Ubisoft has announced that the first season of Rainbow Six Siege’s seventh year will finally introduce a new map. Emerald Plains will be the first permanent new addition to the map roster since 2019’s Outback. It will arrive following the introduction of a new defender operator, Azami, who is able to patch up destroyed surfaces with a bulletproof chemical compound.
Rainbow Six Siege’s seventh year of content begins with Operation Demon Veil, a season that adds the Irish-set Emerald Plains map to the game. Unfortunately Emerald Plains will not be available until mid-way through the season, but when it arrives it will provide a new country club-style location for attackers to blow to smithereens.
The large manor house has differing decorative styles; the lower floors are modern and contemporary, while the upper ones are more traditional in design. Ubisoft has yet to offer an in-depth look at the map, so it’s difficult to get a sense of what tactical opportunities it will offer, but a new competitive map has been a long time coming and will be welcomed by the community.
Available right from the start of the season is Azami, a new defender operator who hails from Japan’s private security forces. Clad in stylish threads, she has the fascinating ability to fix up destroyed walls, ceilings, and floors with large bulletproof discs called Kiba Barriers. Deployed via throwing knives that spray out an expanding foam that rapidly hardens, they allow defenders to quickly patch up holes in their defense structures from range. This is particularly useful against vertical attacks, as there’s historically very little defenders can do when the enemy starts firing in from above. Now, hatches and holes blasted in the ceiling can be quickly patched up with a circle of bulletproof foam. Kiba Barriers can be deployed to any surface, so can also be used to cover up windows, doors, and generally break up sightlines with a bulletproof surface. The foam can be countered with explosives, though, so it’s not quite as hardy as a wall reinforcement.
Azami is a medium speed, medium health operator, and comes equipped with a choice of either an SMG – the 9×19VSN, as used by Kapkan – or the ACS12 shotgun that is used by Alibi and Maestro. Her sidearm is the D-50 Desert Eagle, and she has a choice of either barbed wire or impact grenades as her secondary gadget.
Beyond a new operator and map, Operation Demon Veil also adds a number of important new gameplay features and changes. The most radical among these is Attacker Repick, which allows the attacking team to change their loadout and even operator during the preparation phase. This means attackers can change their characters with each new round of a match, adapting to the tactics used by the defending team. Attacker Repick will be present in Quick Match, Unranked, Ranked, and Pro League game types.
There’s also a brand new, permanent game mode arriving in the form of Team Deathmatch. An unusual fit for Siege, it’s been designed to offer a much more casual experience within Rainbow Six’s otherwise hardcore collection of activities. Team Deathmatch matches last 5 minutes, or end when one team reaches 75 kills. The game mode uses respawns, and players are able to change their operators between spawns.
This season will also bring Match Replay to consoles, allowing players to store 2 hours worth of match replays on their system that can be then studied and dissected, as well as balancing updates for Valkyrie and Goyo (whose gadget no longer uses a deployable shield and is instead just a flammable canister attached to floors or walls), improvements to player behavior and anti-cheat systems, and – as usual – a limited time event and addition to the arcade. The season is also making every type of weapon sight available for all primary weapons.
So far a release date has not been announced for Year 7, Season One, but traditionally Siege’s years begin in March, so expect more details on launch times in the coming weeks.
For more from Rainbow Six, check out the new Rick & Morty cosmetic bundles available for Siege, as well as our review for the latest game in the series, Rainbow Six Extraction.
Matt Purslow is IGN's UK News and Entertainment Writer.