North Star is almost upon us, and with it will come Thunderbird, the newest addition to Team Rainbow in Rainbow Six Siege.
She’s a three-speed, one-armor defender with a healing gadget, the Kona Healing Station. Thunderbird hails from the Nakoda First Nation.
Beware, though—the Kona Healing Station won’t just heal players on your team. It’ll heal any opposition that runs into its radius as well. The Healing Station is set in a stationary spot, and once it dispenses a healing orb, it has a significant cooldown until it can heal again. The Healing Station will also overheal players, so be careful—you don’t want to waste valuable utility too early in the round.
“A lot about Thunderbird is unique for us this season,” Ubisoft art director Alexander Karpazis said. Karpazis says through the process of learning more about indigenous communities, the team casted an actress for Thunderbird that came from a Nakoda background, Sera-Lys McArthur. The emblems on her jacket, her symbols, even down to the four-line tattoos on her chin are meant as homages to the First Nations.
“It was a huge collaborative effort, and this was one of the longest dev periods [for an operator] ever, to sink on the design of the character,” Karpazis said.
Thunderbird will wield the Spear .308 and the SPAS-12 as primary weapons, and will have the choice between the Bearing-9 and the Q-929 as secondary weapons and impact grenades or a nitro cell as a secondary gadget.
“If anything, we know the loadout we chose for her is a bit on the strong side,” Ubisoft game designer Emilien Lomet said. Lomet said because the gadget is so situational, it is difficult to use correctly and can be easily used by the opposite team if left unattended.
The Kona Healing station has a distinct look. At a first glance, it appears like a gumball machine. Its hopper is full of small balls that fire out of a rotating turret that does a little shake when its cooldown is up. “The team wanted to inject a personality into the turret,” Karpazis said.
Thunderbird will be available in the Y6S2 battle pass immediately upon release of the new season, North Star, or for renown or R6 credits two weeks after the release of the new season.