Over a million people have played the XDefiant beta

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Ubisoft's upcoming 6v6 shooter XDefiant is doing pretty well for itself in closed beta. According to the publisher, it's attracted a million players so far. For a while, it was even beating Modern Warfare 2 on Twitch, although viewership has fallen off as the beta has gone on—it's got about 12K viewers as I write this.

For some FPS players, the free-to-play XDefiant could be the faster, twitcher alternative to today's Call of Duty games they've been waiting for—an exciting new stage for the production of quickscoping highlight reels. As I observed earlier this week, there's a direct connection to older CoDs here: XDefiant is being produced by Mark Rubin, the producer of the first two original Modern Warfares, and recently got some praise from Robert Bowling, who also worked on those games. Bowling called XDefiant a "refinement" of what CoD used to be.

It's not purely a Call of Duty-like game, though: There's a Team Fortress 2 and Overwatch-ish escort mode, and special abilities that don't all have CoD gadget analogues. One faction's ultimate is a flamethrower.

My Xperience with XDefiant's closed beta has definitely been sweatier than my usual experience in today's Modern Warfare 2. There's no skill-based matchmaking in casual XDefiant matches, so the scoreboards typically have 30-plus kill monsters at the top followed by the rest of us under-20 scrubs. I've had some frustrating games where I get disintegrated from a different angle after nearly every spawn, but also some pleasant streaks of my own. Very brief streaks, but fun.

I'm digging the colorfulness of XDefiant's maps—there's a goofy tech company, a zoo, an Old West-themed set—especially as compared to Call of Duty's wartorn misery. Otherwise, I'm not especially attracted to XDefiant's cast of Tom Clancy graffiti rebels, but maybe it'll grow on me, and aspects like the UI are bound to change post-beta.

This closed beta was scheduled to end on April 23 at 11 pm Pacific, but it's been extended until April 25, so there's still time to give XDefiant a try if you can get in before then. You can register on the official site for a chance to participate, and players who are already in the beta may be able to invite you, as well. (I used my invites already, sorry.)

XDefiant doesn't have a release date, but I'd expect it to come out some time this year, perhaps in "open beta" form.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.