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Can you pause Rainbow Six Extraction during a mission?

What do you do when you need to go AFK in Rainbow Six Extraction?

Can you pause in Rainbow Six Extraction? Surely there's a way! It's not a PvP game, after all. Why would there not be a pause button? Well, if you're one of the many new players who are wondering how to pause a mission in Rainbow Six Extraction, then... I may have some bad news for you. Read on to find out what to do in case you need to go AFK for a short while during a mission in Rainbow Six Extraction.

Cover image for YouTube videoRainbow Six Extraction: Deep Dive Series - Operators, Gadgets, React Tech

Can you pause in Rainbow Six Extraction?

There is currently no way of pausing Rainbow Six Extraction in the middle of a mission. It doesn't matter whether you're in multiplayer or singleplayer, whether you're looking at your Studies, perusing your mission objectives, or in the Settings menu tweaking your controls. You cannot pause, period.

This means if you're called away from the game for a while, you have just three options:

  1. Quit. You can do this by opening the in-game menu and either quitting the game or returning to the main menu. Both result in you losing all your banked XP and Studies Progress, and your Operator will become MIA.
  2. Extract. There's an extraction point in every sub-zone of a mission. You'll keep your Operator, XP, and Studies Progress, but won't be able to proceed further in the mission.
  3. Hide. It's possible to find a quiet spot where you can hide from enemies while you're AFK. The safest spots are the Airlocks and Extractions Points - though even these aren't free of risk.

In this final case, you must bear in mind that you can't stay AFK forever, even if you find a safe spot. When you start each of the three sections of a mission, a 15-minute timer begins counting down. If you do not proceed to the next sub-zone or extract before that timer is up, then you'll become MIA (to learn more about this, visit our Rainbow Six Extraction MIA guide). If you have to tab away from the game but you're still at your desk, I'd recommend going to the Audio Settings menu and switching off Mute Game On Unfocused, so that even while AFK you can hear both when enemies are near, and when you only have a few minutes left before the 15 minutes are up.

As for why you cannot pause: that's a harder question to answer. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Extraction is not like Rainbow Six Siege, the game from which it spawned. While Extraction is primarily a multiplayer game, it is PvE rather than PvP - so why should there not be a way to pause the game? It seems like a bit of an oversight as things currently stand. It seems particularly strange that you can't pause even while playing on your own. But alas, that's the way it is. We'll update this guide if Ubisoft decide to change their current stance on whether or not pausing the game mid-mission should be allowed.

Hopefully this has answered any questions you had about pausing the action in Rainbow Six Extraction. For more general advice about how to survive against the Archaeans, check out our Rainbow Six Extraction tips and tricks. While you're here, you can also consult our primer on the best Operators in Rainbow Six Extraction.

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Ollie Toms avatar

Ollie Toms

Guides Editor

Ollie is sheriff of Guidestown at RPS, and since joining the team in 2018, he's written over 1,000 guides for the site. He loves playing dangerously competitive games and factory sims, injuring himself playing badminton, and burying his face in the warm fur of his two cats.