Flores is equipped with four RCE-RATERO charges, and while they work similar to a recon drone, there are some differences. When deployed they continually accelerate and cannot be slowed or stopped. They also have a 10 second timer, so must be driven to the target quickly before it explodes. During travel time, the RCE is vulnerable to jammers, electricity, and enemy fire, but when the fuse triggers – either after the timer runs down or when manually started – the device becomes bulletproof and anchors in place for a few seconds before detonation. The explosion will not breach reinforced walls, but it will destroy any defender gadget and kill operators, so it’s an effective clear-up tool. It can even jump, meaning you can bypass bulletproof shields and reach higher-placed gadgets.
On equipment, Flores can use either the AR33 or the SR-25 rifles, and has the GSH-18 pistol. For secondary gadgets, he can choose from stun grenades or a claymore.
Talking of equipment, Crimson Heist introduces a brand new attacker sidearm: the Gonne-6. This single shot pistol fires an explosive round which will destroy any bulletproof defender gadgets. You only get one bullet, so it needs to be used wisely, but this can help overcome the distinct advantage that defenders currently have.
The map coming with Crimson Heist is a rework of Border, the very first DLC map Siege ever had. It’s not a major change, but is similar in approach to the rework done on Clubhouse. Notable is the slight rearrangement of Armory Lockers, and the expansion of Bathroom to allow it a wider defense zone and provide a rotation opportunity into the second bomb site.
In smaller tweaks, a new pulsing proximity alert has been added to the HUD when attacking drones approach a Mozzie PEST device. The Newcomer Playlist has been revamped with Border, Oregon, Clubhouse, Kafe, Coastline, and Bank on rotation, and their in-match timings altered to be the same as Ranked. There’s also a new Streamer Mode, designed to prevent stream sniping attacks by hiding important information and delaying your matchmaking by a random amount of time. This should make it so stream snipers are less likely to be matchmade with a streamer they are targeting.
That’s all coming in Season 1, but there is much more planned to drop across the year. As ever, new operators are the big pull, and there will be one new operator each season this year. The big news here is that the Year Pass has been retired, and new operators are now the first tier of the premium Battle Pass. They can, of course, still be bought with renown, but Battle Pass owners will have access for two weeks ahead of non-pass owners.
After Flores, the next operator will be a Nakoda Native American. Season 3 will introduce a Croation operator, and Season 4 will add an Irish operator.No new maps are planned for Year 6, and reworks will continue to be the norm. After the rework of Border in Season 1, Season 2 will rework Favella, which will remain in the casual map pool and not graduate to Ranked. Season 3 will not feature any major map rework, but will instead provide smaller tweeks for a variety of maps. Season 4 will rework Outback.
As established in Year 5, all seasons will also provide a special event, as well as new arcade modes and core gameplay feature changes. This year, the changes are focused on making attackers stronger and combating the problematic ‘20-second meta’ at high levels of play. Rather than nerfing defenders, a variety of changes will be made to attackers to help strengthen their position. This starts with the addition of the Gonne-6 sidearm in Season 1.
There are also major changes coming to what can be done in the Planning and Support phases, to help ensure that players always have something engaging to do at all stages of the match. Attackers will be able to change their operator pick during the Planning Phase, allowing them to react to what they find during drone scouts. Seeing many electronic devices, for example, may inform a player to change to Thatcher. This will also encourage players to use the phase to scout the location rather than just drive their drone back to their operator.
During the Support Phase after dying, both defending and attacking operators will be able to access and use their deployed gadgets. If an attacker still has a drone on the map, they will be able to drive it around, while a defender such as a Maestro will be able to still use their Evil Eye laser. This will help keep players engaged after death.
Operator stats are being overhauled to make them clearer. The armour statistic of each operator will be changed to ‘health’, and this will be represented by their HP instead of an invisible buff. Low health operators will have 100 health, and medium and high health operators will be buffed by 20 and 40 HP respectively.Some fairly major reworks are coming to three operators. Goyo is having his booby-trapped bulletproof shields taken away; instead he will deploy incendiary charges to floors or walls. This will still provide the area denial skill without being too harsh on attacking operators. Mira and Maestro are both getting the same change; the glass in their gadgets can be shattered by attackers, which will obstruct vision. The Black Mirror/Evil Eye will need to be opened to provide sightlines again.
A new customisation system is coming for Elite operator skins, that allows you to mix and match headgear, uniforms, and victory dances. Talking of skins, veteran ex-Capcom designer Ikumi Nakamura has designed eight new skins for a selection of operators, including spookier looks for Dokkaebi, Echo, and Hibanna. There’s also a Resident Evil Jill Valentine skin coming for Zofia.
On the subject of IP crossovers, Ubisoft have also teased something to do with Rick and Morty, but will not say exactly what this will be.
There are also connectivity and DDoS defence improvements planned to ensure a smooth experience. The overall size of the game install is also being shrunk to ensure Siege can be kept on hard drives without hogging too much space.
Alongside all this will be a visual presentation overhaul of the game; a new logo, artwork, colour palette and menu design refreshes the feel of the game and puts the emphasis on the operators.
All these changes will be rolled out over the course of the year. It should be noted that these will all hit the Technical Test Server on PC first, and may live there for an extended period of time, as Ubisoft wants to ensure changes are right before deploying them to the main game. It may be that some changes do not graduate to the main servers.
For more Rainbow Six Siege, be sure to check out the game’s developers reacting to our operator designs, and our documentary about the making of Rainbow Six Siege.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer.