Ghost Recon and Rainbow are joining forces on July 24, when a special mission – dubbed Operation Archangel – arrives as part of Ghost Recon Wildlands‘ free Special Operation 2 update. Spanning two parts and set in the province of Caimanes, Operation Archangel will team the Ghosts with Rainbow Six Siege Operators Twitch and Valkyrie as they track down Caveira, who’s gone missing.
Like Special Operation 2, Operation Archangel is free to all Ghost Recon Wildlands players, and those who complete the mission before August 14 will earn Caveira’s gloves, enabling them to use her CQC move and reveal the positions of nearby enemies. Players will also be able to grab a Rainbow Six Gear Pack, which includes Caveira’s Luison handgun, Valkyrie’s shemagh scarf, Twitch’s skull balaclava, and a customizable HK 416 assault rifle.
In addition to Operation Archangel, Special Operation 2 adds Ghost Mode, a new way to tackle the PVE campaign. Featuring permadeath and a host of tweaks designed to create a more hardcore experience – including a new reloading mechanic that tosses out any bullets left in your clip if you swap in a new one – it’s ideal for players looking for a higher-risk challenge. Additionally, Special Operation 2 adds two new PVP maps and an Observer spectator mode to Ghost War, along with two new, Rainbow Six Siege-inspired PVP classes. Toxic, based on Rainbow’s Smoke, can deploy a drone that creates large clouds of toxic smoke; while Surgeon, based on Doc, carries a stim pistol that can revive teammates from a distance. For more details, check out our previous coverage of Special Operation 2.
With so much new stuff incoming, we spoke with Senior Producer Nouredine Abboud to find out how this crossover started, how Team Rainbow will change the game, and what else Special Operation 2 has to offer.
How did the Rainbow Six Siege collaboration start? How did you decide on the R6 Operators you wanted to use?
Nouredine Abboud: Year 2 of Ghost Recon Wildlands is the perfect opportunity for us to expand the universe of the game. We know that our community has a strong interest in Rainbow Six Siege, and the two universes are related in terms of gameplay tactics. We reached out to the Rainbow Six Siege team to see if they would be interested in a partnership, and today we are proud to release Special Operation 2!
How much back-and-forth is there with the Rainbow Six Siege team on the story and how these Operators should behave in Ghost Recon Wildlands?
NA: During the conception and the pre-production phases, we had daily conversations with the Rainbow Six Siege team to determine which Operators they wanted to include. We really wanted the Operators to be relevant to the story and the setting, but we also needed to make sure players have meaningful interactions with them.
What were some of the challenges of integrating characters from Team Rainbow into a game like Wildlands?
NA: The main challenge was to develop a storyline that is both thrilling and coherent. We wanted to provide references and gameplay moments that mix the best of both worlds, and we hope that the crossover will offer a new and exciting experience for players!
What’s the single most important piece of guidance you received from the Rainbow Six Siege team?
NA: One of the most important parts of creating this content was for us to get the behavior and the attitude of the Rainbow Six Siege Operators right. We want the fans to be able to instantly recognize them, while giving them the opportunity to discover more about their lore and story. This was a big point of focus in our discussions with the Rainbow Six Siege team.
How does this mission feature into R6’s overall lore? What will the players learn about these operators by playing this mission?
NA: In Operation Archangel, players will be tasked with tracking down Caveira in Bolivia, but she won’t be the only Operator making an appearance. The Ghosts will be helped by Valkyrie via radio communications, and will be joined by Twitch on the ground. We definitely do not want to spoil too much about the mission, but we hope both Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six Siege fans will find this new content exciting!
How will Caveira and Twitch’s individual gadgets and skills play into their mission?
NA: Players will be able to recognize signature moves and gadgets for both Caveira and Twitch, and will even be able to unlock Caveira’s famous CQC if they manage to finish the missions.
Ghost War will now have an Observer mode. How does it work? Is it just for downed allies in-game? Or friends? Or can anyone observe any match?
NA: A player can now join a custom lobby in a dedicated slot, and act as an observer of the match. They will have specific tools at hand that make the match more spectator-friendly, being able to see a player’s location, loadout, deployed items, and follow their point of view. Additionally, observers have access to a free-roam camera, allowing you to roam the battlefield. This is also a great tool for players who want to watch and organize tournaments!
What drove the decision to include full-body emotes and a victory screen?
NA: Through the main campaign and the Ghost War PVP mode, we have seen that communicating and interacting with friends and other players are very important parts of our game. Emotes and voice lines will give players the opportunity to express themselves even more, while the Ghost War victory screen will be the perfect moment to display their own customization.
How can players earn the Caveira Gloves?
NA: Players can earn Caveira Gloves after completing Operation Archangel. When wearing the gloves, players will perform Caveira’s iconic CQC, and automatically unlock the position of all enemies in the vicinity.
What will the Toxic and Surgeon classes add to Ghost Mode? How do their abilities work?
NA: Toxic and Surgeon are directly inspired by Rainbow Six Siege’s Smoke and Doc. Toxic uses his drone to deploy a large cloud of toxic smoke, which allows players to both trap the enemy team and create area denials. Surgeon uses his Stim Pistol to be able to revive his team from a distance, creating new opportunities to deploy support strategies at medium range.
How will players earn proximity mines in PVE? Do you see them as a potential game-changer in the way that Ghosts approach enemy compounds? What are their limitations?
NA: Proximity Mines will be unlocked for all players as soon as they download the Special Operation 2 update. They are accessible as a tool, just like grenades or mines. These mines will definitely provide players with new ways to take down the Santa Blanca cartel, as their versatility allows them to be used in more situations than the normal mines. However, their explosive power is also lower, something that players will need to keep in mind.
Where did the idea for Ghost Mode come from? Has the community been asking for a steeper challenge?
NA:We have seen a lot of requests from the community to provide a way to re-discover the main campaign under a new light: this is what led us to develop Ghost Mode. With thrilling new conditions including permadeath, friendly-fire, and a unique primary weapon, we think this new mode will require players to adapt their playstyles to each situation a lot more than before. Reaching El Sueño will definitely be a challenge, and we hope players will have fun along the way.
What do you hope to learn from how players engage with Ghost Mode?
NA: Ghost Mode is a new experiment for the Ghost Recon team, and we are excited to see the reactions of the community when it goes live. We know our players can be resilient, as some have already achieved a Tier 1 ranking, unlocking the hardest difficulty level. Now, we cannot wait to see how players will adapt to the new conditions of the Ghost Mode, whether they’re playing it in Tier 1 mode or any of the other difficulty modes.
Ghost Recon Wildlands has become famous for doing these crossovers – first with Predator, then Sam Fisher, now Rainbow Six Siege. Can we expect to see more?
NA: It has been very exciting to expand the Ghost Recon universe during these past few months. We definitely have more ideas in mind, and depending on the feedback from the community, we will see how we keep on developing the Ghost Recon universe.
How does all this reflect how Ubisoft’s listens to its communities?
NA: Our community truly is at the heart of everything we do during Year 2 of Ghost Recon Wildlands. We have been lucky to get a lot of feedback on the game, which allows us to keep on fine-tuning it and adding to it in a way that satisfies the community. The Special Operation updates allow us to address community wants like the teammate customization option in Special Operation 1, or the Ghost Mode in Special Operation 2. We’re excited to keep delivering new and exciting content to our engaged community.