What should we expect from Rainbow Six Siege in 2020?

As Rainbow Six Siege enters its fifth year, Ubisoft has settled into a groove. The game’s recent batch of operators have been some its best and map reworks have redeemed traditionally hated maps in Ranked. I’m confident that it can keep this momentum, but I also hope Ubi is planning smaller quality-of-life changes as the Six Invitational approaches. What changes or additions should be expected for Year 5? We’ve seen some hints from a reliable leaker, but I’m also crossing my fingers for more in 2020.

A story

Status: Officially confirmed
In a recent interview, Ubisoft said that “story elements are going to be huge” for Siege in 2020. Expanding on the character bios that come with new operators, Year 5 will apparently have a storyline that continues through each season. A recent trailer for the Nighthaven cosmetic collection (watch it above) might be the kickoff to the story, sewing distrust between Ash and R6’s newest members, Kali and Wamai. The trailer is a little cheesy, but Siege’s lore works when it feels like modern-day G.I. Joe.

A real healer on attack

Status: Unconfirmed, but likely
No, Finka’s temporary healing doesn’t count. Siege needs a real, dedicated medic that goes toe-to-toe with Doc and Rook’s armor plates. If a recent info dump from reliable Siege leaker Kormora is to be believed, Ubi is looking into an operator with a healing drone.

Healing drones aren’t a new idea: players have dreamt up their own versions of the concept for years. Healing teammates should require a bit of skill and strategy, as opposed to Finka’s dull global heal button. The post also says that Ubi wants to rework Finka into a “proper medic down the line,” which adds to the idea that the studio thinks attackers could use a true support role.

A Kool-Aid man

Status: Unconfirmed; extremely desirable
Per the same leak, we can likely expect an operator that can burst through walls like the Kool-Aid man. That’s as specific as the leaker gets, but it’s worth taking seriously. Kormora’s source shared accurate info for every single Year 4 operator months before their official reveal. Maybe the theoretical charger carries a souped up version of Sledge’s hammer or a breach charge that doesn’t damage the user?

New secondary gadgets 

Status: Unconfirmed, but likely
Secondary gadgets aren’t as flashy as spike traps or lasers, but they’re a potentially great way to balance the game without introducing new operators. According to the same Kormora leak mentioned above, a new “alarm” for defenders and a “small Thermite charge for attackers” are in the works. Siege hasn’t seen a new secondary gadget since the bulletproof camera was added in 2018, so it's been a long time coming. I think Ubi should go even further: add a micro EMP grenade for defenders or hole-patching kits.

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Tachanka’s big rework

Status: Unconfirmed, but likely
The Kormora leak is also the first we’ve heard about Tachanka’s rework in a long time. Kormora’s source says that Tachanka will “no longer need his turret,” which can be taken a few ways. Either his weapon has been replaced with something else, or his machine gun will be carried detached from its mount. As pointed out by Siege Youtuber Rogue 9, Tachanka was depicted in a recent Pro League trailer holding his iconic machine gun free of its tripod.

Alien zombies 

Status: Officially confirmed
Barring further delays, Siege spin-off game Rainbow Six Quarantine is coming in 2020. Quarantine is a completely separate game based on Siege’s excellent co-op Outbreak event from Year 3. We haven’t heard much about it since June 2019, but it has a lot of potential to expand the Siege universe and fill a Left 4 Dead 3-shaped hole in my heart. 

Based on the reveal trailer, we know Siege operators will make cameos (Ela and Vigil come to the rescue of the trailer’s protagonist). Quarantine isn’t a sequel in the same way as the PvE-focused Overwatch 2, but I can’t help but wonder if the two games will someday become one.

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Much-needed operator reworks

Status: Unlikely
Siege has an annoyance problem. Too many ops carry gadgets that inflict harsh punishments without reasonable counters. Even if they don’t break the game, some gadgets just feel off. This is my shortlist for who the balance team should focus on this year.

  • Lesion: Gu mines are significantly overpowered. The poison should wear off on its own, it shouldn’t prevent sprinting/planting the defuser, and the mine shouldn’t be invisible. Rework the Gu’s appearance and encourage clever placement to succeed.
  • Doc: Doc’s role should be focused on supporting his team, but he’s instead the ultimate roamer. Make each stim heal less, but give him one more. Increase the range of the stim gun to encourage support uses. Give each shot a cooldown to limit self-healing potential.
  • Nomad: For how powerful they are, airjabs don’t have a counter. If multiple entrances to a site are covered with airjabs, the defender is basically screwed. A delay to the detonation would give defenders a chance to dodge punishment.
  • Blackbeard: His rifle-mounted shields are like two extra-life mushrooms strapped onto a gun. There’s nothing fun about that.
  • Shield operators: It’s a shame that we still have to say this, but shield operators are busted. This should be the year that shields are addressed in a real way.

Then there are operators who need some tweaks to become viable. Nøkk’s silent step needs a faster cooldown on par with Caveira, Amaru needs more reasons to use her grapple hook (and it should be faster), and Warden deserves a better SMG to balance out his situational glasses.

A hole patcher

Status: Unconfirmed
We first heard about the fabled “hole blocker” gadget in 2018 when a fan datamined it from Siege’s code, but it has yet to materialize in-game. That’s a shame, because it’s a fantastic idea. A defender who can repair breached holes and walls could completely upend a meta that hasn’t seen drastic changes in a while. Imagine patching up Hibana’s breach holes on Chalet garage and preventing a defuser plant!

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Reworks for Skyscraper, Fortress, or Chalet

Status: Unconfirmed
Three maps that are almost good, but not quite. That makes them great candidates for a rework. Fix up the upstairs of Chalet, shrink down the mazes of Fortress, and demolish the hellish balconies of Skyscraper.

Favela retired for good

Status: Unlikely
Garbage maps belong in the garbage. Every time a Favela match is about to begin, half of the lobby just leaves.

One unified MMR, because two doesn’t work

Status: Unlikely
Every Siege player has two separate MMR scores used to fairly matchmake you with players: one for Quick Match and one for Ranked. The idea is to separately judge skill in two different modes, but the main effect is terribly unbalanced matchmaking in Quick Match.

Since many high skill players stick to Ranked most of the time, their Quick Match MMR is low. As a result, I’m constantly matched against Platinum and Diamond players as a Gold 3. It’s hell. This could be avoided if the game only cared about your Ranked MMR (the best signifier of your skill level) and used it matchmake you everywhere. I’m tired of having to play Ranked to find a fair matchup.

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Hereford Base Classic

Status: Unlikely
It’s simple: take the old Hereford Base, slap “Classic” on the end of it, and add to the Quick Match playlist. It’s a good map! Much better than its replacement and definitely more deserving of a slot than Favela.

Contextual pinging, like Apex Legends

Status: Unlikely
Apex’s ping wheel lets players convey a lot of information without the need for mics. Siege should borrow this idea and let players add a little context to their yellow pings. They don’t have to be extensive. Extra pings that mean “enemy spotted,” “reinforce this,” or “breach that” would be a godsend. Ubisoft likes the idea, but hasn’t committed to making it real.

Better reporting tools

Status: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Siege’s reporting tools are lacking. You can report players for griefing, hacking, or abusive language, but you can’t add any context to your report. Worst of all, though, is that Ubi refuses to inform players if their report led to punitive action. This is a fundamental step in showing players that the system is working. Without that assurance, I can’t help but wonder if my reports are filed straight into a trashcan.

Accessibility features

Status: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Ubisoft has a lot of room for improvement here. It’d be great to see the same attention paid to accessibility as Gears 5’s impressive suite of subtitle and voiceover options, but that seems unrealistic. Siege doesn’t still doesn’t have a basic feature for multiplayer games in 2020: colorblind mode

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.