Ubisoft’s free-to-play shooter XDefiant defies its March release, server test due before ‘locking’ a new date

XDefiant, the free-to-play arena-shooter – a la Apex Legends, Overwatch 2, Valorant or the multiplayer team-based game of your choice – built around classes and factions from across the Ubisoft universe games from Splinter Cell and Far Cry to Ghost Recon and Watch Dogs, has been delayed. Originally outlined for a launch before the end of March – you’ll note that we’re now in April – the upcoming FPS will apparently now decide a release date after an upcoming stress test for its servers.

XDefiant has been kicking around since at least mid-2021, when it was announced by Ubisoft as part of their Tom Clancyverse despite also trying to have an irreverent “punk-rock mosh pit” aesthetic that didn’t exactly scream “military shooter” to me.

Originally revealed with unique classes cropped from Clancy games like The Division and Splinter Cell, offering different active powers, passive effects and weapons like the roster of other hero shooters, by the time Ollie spent a couple of hours with it last year it had also added Watch Dogs hackers Deadsec and Far Cry’s Libertad to its starting line-up of five Defiants. They’ll go head-to-head across a variety of maps and modes, from traditional team deathmatches to your Overwatch-style escort missions.

The shooter’s preseason was originally expected to arrive last October, before being delayed while its team looked to address some “inconsistencies” after a public test session. While its developers didn’t give a revised release date at the time, Ubisoft’s financial update in February suggested XDefiant would be out during its financial fourth quarter – which ran until the end of March.

It’s now April, and XDefiant is still yet to show – something that its developers acknowledged in a post confirming that the game had been delayed once again, saying: “There are still some improvements that we need to test.”

Those improvements will seemingly be tested during an upcoming server test session across PC and consoles. The test will only run for a brief 12 hours, and is aimed at stress-testing servers and collecting “critical data” the team say is needed before launch.

The server test is yet to be given a date, but XDefiant’s team say that after the test is over they will be able to “lock a launch date” – hopefully for the last time, this time.

Ollie was left fairly mixed during a two-hour preview last year, finding XDefiant to be a perfectly serviceable shooter, but lacking that special something to mark it out in the crowded genre: “That’s the trouble with XDefiant. There’s really not much to grab onto and think, this right here is the game’s identity.

“XDefiant actually feels quite good to play. The gunplay was decent. The movement was serviceable. The matches were fast-paced, and the kills were satisfying. I had fun! But when I stopped and thought things over, I realised it’s the fun I could have with any other shooter out there.”

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