After months of silence regarding its upcoming free-to-play first-person arena shooter called XDefiant, Ubisoft is making noise. The developer recently announced that, starting from February 16 until the morning of February 20, a cross-play insider session will take place in which players can enjoy the Escort, Zone Control, Domination, and Occupy game modes.
Thirteen unique maps will also be used during the session including Attica Heights, Arena, Dumbo, Emporium, Liberty, Mayday, Meltdown, Midway, Nudleplex, Showtime, Times Square, Zoo, and Pueblito. The last one is being introduced in this round of playtesting and is set on the tropical island of Yara from Far Cry 6. If you are interested in joining the testing, there is an application form on Ubisoft’s page - but your application would only be considered for future sessions and you will need to sign an NDA.
Considering the game is still in development, this nondisclosure agreement should prevent players from sharing info from the playtest, although we wouldn't be surprised if they'll find their way online anyway.
For their efforts and participation in this round of testing, Ubisoft has promised players an emoji pack that will be added to their accounts once XDefiant launches.
The free-to-play shooter game was initially revealed in 2019 as Tom Clancy’s XDefiant, but the former moniker was dropped after a closed playtest in 2021. Footage from those early gameplay trailers shows how inspired this title is by Blizzard’s fast-paced arena shooter Overwatch, with 6v6 combat. Other playable elements reminiscent of titles like Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, Splinter Cell, The Division, and Splinter Cell can also be noticed.
Mark Rubin is the executive producer for the project at Ubisoft San Francisco, whose name you might recognize because he previously held the same position at video game studio Infinity Ward, and oversaw the production of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
XDefiant is the latest in a long line of titles published by Ubisoft in its attempt to create a splash in the free-to-play market. Unfortunately, not every project has panned out. Case in point, the Sci-Fi battle royale game Hyper Scape got axed last year due to its underwhelming performance. Ubisoft also postponed the release of Ghost Recon Frontline indefinitely likely due to the same reason as well.
Ubisoft's other titles in the same genre are either also underperforming, got discontinued before even being launched, or are long overdue. This falls in line with developers' recent struggles to attract investors, leading to more and more projects being canceled. Their projected release slate for 2023 looks promising and has some heavy hitters and free trials like the one for Far Cry 6 should help it stabilize.