Is Tom Clancy’s XDefiant Ubisoft’s Answer To Riot’s Valorant?

Is Tom Clancy's XDefiant Ubisoft's Answer To Riot's Valorant
Screengrab: Ubisoft

A few hours ago, Ubisoft announced its next project – Tom Clancy’s XDefiant, a free-to-play FPS shooter. As it is with every Tom Clancy game, XDefiant will be set in the Tom Clancyverse, if that’s even a term.

The game is currently under development by Ubisoft San Francisco. In the reveal video, Creative Director Jason Schroeder and Executive Producer Mark Rubin describe the game as, “This is our take on a multiplayer first-person shooter… It’s fast-paced fire-fights, meets punk-rock moshpit.”

While the game looks like a 6v6 multiplayer FPS shooter on the surface, it has a lot going on under the hood. However, Ubisoft is clearly making a statement with this one for sure. We’ll talk more about that later, but first, let’s take a closer look at Tom Clancy’s XDefiant.

Tom Clancy’s XDefiant

Tom Clancy’s XDefiant promises realistic gunplay mixed with personalized classes. These personalized classes represent factions with ‘special abilities.’ There are four factions revealed in the video, Echelon, Outcasts, Cleaners, Wolves. One ability can heal allies while the other one deploys shields; on the other hand, another one has a flamethrower, are some of the examples of these abilities. Furthermore, these factions are taken from maverick groups spanning across the Tom Clancy game series along with other Ubisoft games.

Don’t worry if these feel similar because they somewhat are. Like in Overwatch or Valorant, different characters have different abilities. Moving on, XDefiant will include characters from all of Tom Clancy’s game series; even more, we’ll have to wait for that one.

Is Ubisoft planning an Esports title?

Now that we know about the game and how things will pan out. Let’s talk about how I believe Ubisoft is seemingly planning to take head-on a title by Riot Games, a massive multiplayer Esports title – Valorant.

From the past few years, Esports was growing, and it still is. With Valorant making a jump in the Esports scene, things have been moving pretty fast. In addition, seeing how Ubisoft has announced game after game in the past few months; moreover, the studio is somewhat struggling to make a heavy Esports title with Rainbow Six Seige. Or probably Ubisoft wants to expand its horizons in the multiplayer genre with a new game?

Abilities don’t kill?

In the reveal video, Mark Rubin presses on the point, saying, “I can’t stress this hard enough; we are a shooter first.” Meanwhile, Jason Schroeder goes on, “And your abilities and ultras create unique opportunities to send up nail-biting shootouts and unforgettable clutched plays.” Create unique abilities? Haven’t we heard the same thing a while back?

Let’s refresh our memories. After a series of complaints from players about abilities in Valorant, Riot CEO Nicolo Laurent tweeted, “To be clear, in Project A (Valorant), shooting matters. You don’t kill with abilities. Abilities create tactical opportunities to take the right shot.” Yes, tell that to Raze or Killjoy or Jett!

Now coming to Tom Clancy’s XDefiant, a similar statement raises questions; since we see a character rocking a flamethrower in the reveal, how about that! So much for abilities don’t kill.

Interestingly, players seem to have been moving in favor of multiplayer games involving abilities. While Riot has undoubtedly made an Esports title out of Valorant, and that is just getting started, can Ubisoft manage to pull off the task? I guess we’ll know when we get to the point.

At this point, it’s unclear how Ubisoft perceives Tom Clancy’s XDefiant, and how the studio wants to shape the game’s future. While the game is still in early development and doesn’t have a release date, XDefiant will come out for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna. Meanwhile, players can get a chance to enter the closed beta for XDefiant that starts on August 5th.

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