Ubisoft's XDefiant was supposed to launch this month, but is delayed (again)

Key art for XDefiant, featuring one of the mercenaries from the Phantoms faction.
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Ubisoft's free-to-play competitive FPS XDefiant, surely a contender for the silliest game name in history (sorry Warface), has announced another delay following a recent public playtest. The game was due to launch with a "Preseason" this month but, following what the developers describe as "inconsistencies in the game experience", has been delayed to an unspecified date.

This does somewhat conveniently move XDefiant out of immediate competition with the recently launched Counter-Strike 2 and the imminent Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and it's not the first delay the shooter's had. The release was originally scheduled for this summer before being pushed back, and the latest statement says

"Thank you to everyone who participated in our recent Public Test Session and continues to stand alongside us as we build XDefiant. [The test] surfaced some inconsistencies in the game experience that we need to address prior to launching our Preseason. So we’ve made the hard decision to delay the Preseason of XDefiant.

"The team will continue working to address these issues and testing them to make sure we deliver on our goal of being a best-in-class arcade shooter. We will share more information about Preseason and testing as it comes."

The statement also references the game's "iconic faction roster" which sure is some Ubisoft-ese: part of XDefiant's hook is bringing in a bunch of Ubisoft's other brands, with the game originally being a much more Clancy-focused affair. Now it features factions from Far Cry, The Division, Watch Dogs, and the Clancy games Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell. I wonder if the iconic Watch Dogs grey cap will make it?

This delay doesn't come with any specifics about when XDefiant will release, though so far the pushbacks have been relatively minor. PCG's Morgan Park managed to go hands-on earlier this year and enjoyed the "very cool" experience. The question with XDefiant isn't really whether it'll be a competent shooter, so much as whether it'll have that special something that can elevate it above the plentiful competition. Ubisoft also badly needs to get this one right because, ever since the excellent Rainbow Six Siege, it's been slightly flailing in the competitive FPS space, with Hyper Scape proving both forgettable and a major flop. XDefiant has a shot at reversing that trend: but it'll need to release first.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."