This season will see just a single new operator release and a map rework, rather than an entirely new one, as Ubisoft aims to scale back its output in this regard. In exchange, a number of huge new gameplay changes have been introduced to change the way to game is played at a more fundamental level.
- New Attack Operator -- Sam "Zero" Fisher
- New Attacker Gadget -- the Hard Breach Charge
- New Map Rework -- Chalet
- Gameplay Changes
- New Cosmetics
New Attack Operator: Sam "Zero" Fisher
The legendary protagonist of one of Ubisoft's most famous games series, Splinter Cell, will join Team Rainbow this season under the moniker of "Zero". Sam's addition comes as the first member of the new "Rainbow Operations Staff" (ROS) CTU and acts as the first playable appearance of the character since 2013's Splinter Cell: Blacklist, with him only appearing since as a DLC character in both 2018's Ghost Recon: Wildlands and this year in Ghost Recon: Breakpoint.
The two-armour, two-speed character will be equipped with the primary gadget of the "Argus Launcher", which launches four two-way drill cameras which stick to and pierce all soft and reinforced walls, with Zero then able to rotate the camera through to the other side of the wall. Each camera is equipped with one laser charge, usable to deal damages to Defenders or destroy gadgets such as Shock Wires or ADS Magpie devices.
The gadgets make a distinctive sound and can be killed by a single bullet, the electric of a Bandit and Kaid or disrupted by Mute's Jammer, Jager's ADS and Mozzie's Pests.
Zero comes with the SC3000K Assault Rifle -- the first new weapon to be introduced since Kali's CSRX 300 during Operation Shifting Tides last December -- as well as Bandit's MP7 Submachine Gun as primary weapon options. For secondaries, meanwhile, the lone option is the 5.7 USG Handgun (with a built-in suppressor) used by the FBI, as well as Nøkk.
Zero will also be the very first operator to come with a unique melee weapon, the Karambit, which is a small claw-like knife usually seen in Indonesia. The Karambit will, however, only be a visual modification and will not have any additional gameplay-level changes.
Finally, for secondary gadgets, Zero has the choice between Grenades or Claymores, a combination not seen on any other operator to date.
New Attacker Gadget: Hard Breach Charge
Also coming to the attackers is a hard breaching gadget which will likely be the most meta-changing addition to the game this season. These gadgets will be available to a number of attackers and, after a five-second activation time, will create a small round hole in both soft and reinforced walls.
This may eliminate the need to run multiple hard breaches on certain sites and, along with last season's edition of Ace, should help buff the attacking side further. It is currently unknown whether the gadget will be restricted from competitive play for three months like Ace and Kali were.
Map Rework: Chalet
Also coming this season is an all-encompassing rework of the French map of Chalet, one of only three launch maps which currently remains unchanged, alongside Bank and Presidential Plane. The changes to the map see almost every part of the map get opened up, the Trophy objective is replaced by a new Kitchen site and the roof open up for attackers.
Repels have been added across the maps allowing further lines of sight from the roof. The basement has been left largely intact with a single new hallway added between Blue and the Cellar and an extra window added looking over the Garage Wall.
Also announced at the 2020 Six Invitational panel and now ready to be released is the Ping 2.0 system, which allows both attackers and defenders to ping gadgets to highlight them on their teammates HUDs. This is particularly useful for those playing without a microphone, but could also help clear up communication in ranked and competitive play.
Map bans will be introduced into the Ranked and Unranked game modes. Before each game's operator ban phase, both teams will be offered three maps to choose from, with each team simultaneously banning one map, leaving the third map to be played. Should both teams ban the same map, then the game will randomly select out of the remaining two options.
Thatcher EMPs will now disable all gadgets, not destroy them. This has a major effect on Bandit tricking as a Bandit's charges now can be picked back up after an EMP goes off. This also acts as a buff for Kali who will continue to destroy rather than disable gadgets in its range.
Each team will now have a combined pool of 10 reinforcements, rather than a minimum and maximum of two for each operator. This long-requested feature allows operators with longer site setups to leave the job of reinforcing to those staying on-site with shorter setups, such as Pulse or Bandit. As well as further streamlining setups in a competitive scene, this also helps lower level Casual and Ranked teams to ensure all reinforcements are placed no matter the actions of individual players.
As well as this, all rooftop hatches will be reinforced by default. This may be changed back depending on feedback.
While only available on the Test Server as of now, this will record your most recent games allowing you to watch them back from anyone's point of view similar to that of a spectator's camera during Custom Games.
New sights at magnifications of 1.5x and 2x have been introduced and the ACOG and 3x zoom have been modified with a large number of guns having their sight options changed.
New attachment skins will be released this season to add to the three default and one Battlepass skin already available. As well as this, site colours have been added allowing you to change it to any colour of your choice as well as offering more colour-blind modes, and opacity options.
These changes will be live on the Technical Test Server tomorrow, on the 18th of August, available to be downloaded by all. Check back here at SiegeGG for full coverage of the rest of the mini-major, as well as Operation Shadow Legacy when it launches in a few weeks' time.