Formally revealed at the Six Major in Raleigh, North Carolina, Operation: Ember Rise brings a ton of new content to Rainbow Six Siege. This includes two new Operators, the Kanal map rework, a new Ranked system, and the introduction of the Battle Pass. After speaking with the Rainbow Six Siege Presentation Director Alex Karpazis, it is clear that this is one of the more unique and fun additions to come to the game.
Operation: Ember Rise introduces the attack Operator Amaru and defense Operator Goyo. Each one of these Operators brings a new ability that can potentially shake up the meta. In the case of Amaru, she is especially unique as the first Operator to have a mobility-focused ability with the Garra Hook.
When you first see the ability in action, it almost seems game-breaking. It is an entirely new way to infiltrate the defense that is fast-paced and reckless, the complete opposite characteristics of what you normally associate with Rainbow Six Siege. As Karpazis explains creating an Operator like Amaru, it is clear that her role in the game is to really shake up the flow of a match.
“She definitely changes the flow for sure, and that was the intention with her. We never had a gadget that didn’t really fit in a role. This is something that was new and it dealt with mobility,” Karpazis begins to explain. “This is all the way back in Year 3 Season 3, we had this idea and the original code name was Attack on Titan. But it really was to challenge how you approach objectives in terms of mobility.”
With such a game-changing character with such high-mobility, it begs the question: How did this affect map design? Operation: Ember Rise also brings a reworked Kanal map which is a great environment to showcase Amaru’s Garra Hook. But what about all the previous maps? It turns out that all the maps have received little tweaks to adhere to this new traversal tool.
“It was really a collaboration between character design and map design from the beginning, and that was from a global perspective,” says Karpazis. “Making sure that everything felt natural, that she could attach to ledges and windows. There are some little tweaks not only to Kanal but all of the maps.”
As one would expect, bringing in new Operators, regardless of how wild their abilities are, require some balancing to maintain the game’s competitive spirit. The new Operators need to have some kind of utility as a counter to pre-existing Operators but need to be countered so they aren’t broken. When it comes to Amaru, she is actually less about countering certain Operators, and more about being the “wild card” and shaking up the flow of the match. This is what Karpazis believes is her strength, as well as good counters against her:
“Well, Amaru doesn’t really counter anyone right now. She shakes things up. So, that’s her counter. The hard counter for her is Castle. She doesn’t break a Castle barricade. You need to have somebody on your team, either an Ash or someone who can destroy it, so she can reach those places. Or, if you bring the breach charge, she can use a breach charge on them but really slows you down and defeats the purpose. Also, trap Operators are great. If you’re laying traps on the windows that she is known to go up or maybe lay some traps around hatches you know she may try to jump up, that’s a great counter as well. Especially if the other team is not droning for it and Amaru is on her own.”
For Goyo, the new defense Operator, his ability is more traditional than Amaru. He can deploy several Volcan Shields, a deployable shield with an incendiary bomb on the back of it. When that red canister on the shield is destroyed, the shield also melts leaving the surrounding area engulfed in flames. Goyo is good at closing the gap between you and your opponent, but also has some hard counters you should look out for if you plan on playing as him.
“The best kind of counters are those that use the least amount of utility to trade it out. You want to deal with a Goyo shield as soon as possible,” says Karpazis. “So, once you drone and find out it’s a legit Goyo shield — not just a standard deployable shield — you want to either get line-of-sight from above or below so you can trigger it just with a bullet or maybe you can trade it out with Ash or Zofia’s ability at a range that can be quickly traded.”
You may have noticed that these two Operators have some inherent flaws that may seem offputting for those looking for new Operators to try out in Ranked. With Goyo’s easily disposable Volcan Shield and Amaru’s vulnerability when using the Garra Hook, they don’t seem like favorable picks in a competitive setting. Karpazis does assure that balancing the characters for competitive play was definitely in mind when designing Goya and Amaru.
“We bring in the pros and see what they’re feeling with how they play with them. And you see that with Amaru where, usually, 70 percent of the time, when she is jumping onto site out of nowhere and someone is there, she will lose that. This is because you can hear her coming, the time it takes for her to pull out her weapon is significant enough that there is that balance to allow defenders to deal with her.
When we’re talking about Goyo, we’re talking about an Operator that is kind of like Smoke; he is an alternative to Smoke but his shield can be detonated by anyone. For his own team, there is a lot of flexibility on how you share responsibilities. On the attacking team, they have a few more options to deal with Goyo’s than with Smoke. So, there is some inherent balancing there.”
Rainbow Six Siege Operation: Ember Rise will launch publicly soon. You can check out our preview to see what we thought of the new Operators and the reworked map.
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