After just a one-day heads up, Ubisoft announced their latest entry in the Tom Clancy video game universe. In a livestreamed video on Monday, Ubisoft revealed Tom Clancy’s XDefiant, a new free-to-play shooter with a heavy focus on gunplay. “It’s fast-paced firefights…” began executive producer Mark Rubin, “…meets punk rock mosh pit,” finished creative director Jason Shroeder. If that description isn’t enough for you, here’s everything you need to know about Tom Clancy’s XDefiant.
What Is Tom Clancy’s XDefiant?
At its core, XDefiant is a team-based shooter with some special abilities thrown in. Each team has six members composed of characters from four different factions. These factions serve as classes, offering players unique abilities and allowing them to create different team compositions. Each faction also has an “ultra” ability, which can be used periodically to turn the tide of the game.
The current factions are:
- Wolves:Wolves function as tanks for their teams. Gameplay footage in the reveal trailer shows that at least one Wolf will have the ability to deploy a circular, moving shield around them and any team mates in the area. Wolves also appear to specialize in heavy weapons, as one was shown to be carrying a minigun/shotgun hybrid in the trailer.
- Cleaners: Cleaners form the assault class of XDefiant. During the trailer a cleaner was shown wielding a flamethrower and charging ahead of his team, suggesting that this faction will be very damage oriented.
- Echelon: The Echelon faction was described as being the support class of the game. An Echelon was shown in the trailer using their ultra to see enemies clearly through walls.
- Outcasts: Outcasts play the role of healers in XDefiant. The trailer showed an Outcast throwing down a green mist dispensing device to heal their teammates.
Based on this information, Tom Clancy’s XDefiant is eerily similar to Overwatch’s early days, but with shooting akin to the Call of Duty series. In addition to being an arena shooter with “ultimate” abilities, Overwatch also had four classes before consolidating its “defense” and “support” classes into one. Considering Overwatch 2 will feature team sizes of five instead of six, it will be interesting to see how XDefiant fares against it. But while Overwatch focuses on the individual heroes in a class, XDefiant has a different priority: guns.
Gunplay in Tom Clancy’s XDefiant
While factions will no doubt play a vital role in the game, the gunplay appears to be the major focus for Ubisoft in XDefiant. “We know, to be a great shooter, gunplay has to be our top priority,” said Rubin. Having worked as Infinity Ward’s executive producer until 2015, Rubin has worked on numerous Call of Duty titles. When looking at XDefiant’s reveal trailer, his influence is easily seen.
The guns look and shoot as though they’re in a Call of Duty game, with snappy weapons that can go from hip fire to iron sights in an instant. There was also footage of a player quickly switching from running to gunning, giving the impression that you’ll be able to move around rapidly without too much trouble.
There also seem to be a good deal of customization options available. It looks as though players will be able to adapt their guns with different attachments and sights to fit their preferences. In addition, players will be able to mix and match any faction and weapon loadout. It’s unclear just yet how far players will be able to take this customization, but it’s a pretty big mixup for the genre.
For an arena shooter like Overwatch, heroes serve as the weapon loadout. If you want to use a rocket launcher, you also need to pick the hero, Pharah, who has it. You’re allowed to switch characters partway through the game, but not their equipment. XDefiant seems to be shaking this convention up, allowing players to mix and match their character’s loadout. Players can also swap their equipment while respawning.
Tom Clancy’s XDefiant Release Date and Beta
There’s no word yet on when Tom Clancy’s XDefiant will officially release. However, for those who want to get their hands on it, a closed beta will be happening soon. PC Players in the U.S. and Canada can enter for a chance to play the closed beta when it opens on Aug. 5 on the XDefiant website.
For those lacking a PC, more closed tests are planned for the future. However, you can only pick one platform when signing up for the closed beta, so choose carefully. The game will eventually release for both previous and current generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles, as well as PC, and Google Stadia.