Ubisoft is tackling the FPS from every angle, and now that includes its own Call of Duty-like 6v6 competitive shooter. It's called Tom Clancy's XDefiant, and it looks a lot cooler than its terrible name implies.
XDefiant brings together a group of factions from other Clancy games and turns them into playable classes. Don't call it a hero shooter: each faction has its own abilities and ultimates, but abilities aren't unique to an individual. Ubisoft announced XDefiant with a splashy reveal and closed test in 2021, but since then, news on the game has been quiet.
It's a little hard to wrap my head around, but just imagine Call of Duty if a Wolf from Ghost Recon Breakpoint could lay down a bubble shield, or an Echelon agent from Splinter Cell could slide while shooting you with a P90. It's also free-to-play, so there won't be much keeping you from trying it out yourself.
Here's everything we know about XDefiant so far.
Watch the XDefiant reveal trailer
XDefiant's reveal trailer became an easy target for internet dunks as people reacted to the game's cheesy aesthetic and the hilariously cringy phrase "fast-paced firefights meet punk rock mosh pits." Aside from a questionable attitude, the concept of XDefiant is sound: this is Ubisoft's take on the Call of Duty style FPS spearheaded by some of the folks that used to make those games at Activision.
Is there a XDefiant beta?
Ubisoft ran its first playable test of XDefiant in August 2021. You can still sign up here (opens in new tab) for future test sessions, though we haven't heard about any other tests in recent months. The website will prompt you to select a preferred platform to play on and ask you what other types of shooters you play. Don't worry too much about what answer you give, Ubi probably wants everyone to try the game out.
What is XDefiant's release date?
Ubisoft hasn't set a firm date for XDefiant's release. In fact, Ubisoft hasn't had much to say about the game at all since the end of its closed test in August 2021.
That's a while to go without an update, but it's totally abnormal for a multiplayer game in the early stages: Ubi's stated purpose for the closed test was to gather feedback that'd directly influence XDefiant's direction. Presumably, Ubi has its head down working on the game.
Watch 6 minutes of XDefiant gameplay
Just before the first XDefiant closed test kicked off in August 2021, IGN played a bit of the game with Ubisoft devs and shared a few minutes of raw gameplay. This is essentially the same build that closed test players got to play—a handful of modes and maps with all four playable classes.
What exactly is XDefiant?
XDefiant is a free-to-play, 6v6 arena FPS starring playable classes from the Tom Clancy universe. We haven't seen a ton of gameplay so far, but based on what's out there, XDefiant appears to play a lot like Call of Duty multiplayer. It has the same speed, a similar time-to-kill, flat-ish maps with limited verticality, and customizable loadouts. What sets it apart from most CoD games are its classes and character abilities, which we'll touch on more below.
At launch, XDefiant will have four factions that each fill a different role on the team.
- Wolves (Ghost Recon): Tanks with increased health and shielding abilities that protect the team.
- Cleaners (The Division): Aggressive gunners with high damage abilities.
- Outcasts (The Division): XDefiant's main healer role.
- Echelon (Splinter Cell): Support characters that can provide intel to the team and deny intel to opponents.
XDefiant's closed test had 10 maps and five modes
Ubisoft is going big on maps right out of the game with XDefiant. In the August 2021 closed test, players had access to seven arena maps (think Call of Duty) and three linear maps.
The two map types each have unique modes suited to their shape. Escort (which sounds like a mode similar to Overwatch's Payload ) can probably only be played on linear maps, for example. Here are the five modes Ubisoft is talking about:
- Domination (Arena)
- Ringleader (Arena)
- Upload (Arena)
- Escort (Linear)
- Zone Control (Linear)
XDefiant will have loadout customization
Like Call of Duty, players can build custom loadouts and equip various attachments to guns. We didn't get a good look at this process in the reveal trailer, but we did see some of the game's arsenal of assault rifles, LMGs, sniper rifles, shotguns, and SMGs. It's a pretty standard collection of guns from what I can tell, and they sound pretty good based on snippets of gameplay.
Factions have unique abilities and ultimates
In addition to customized guns, players also have a few abilities unique to the faction they're playing. Every faction has passives, a secondary gadget, and an ultimate ability that can only be used periodically (Ubisoft calls these "Ultras"). We saw a few abilities on display in the gameplay reveal, like the Cleaner's flamethrower ultimate, the Wolves' dome shield, the Echelon's targeting goggles, and the Outcast's healing beacon.
More factions are coming after launch
Ubisoft says it's committing to XDefiant in the long term, and that means adding more factions to the game after launch. Ubi said these new factions will consist of more Tom Clancy crossovers (Rainbow Six, maybe?) as well as "beyond," which suggests to me the game may branch out and make its own characters at some point.
Crossplay is "expected" day one
Ubisoft is continuing its habit of adding crossplay to its games with XDefiant, but it isn't promising that it'll be in there right when the game releases. Crossplay is "expected" to be in the game from the get-go, but don't be surprised if it takes a little longer to arrive.
How exactly Ubi will implement crossplay will be interesting to see. Rainbow Six Siege is getting console crossplay early next year, but the PC version will remain separate due to the balancing considerations of pitting controller players versus mouse and keyboard. That makes sense in a tactical FPS with zero aim assist, but if XDefiant is closer in style to Call of Duty, Ubi might try to bridge the console/PC gap in the same way Activision has in Black Ops Cold War and Warzone.
XDefiant is exclusive to the Ubisoft Connect app on PC
A Ubisoft rep told PC Gamer that XDefiant will only be found on the Ubisoft Connect store on PC. It's unclear if the game will come to other storefronts at some point, but "for right now," it's a Ubisoft Connect exclusive. All of the publisher's other multiplayer games can be found on either Steam or the Epic Games Store, making XDefiant a special case.
Is 'Tom Clancy's XDefiant' the worst ever name for a videogame?
Yes. Yes, it is. xD