Rainbow Six Extraction Interview - How Ubisoft Built Upon Outbreak’s Foundations

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It’s been two years since that initial reveal but Rainbow Six Extraction has finally arrived, marking Ubisoft’s latest Tom Clancy entry. Bringing us PVE gameplay, this time we're fighting a new alien threat called Archæans.

The game differs significantly from its predecessor, Siege, which focused on PVP combat instead. Building upon Siege’s Outbreak event into a standalone experience, it’s out this week and, so far, we've had positive impressions.

Wanting to learn more, Gfinity reached out for an interview with Ubisoft directly. Speaking to Extraction’s creative director, Patrik Méthé, they were kind enough to answer our questions.

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Diving into Extraction's origins, we started by asking how it differs from Siege. Méthé doesn’t put too much weight into Outbreak comparisons, calling Extraction “a fully autonomous game, whereas Outbreak was a three-week event.” Instead, the team “wanted to create a co-op oriented PVE game in the Rainbow 6 universe,” one that “brings the genre to another level" through the alien threat.

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It's not particularly story-driven either, though, over time, players can unlock CODEX entries that explain what’s going on. Specifically, Méthé states:

As for the story, without spoiling anything, a new unknown alien threat is appearing in different regions of the USA. A group of operators is hand-picked to be the first line of defence and to go in containment areas to gather intel on the threat.
The more the operators know about the enemy, the better they can fight it. However, the parasite is evolving too, so be ready for some nasty surprises and lore snippets along the way.
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For Siege fans, you're likely wondering what's familiar and where things differs. Méthé describes Extraction as a “what if” R6 universe, retaining familiar operators that kept Rainbow Six's “gameplay essence” intact but with altered abilities. Accordingly, the game includes “access dozens of different weapons and a whole array of well-known and new gadgets” for new combinations.

Given its predecessor's more realistic focus, we then moved into why Ubisoft chose an alien threat. Méthé confirmed the team felt that fighting aliens “would give us the opportunity to offer a wider variety of challenges for players, than if they were fighting normal human AI.” He attributes this to their various mutations, allowing the team to get creative.

While it’s still a tactical shooter, Extraction undeniably touches upon a horror-esque aesthetic, as seen in the trailer. Méthé promises that there’s no deliberate jump scares, though he admits that during playtests, “players will certainly experience their fair share of ‘scary moments,” putting this down to “the very nature of the threat.”

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He also confirmed Archæans map position is procedurally generated, meaning you’ll never know who’s waiting around the corner. Similarly, we also queried how level design has changed, considering maps are “roughly” three times bigger than Siege's. Méthé revealed that while Extraction has us fighting “dozens and dozens” more enemies, an efficient team can prevent reinforcements from reaching them.

So, with the release finally upon us, we then asked about Ubisoft’s future plans for Extraction, and Méthé confirmed that the team has got a “very generous post-launch plan”. His full statement said:

We have a very generous post-launch plan that includes new activities, new game modes, new enemy archetypes (remember, the parasite is always evolving), and new operators. The good news is that all this new content will be free.
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There is also the end game mode, Maelstrom Protocol, that will keep players very busy in terms of trying to complete it/achieve the top-class scores within it. It too will have rotating Operator rosters and maps associated with it.
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Sadly, these plans don’t include split-screen multiplayer. Telling us that “it would be fun to have it,” Méthé informed us that Extraction’s “already pushing the consoles to the limit” due to a high enemy count and special effects on-screen. Finally, regarding performance, Méthé clarified that Extraction runs at 120 FPS on high-end PCs. However, consoles won’t see this, hitting 60 FPS on current-gen consoles but dropping to 30 FPS on last-gen machines.

Rainbow Six Extraction releases on January 20, 2022 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Game Pass, Stadia and Luna. We’ve got the full launch details here. And if you’re already playing it, check out our full guides coverage too for some extra help.