Ubisoft (Image credit: Source: Ubisoft)

When Rainbow Six Siege Operation Steel Wave drops, expect some sizable shakeups to the gameplay. Recruits Ace and Melusi change the scene with new hard-breaching and trap gadgets, while the House map rework introduces anticipated renovations to the suburban abode.

The arrival of Ace comes with the SELMA Breach Charge, a throwable gizmo designed to offer yet another breaching alternative to Thermite, Hibana, and Maverick. The hydraulic canister affixes to reinforced walls, carving sightlines, and entry points around the objective. He also utilizes the AK-12, previously exclusive to Fuze, regarded as one of the best rifles in the game.

Defender Melusi packs the tools for a nasty trap, deploying Banshee devices capable of emitting soundwaves to slow attackers. This barbed wire alternative provides a nuisance for rushing attackers, with her T5 SMG and three-speed setup offering a nasty combo.

Upon release, Rainbow Six Siege Steel Wave will introduce the new House rework for all. However, for access to new Operators Ace and Melusi throughout the opening week, you'll need the latest Year 5 Pass.

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.