‘Rainbow Six Siege’: The Case for a Kanal Remake

Nathan Lawrence
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A remake of Hereford Base, rebuilt from the ground up, recently landed as part of Rainbow Six Siege’s Operation Grim Sky. Ubisoft Montreal has said it won’t be the last map remake. In fact, it’s working on another one right now.

With so many maps out of rotation in the Pro League, it begs the question: which one is next? Recent changes to the bombsite rotation – which now mean a successful defence of a site rules it out for reselection for the next two defensive rounds – have necessitated a tighter map pool. This currently consists of Bank, Border, Coastline, Consulate, reworked Clubhouse, Oregon, and Villa — all of which have four bombsites.

Given that maps are banned in Pro League, too, this feels a little light. Ubisoft Montreal already hopes that Hereford Base 2.0 will eventually join the Pro League, and the same is true of the competitive viability of whatever map it’s remaking next. Here’s why Kanal is a smart choice for the next Siege map to receive the ground-up remake treatment.

Kanal’s 1st-Gen Map Design

The launch batch of Siege maps had plenty of flawed options, particularly in terms of competitive viability. Hereford Base was the first Siege map made by Ubisoft Montreal, which is likely why it received the first lot of love.

Yacht and Presidential Plane are hard sells, most notably because of their narrow design and lack of horizontality, even if lead map designer Jeremy Dowsett thinks they could potentially be revamped.

“Plane is one of those maps that, give me a year and an unlimited supply of beer, I could probably make it competitive. I don’t think Plane would ever go Pro. You could tweak it. You could add more verticality to it, but because you’re basically playing in a tube, it’s one of those maps that I don’t think would ever make it. Same for maybe Yacht.”

A shot of the connecting bridge in Kanal.
The lack of rotation between buildings makes your head spin.

In terms of launch maps, that just leaves House, Chalet, Kafe Dostoyevsky and Kanal. The reason launch maps are more likely to be priorities is the newer multiplayer maps Favela, Skyscraper, Theme Park, and Tower have all been created with post-launch learnings and all feature four bombsites. They also include a bigger emphasis on verticality and improved destructibility. This means they’re more likely to receive buffs than rebuilds.

The Siege Pro Perspective

Fnatic’s coach Jayden “Dizzle” Saunders suggests that the issues with Kanal extend beyond mere minor changes. “The issue with Kanal is that it isn’t imbalanced in one way or another. The entire map is flawed on both attack and defence; it requires a multi-faceted rework to increase its competitive integrity.

“There are several reasons it is deemed non-competitive. There is only one set of stairs in either building and only one path connecting those buildings. This makes it too easy to cut off any rotations.

A red circle around the bridge connecting the two buildings in Kanal.
The dreaded red circle shows a big old chokepoint.

“On the defensive side, there are too many windows and long lines of sight making it extremely difficult to even leave the spawn area [as an attacker]. To leave spawn, you need to walk into a line of sight and cover half a dozen windows at least. Guess wrong or [if there are] multiple spawn peeks and it is impossible.

“Also, the number of windows and doors that can be used to leave the area for defenders makes it impossible to use enough Claymores or cover with an operator. [There’s also a] lack of decent walls to use for Mira’s [Black Mirrors], rotation and cover that can be used safely without being cut off from aforementioned windows and lines.”

Hypothetical Kanal Changes

Dowsett agrees with Dizzle in terms of one of the bigger issues with the problematic launch map. “Kanal is a really interesting map because you have that bridge and the two buildings that are split. I really like the map. But if I look at it purely from a design point of view, the rotation options because of that tunnel [that connects the buildings] are severely limited.

Red circles around all of the potential spawn-peeking points on Kanal.
As an attacker, if you don't cover all this red, you're dead.

“That’s the problem with that map: the rotation options. Trying to go from one point to the other, rotate around off the bombsites, is super hard.”

He has some hypothetical solutions for a rework, though. “Obviously, if you’re going to go through and rework Kanal, you want to keep the Kanal flavour, which is the tunnel on that one side. You don’t want to take away from that flavour because it is really unique.

“If that map was going to get reworked, then it’s something you’d obviously have to look at. There’s a particular flavour to every map. You couldn’t rework Plane and not make it an aeroplane. But with Kanal, you’d definitely have to look at adding the viability of more rotations, maybe more stairs, maybe a tunnel under the ground or something. You’d have to look at that and then go through and look at the verticality as well.”

A red circle around the only staircase to and from the basement on Kanal.
There's only one way in or out of the basement for defenders, too.

Four-Leaf Exploder

Kanal is also flawed in other ways. There are only three bombsites in a competitive meta that necessitates four. The overall map feels too big because of the two buildings. And attackers have external rotation options that defenders don’t have without being automatically marked after two seconds of being outside.

With a size reduction, more internal rotation options, improved destructibility and, subsequently, fewer chokepoints, a rebuilt Kanal could well re-enter Siege’s competitive map pool and, more importantly to the majority of Siege’s player base, provide a map that’s better balanced for all skill levels.

Nathan Lawrence
Nathan is a full-time freelance frag-loving games critic who loves shooters.
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