Rainbow Six Siege goes covert with its next seasonal update, cooking up an ambitious Splinter Cell crossover.

Ubisoft soon embarks on the third quarter of Year 5 for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, ushering in a time of change for the hit tactical shooter. With over 60 million players and counting, philosophies have shifted, transitioning to one new Operator per season in favor of broader gameplay features. And for Rainbow Six Siege’s next update, Year 5 Season 3, the squad of counterterrorism elites joins forces with Splinter Cell for a new event.

Here’s everything we know about the next season of Rainbow Six Siege, including new Operator Scout, and the Chalet map rework.

Breach and Clear

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

Addictive, challenging shooter action

$22 at Amazon
$30 at Best Buy
$10 at Microsoft

Ubisoft’s hit shooter is hotter than ever, touting tense tactical gameplay, and regular free updates. Powering through 2020 with millions of players, Rainbow Six isn’t slowing down.

Rainbow Six Siege Year 5 Season 3 release date

Ubisoft hasn’t discussed when Year 5 Season 3 will hit Rainbow Six Siege, yet consistent scheduling provides an estimated window for the upcoming season. The developer has established a steady cadence with its tri-monthly refreshes, putting its next update on track for a mid-August tell-all, followed by September availability on live servers.

However, Ubisoft, like any modern studio, continues to overcome hurdles posed by current world events, and working from home. That brings evolving challenges when creating and testing content, previously pushing Ping 2.0 and Match Replay later into Year 5.

With Rainbow Six Siege reveals often occurring midway the month, an August 16 unveiling appears feasible, or potentially extending to August 17. That would indicate likely a September 8 release date on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC live servers — or September 15 if Test Server (TS) trials extend an additional week, like Operation Steel Wave.

Rainbow Six Siege Splinter Cell crossover

Rainbow Six Siege’s Covert skin set for Jager, previously available for purchase as a Splinter Cell tie-in.

Rainbow Six Siege Year 5 Season 3 marks a notable departure from Ubisoft’s established seasonal structure, previously adhering to a strict template of two new Operators, coupled with a multiplayer map. First unveiled at the Six Invitational 2020 in February, future expansions house just one Operator, as focus shifts toward “core gameplay features.” That includes systems slated for Year 5, including the revamped Ping system and Match Replay modes, while freeing resources for reworks like Tachanka.

Year 5 Season 3 marks our first season spotlighting a solo recruit, previously teased via the Year 5 content roadmap, and decorated with a mysterious “Classified” annotation. The Nighthaven emblem occupies the spot, referencing the game’s covert private military organization, home to Kali, Wamai — and new Steel Wave hard breacher, Ace.

Rainbow Six Siege’s Nighthaven organization now plays a reduced role in Year 5 Season 3.

However, Rainbow Six Siege product director, Roy Del Valle states that direct Nighthaven tie no longer applies, speaking to Windows Central in February 2020.

“[The Nighthaven logo] shouldn’t be there. We’ve been working on the narrative and looking at what we want to do,” Del Valle stated. “And as of late, the last two weeks or something, we tweaked some things on the narrative that you’ll discover, and you’ll be very happy with, that does not necessarily strictly link to Nighthaven. But the arrival of Nighthaven is an event on Rainbow, and it will shape some of the stories that are happening behind the scenes.”

The elimination of Nighthaven supports speculation of a Splinter Cell-themed season, linking to the sister Tom Clancy stealth series. While the last Splinter Cell entry dropped back in 2013, protagonist Sam Fisher has made recent appearances in both Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, and Ghost Recon Breakpoint. For Rainbow Six Siege, leaked gameplay footage, data-mined references, and more suggest a similar crossover brewing.

Rainbow Six Siege Echelon Operator Leak: Scout

Ubisoft remains tight on details surrounding its new Operator for Year 5 Season 3, while already establishing a mysterious persona through its content roadmap. That leaves a majority of context riding exclusively on reputable leaks and data-mined references uncovered through game files.

The team behind Rainbow Six Siege has struggled to contain leaks in recent years, and the upcoming Splinter Cell-themed season is no exception. Our most reputable comes via Rainbow Six leakster Kormora, with a proven track record in seasonal exposés throughout Year 4 and Year 5. The ResetEra user backs theories of “a crossover with a well known [Ubisoft] franchise,” although unable to confirm if Fisher features. They also state his gadgetry deploys “some sort of drilled camera that sees through walls,” alluding to a hybrid between Kali’s underslung launcher and Valkyrie cameras.

The crossover’s existence is backed by references to future Operator counterterrorism units (CTUs) pulled via game files, including the Echelon agency at the center of the Splinter Cell program. One string, “Operator.Y5S3.Scout – ECH,” was flagged by /u/Zer0Bytes on Reddit, suggesting the codename “Scout.”

This appears to be the next Rainbow Six Siege Operator, Scout, hailing from Splinter Cell’s iconic Echelon agency.

That leads to the weirdest of leaks, with over 15 minutes of gameplay footage surfacing online, via Gamer Felonies on YouTube. The shaky camera footage appears to showcase an internal Ubisoft build, including Year 5 Season 3 and Season 4 Operators. That includes confirmation of Echelon’s “Scout” and an early glimpse of his loadout in action.

The footage is near-unwatchable, making it hard to pull discernible information from the build. But the Operator featured appears to back up references to launchable drill cameras, with a unique green-tinted view screaming Splinter Cell. The Operator also seems to utilize the SC3000, a fictional assault rifle synonymous with Third Echelon, and new to the Rainbow Six arsenal. That’s coupled with the optional MP7 primary and 5.7 USG handgun in the holster, returning from existing talent.

Scout’s launcher gadget looks to drill cameras through walls, carving a fresh intelligence role.

We may also know Scout’s appearance, after one user uncovered an unidentified character model, via the recent Operation Steel Wave TS client on PC. That’s the same character model seen in the leaked gameplay, albeit with lesser clarity.

While Ubisoft is yet to tease a collaboration with the Splinter Cell franchise, a steady stream of details leaves its existence incredibly likely. However, as with any unconfirmed content, we recommend taking such information lightly, as plans can and will change. We’ll hopefully hear more later this summer, alongside the full reveal of Year 5 Season 3.

For those with the upcoming Year 5 Pass or Uplay+ membership, Scout will be available at no additional cost with the launch of the latest season. He’ll later open to the public using Renown or R6 Credits, seven days after release.

Rainbow Six Siege Skyscraper Map Rework

Rainbow Six Siege Year 5 Season 3 drops the Skyscraper rework, breathing new life into the towering Japanese locale. The map first made its arrival in late 2016 with Operation Red Crow, designed to push vertical gameplay with its multi-story complex. But that philosophy is also the root of several long-standing player frustrations, including countless exterior windows and balconies, and tight chokepoints across each floor.

As with past map reworks, Season 3 looks to inject a new visual palette throughout, coupled with minor floorplan tweaks. Rainbow Six Siege product director, Roy Del Valle, reflected on some changes in the works, speaking during the Year 5 reveal in February 2020. “We’re going to tackle that chokepoint that is drum room,” stated Del Valle. “We’re also going to be tackling balconies. We’re going to force the entrance into the building [a little bit more].”

Like all Rainbow Six updates, access to the new Skyscraper will be free to all players regardless of owning the Year 5 Pass, and widely available on launch day.

Breach and Clear

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

Addictive, challenging shooter action

$22 at Amazon
$30 at Best Buy
$10 at Microsoft

Ubisoft’s hit shooter is hotter than ever, touting tense tactical gameplay, and regular free updates. Powering through 2020 with millions of players, Rainbow Six isn’t slowing down.