Rainbow Six

Rainbow 6 devs reveal how many operators they have in development

by Andrew Amos
Ubisoft

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With the release of Oryx and Iana in Operation Void Edge, and plenty more operators in the pipeline, the developers of Rainbow 6 have opened up on just how many prototypes they are working on for Year 5 and beyond.

There’s over 50 operators in Rainbow 6, with each one bringing a unique mechanic to the tactical FPS. From cameras and special drones, to breach tools and full-on destruction, every character has their quirk.

The newest set of operators in Operation Void Edge, Iana and Oryx, have brought a new way to drone and break through walls, and are just two of a few characters Ubisoft has stored “in the fridge.”

Iana in Rainbow 6
Iana in Rainbow 6
Iana was Rainbow 6's 54th operator, coming out of the "fridge" for Operation Void Edge.

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The development of Rainbow 6’s characters doesn’t just take place overnight, with plenty of ideas being brainstormed and prototyped on a daily basis behind the scenes. However, not all this information is shared with players said Alex Karpazis, Art Production Director for Rainbow 6, in an interview with Dexerto.

“We have like this fridge, and we put a lot of operator ideas in this fridge that aren’t quite ready to join the main roster,” said Karpazis. “We have quite a few operators in there that I’m super excited about.”

While he didn’t open up about the concepts the developers have waiting for players, they are constantly thinking about how the new operators will fit, or shake up, the meta.

“It’s all about timing whether they fit, do they shake up the meta enough right now, do they compliment something that’s happening in the meta,” he said.

Rainbow 6 operators lining up
Ubisoft
There's over 50 operators in Rainbow 6, with plenty more on the way with some interesting concepts to surprise players according to Karpazis.

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They don’t often get the meta right though, according to Jean-Baptiste Halle, the game’s lead gameplay designer, with some operators becoming obsolete after they are fleshed out from prototype to full forms.

“Every time we make a prediction [about an operator’s place in the meta], we’re wrong,” he said. “When we start building the prototype and have everything in mind, we are almost nine months ahead, so it’s super hard to know what will happen.

“When we did Warden, we did him with the intention of countering the smoke-flash meta, and this meta didn’t exist anymore once he came out.”

Warden in Rainbow 6
Ubisoft
While meta is a big factor in turning prototypes into live characters, sometimes Ubisoft miss the mark, like they did with Warden.

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As for how many operators Ubisoft plan to release for Rainbow 6, 100 has always been the goal, and there’s more than enough concepts left in the fridge for them to hit their goals.

“Every season, our operator cell works on at least four operator concepts, so they only ship two right now,” said Karpazis. “We put four into the fridge and only pull out two to work on, so we build two operators that we save for later.

“They’re prototyped ⁠– we know what we want them to do ⁠– but it takes a lot of polish to go from prototype to live.”

With six operators planned for Year 5, and an additional four planned for Year 6, it might be a few years until Ubisoft can realise their goals for Rainbow 6. But, they’ve got it all planned out, and players just have to wait and see for what they’ve got in store.