The upcoming release of Rainbow Six Extraction is intriguing in multiple ways. Obviously, that it's a cooperative first-person shooter a la Left 4 Dead is particularly exciting. However, also alluring is Rainbow Six Extraction's unique relationship with Rainbow Six Siege, as Siege's Operator protagonists will also be playable in Extraction. It seems that relationship is perhaps even deeper than implied, as it's now confirmed that Rainbow Six Extraction won't feature any new Operators of its own.
Speaking with The Loadout, Rainbow Six Extraction game director Patrik Méthé confirmed the limitation. Méthé explains that Rainbow Six Extraction will only feature Operators that already exist in Rainbow Six Siege. He states that the current roster of Rainbow Six Siege Operators that are already available make for "more than enough options," in order to "cover all the angles." It isn't exactly clear what covering all the angles means, but it's likely meant to imply that there isn't anything that they want to do that would require new Operators.
That doesn't mean that that the team at Ubisoft didn't consider adding new Operators, however. Méthé mentions discussing the possibility early on. He says that the team had "some discussion" but that they ultimately decided against it. The idea being that implementing existing Siege Operators into a PvE experience would be the "best way to add new layers of lore" and to "shine new light on them." In other words, Méthé sees it as a way to grow the existing story and lore from Rainbow Six Siege.
As the threat grows, our Operators rise to meet it. Their mission: learn about the enemy, stop its spread at all costs… and leave no one behind.— Rainbow Six Extraction (@R6Extraction) June 12, 2021
Oddly enough, however, Méthé reiterated that Rainbow Six Extraction won't expand on Rainbow Six Siege's canon, officially. Rainbow Six Extraction is an alternate universe story. It's a non-canon game, which allows Ubisoft to tell Extraction's sci-fi story without the implications of messing with what Rainbow Six Siege is doing. Still, that makes Méthé's comments about exploring Siege's Operator's lore someone odd.
There are a lot of clear benefits to using Siege's Operators that Méthé isn't explaining. It lets Ubisoft use Siege's already existing gameplay for Extraction, which dramatically cuts down the team's design and development time necessary. Picking a limited number of Operators from Siege's ever-growing roster also helps, or as Méthé describes, certain Operators were a "natural fit for this kind of setting."
The Rainbow Six Extraction team won't be copy/pasting Siege's Operators, however. While using Siege's Operators will make some things easier, the Extraction team will still be optimizing those Operators to the Extraction experience. Abilities will be altered and expanded, and the Operators will be seen in an entirely different way. Rainbow Six fans will see for themselves soon.
Rainbow Six Extraction releases September 16 on PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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