After four years, one of three maps to have always been in the competitive rotation, Bank, will be removed in favour of the newly reworked Theme Park when Season 11 of the Pro League resumes on the 18th of March.
The maps of Bank, Clubhouse (pre and post-rework), and Consulate have been in the competitive map pool since Season 1, meaning that as fan favourites such as Oregon have left and maps like Border have entered competitive play, these three maps have had the greatest presence in R6 esports history. Furthermore, with Clubhouse's rework back in June 2018, and Consulate's map buff in September 2018, this leave's Bank as the sole one with no changes since the game's launch in 2015.
While the map has seen a number of meta shifts over the last four years, the basement Locker/CCTV objective has remained one of the most well-practised sites in the game and is seen as somewhat stale, like Oregon's Laundry/Supply Room objective before it was reworked. As well as this, the introduction of Kali into the competitive operator pool this month also means that the second-floor CEO/Lounge objective would likely become attacker-favoured as the defenders would theoretically be completely restricted from traversing on almost all of the second floor.
Replacing the old staple of Bank comes the new-look Theme Park. It was released in September 2017 and then reworked in December 2019 as last season's map release, but is still not very much favoured. While the initial release saw most of the map area remain unused when played and drew comparisons with Bank regarding its size, the rework aimed to fix this by stripping out the middle train section, replacing the Haunted House area of the map with a much more open Throne Room, and removing a number of runouts, spawnpeeks, and long angles.
When the newly designed Theme Park was initially announced during the Operation Shifting Tides panel, it was stated that it had been "thoroughly reworked for balance and better competition", possibly hinting that the change had professional play in mind back then.
Here's what Patrick “MentalistC” Fan from Fnatic, Lukas “korey” Zwingmann from Rogue, and Marlon “Twister” Mello from FaZe Clan thought about the reworked map three months ago:
It's certainly better than the old Theme Park, but it suffers from minor but annoying issues that make it annoying to play. Such as a (still) monotone colour scheme indoors, angle cluttering, and too many unneeded rooms and trivial hiding spots. In pro play, it will suffer the same issue as old Hereford in a way because of the low amount of vertical gameplay and linear design of the map and bomb sites.
Currently, my experience with Theme Park has been… disappointing to say the least. It is another absolutely defender-sided map just like the last three introduced maps (Kafe/Kanal/Villa etc). I don't see it replacing any map other than any already defender-sided map such as Villa and Kafe, which will only be harder to attack in the upcoming seasons.
I believe the map shows us a lot of new opportunities to play it, and for me, it would be a good addition to the map pool if we have some time to study it more, but I believe that there are other maps that could be in the competitive rotation. In my opinion, Bank, Consulate, and Border are maps that could change in the current map pool.
While opinions may have changed in the months since, this is likely to be a fairly unpopular change, with Border instead being eyed for replacement by most pros and the reworked Oregon championed as the incoming map. Here's how some professional players have reacted to the announcement:
Team Liquid's coach, André "Sensi" Kaneyasu:
Did I like that bank was removed? No. Would you have better options? For me, yes. Did I like that Theme Park was inserted? Yes. Was that Ubisoft's fault or ESL? Definitely not, it was all player feedback and the most voted out.
I'm so glad bank is gone, never liked that map
And his teammate, Luke "Kendrew" Kendrew:
Its interesting to scrim on and it definitely has some potential
And his teammate of Matthew "meepeY" Sharples:
Theme Park is a good comp map imo. Will be interesting to see how it plays out. It will become a much better ranked map for it too
Still insane to me BANK was removed for theme park, probably the most BALANCED map instead of coastline, border or even villa. Questionable.
Don't fully agree on Bank being removed over both Border and coastline but I personally enjoy playing Theme Park :)
Take out villa or border and bring back BANK!! Thank you
I know people aren’t super stoked about Theme Park but personally I think Bank would have sucked with Kali.
Fnatic's player of Patrick "MentalistC" Fan:
And Giant Gaming's coach of Ellis "GiG" Hindle:
The Pro League caster of Parker "Interro" Mackay:
A part of a four Tweet chain about the map by Ghassan "Milosh" Finge:
The North American caster of Samuel "Stoax" Stewart:
The North American caster of Christopher "Uzumaki" Valdez:
Nevertheless, Theme Park will likely make it's Pro League debut in the coming weeks, and with no map rework scheduled for Bank in Year 5, it is unlikely we will see it return any time soon. With that in mind let's take a quick look at some of the map's highlights over the last four years of Rainbow Six Esports:
- Continuum vs Playing Ducks 1v1 to win North America's first and only Pro League title:
- APAC's very first map played at a Pro League Finals:
- G2's title-winning map at the 2019 Six Invitational:
- SSG's title-winning map at the 2020 Six Invitational:
For further updates on R6 Esports as they are announced keep an eye out here at SiegeGG.