XDefiant – Too Many Seals, Not Enough Eskimos

REVIEW – Although Ubisoft’s new product (no, not a game) seems to have gotten off to a good start, for a product using a live service model, the smoke may be bigger than the flame, and as we have seen more than once from the French publisher to see a game completely disappear and become unplayable, Yves Guillemot1s team is at the forefront of the inexorable decline of the gaming industry.


It’s hard to write anything positive about a live service product (even the need for it can be questioned), so it’s all glitz and glamour if you can’t pick it up and play it at any time in the future, then it’s a throwaway pile of code, nothing more. (Even the more successful Helldivers II is no exception.)



6v6 battles with Ubisoft IPs


Teams of six can fight each other, and weapons can be customized. It might be playable if you crave the first-person shooter genre, but given the free-to-play model, there are plenty of other similar titles on the market, so Halo Infinite or Apex Legends could be alternatives. Respawning is fast in XDefiant and the pace of the game is similarly quick, so while we’re still four and a half months away from this year’s iteration of the annual and boring Call of Duty, Ubisoft can capitalize on the interest for a similar pace. The maps are also reasonably elaborate and the handling is up to expectations. Not in terms of game modes, because XDefiant was released without Team Deathmatch. Are the developers that unaware of what has been a must-have in multiplayer FPS titles since Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament? Instead, there is the Call of Duty imitation, with Occupy mimicking Hardpoint, Hot Shot mimicking Kill Confirmed, but there’s also Domination, Escort and Zone Control.

The latter two were lifted from Overwatch and Battefield by Ubisoft, respectively. So much so that the French publisher is trying to copy Call of Duty, with Mark Rubin, formerly of Infinity Ward, leading the product (and he was previously the executive producer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare), but the difference is that there is no SBMM, skill-based matchmaking, where you are paired with players of similar skill. At least XDefiant doesn’t completely copy its competitors (one could cite other examples, such as The Finals), which probably generates a lot of money for Ubisoft. Of course, the Battle Pass hasn’t been left out either, and there will be new ones each season, as well as factions. Speaking of factions, these are all from Ubisoft’s other IPs, and we know from leaks that The Crew, for example, will also make some sort of appearance in XDefiant, and that’s enough to say that we’re on the subject, because what Ubisoft is doing with The Crew is pathetic, because the first part is just as playable as we are rich.



A good start does not automatically mean a bright future


You can customize the weapons you take into battle, the accessories you attach to them, and the grenades you carry. In addition, there are factions (Ghost Recon, Watch_Dogs, Far Cry, The Division, Splinter Cell; IPs also “spill out” onto the maps), each offering unique different abilities. There’s a passive trait (like being less visible on others’ mini-maps) and two interchangeable active options (like a temporarily deployable shield), and an ultra skill (or ultimate). The use of IPs seems more forced than something that could be considered acceptable. This is not MultiVersus or Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where drawing from multiple IPs can make for some pretty interesting pairings. It’s more like Ubisoft is saving money (they don’t have to pay a license fee for their own IPs) and they’re just trying to keep Watch_Dogs, for example, in the public eye. Or Splinter Cell, of which a remake has been announced.

Or Beyond Good & Evil, the second part of which will never be released. The French publisher can really go back decades, so there really can be variations, but that requires continued support for the product, but the title is not a coincidence. Too many seals, not enough eskimos. Simply because of the saturation of the market, it is not certain that this product can survive in the long run. With the likes of Overwatch, Apex Legends, Halo Infinite, The Finals and Call of Duty: Warzone, it’s not sure if it will have a place. Sure, the French publisher is happy with the results for now, but they’d need to reach beyond themselves, so they’d need characters from elsewhere (if XDefiant makes money, it shouldn’t just fill the management’s bank account, but should also be able to pay lower-ranked developers well and then pay for licensing)! Because that too is important. If you get a yawn from the audience, it’s game over then and there.


Ubisoft’s disposable past


And then we should talk about how the live service model will lead to the downfall of the gaming industry. Ubisoft was recently rightly criticized for making the first part of The Crew simply unplayable. Why is that? Because it requires a constant server connection. No server, no game. And this was a full-priced, paid title. You can’t play it, so it became a throwaway title. Then there’s a battle royale product that was also made by Ubisoft. It was released and then people lost interest in it and it died. It’s Hyper Scape. That also became a throwaway product. Those are two examples from the last decade of Ubisoft. There is a third that was made, playtested, but never finished. It’s Tom Clancy’s The Division Heartland. They prove how risky it is to spend time and money on these products. XDefiant will be the same, because even though there is interest in the game now, people don’t have unlimited time and money. And these publishers think they do. And that’s why XDefiant will fall.

XDefiant gets a 6/10. That’s all it’s worth. Sure, you can play with it, but then it’s poof, gone. You can’t buy it on disc. You can’t play it offline. You cannot preserve it. To hell with it. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.



+ Fast-paced
+ Draws from Ubisoft IPs
+ can be easily made to work on PC with older configurations


– This is a disposable product, how will it be preserved for the future?
– Only Ubisoft IPs, some of which the publisher does not deal with at all
– …what is the need for this with a game that is so similar, especially without team deathmatch?

Publisher: Ubisoft

Developer: Ubisoft San Francisco

Style: throwaway first-person shooter

Release: May 21, 2024.


Gameplay - 7.3
Graphics - 7.7
Story - 1
Music/Audio - 6.5
Ambience - 7.5



Fun now. Will it be fun a year from now? Five years? Ten?

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Grabbing controllers since the middle of the nineties. Mostly he has no idea what he does - and he loves Diablo III. (Not.)

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