next-generation update will arrive on December 1, and brings with it a variety of improvements and quality of life features that should help Siege feel at home on PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Chief among the upgrades, Siege on next-gen will support resolutions of up to 4K and frame rates of up to 120FPS. The update will, akin to many games, provide two modes for this. Talking to IGN, Mazen Elbawab, Software Project Lead on Rainbow Six Siege, said: “You can either favour the resolution of the game or the frame rate. If you favour frame rate we guarantee you playing at 120FPS at the highest resolution possible, versus if you favour resolution then the game renders at 4K with the highest frame rate possible.”
Elbawab noted that these options will be added to the menus if the game recognises that you have a 4K TV capable of 120Hz. If your TV is not capable of high refresh rates, then the console defaults to 4K 60FPS.
While the higher resolution and frame rate will make Siege look crisper and smoother, the game won’t technically look ‘better’. “There is a certain increase to some of the textures but I wouldn’t qualify it as highly noticeable,” said Elbawab. “The focus was really on the performance side.”
That means no high-resolution texture pack, and definitely no ray tracing. “The idea was to get as close as possible to the competitiveness of PC hardware, which is why we focused on getting up to 120FPS,” Elbawab explained. “There’s a balance to strike, and we thought for now using ray tracing would not benefit that competitiveness, which is why we focused on 120FPS.”
Similarly, the update will not make use of the dedicated audio hardware in the PS5 and Xbox Series X. But that’s not to say that focus has been purely on resolution and framerate; the game loads quicker thanks to next-gen SSD storage.
“We also added optimisations to the log-in flow, so the start of the game should be quicker than it was before on both generations,” said Elbawab. Note that he said “both generations”; PS4 and Xbox One versions should benefit from these optimisations, although won’t see the speedy load times the SSD provides.
Matchmaking is cross-generational, so PS5 players can play with PS4, and Xbox Series X with Xbox One players. Progress also comes with you, so there’s no need to start afresh. However, true cross-progression and cross-play across platforms is not yet on the agenda. “Cross-play is on the table, but nothing is confirmed. There’s no commitment to it,” Elbawab said. “Cross progression is not impossible, absolutely not, but it depends on priorities, it depends on what the community would want.”
That covers features coming to both new consoles, but the PS5 has specific features to make the most of its UI and DualSense controller. “We match the Activity Cards to the Playlists we have in the game, so Ranked, Unranked, Quick Match, Newcomers, and also Time Limited Events,” says Elbawab. “These will take you as fast as possible to matchmaking.”
“Adaptive triggers have a unique feeling for using weapons and gadgets,” he says. “There are custom presets for all the weapons and for some specific gadgets. Haptic feedback has ‘Compatibility’ mode for the regular rumble from the old controller, or audio-driven ‘Advanced’ mode, so you’ll have some actions within the game that the audio data itself is driving the rumble, so you have a better feeling for what’s going on.”
Elbawab gives an example of pistol triggers providing resistance to the half-way point and then suddenly releasing, which provides a sensation akin to real handguns. Explosions use audio data to power the controller’s haptics to help provide a better sense of immersion. The controller’s speaker is also used to play some “key moments” such as pings or HUD sound effects. All of these features can be disabled, should you feel they distract.
Rainbow Six Siege’s next-generation update will be available December 1. For more information on the upcoming season, check out our look at Operation Neon Dawn and its new operator, Aruni.