Ubisoft’s free-to-play response to Call of Duty multiplayer is XDefiant.

Ubisoft is expanding its FPS options with a new free-to-play 6v6 game that resembles Tom Clancy’s Call of Duty. It’s named XDefiant, and it stars three Clancy factions: the Echelon (Splinter Cell), the Wolves (Ghost Recon), the Cleaners (The Division), and the Outcasts (also The Division). Watch the above introductory trailer to get a greater sense of the game’s factions, character powers, and action tempo.

Ubisoft San Francisco, which previously created South Park: The Fractured But Whole and is now working on Rocksmith+, is largely responsible for the development of XDefiant. Mark Rubin, a Call of Duty graduate, is the game’s executive producer, while Jason Schroeder, who worked on the original Rocksmith and South Park, is the game’s creative director. The duo described XDefiant as “fast-paced firefights meets punk rock mosh pits” in the reveal teaser.

I’m not sure what it implies, but “fast-paced” and punk rock aren’t exactly words that come to mind when I think of the Tom Clancy brand. If the idea of XDefiant seems familiar, it’s because it’s the same crossover Ubi game that surfaced in early June under the codename “BattleCat.”

XDefiant appears to be Ubisoft’s take on Call of Duty multiplayer. It’s 6v6, appears to focus on goal game types (Ubisoft named two in a press release dubbed Domination and Escort), and has a rather quick time-to-kill. Everything about the gameplay, from the pace of sprinting to the restricted verticality and the reflexive stop-and-spray shootouts, reminds me of Infinity Ward-style CoD games. Check out the short gameplay clip Ubisoft shared with us below, as well as a few others provided to press and influencers before the game’s launch.

Another Call of Duty-style FPS isn’t particularly interesting on its own, but XDefiant wants to spice things up with its character skills. Each side will have its own set of skills and gadgets to fulfill various roles on a squad. The Echelon, for example, is support players who may assist in spotting attackers and flanking. Outcasts are shown as healers in the teaser, Wolves as tanks capable of deploying shield barriers, and Cleaners as assaulters armed with powerful flamethrowers. Every player gets a basic primary/secondary weapon (customizable with attachments), grenades, as well as a gadget and ultimate power unique to the faction they are playing. One of the ultimates (as Ubi refers to them) looks to be the Cleaner’s flamethrower.

So it’s not exactly a hero shooter, but Ubi plans to add additional factions to its roster (including more Tom Clancy crossovers and “beyond”). Given that everyone looks to have comparable health pools and weapons options, the system appears to be more akin to the operators in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and 4, who could sometimes bring out a superweapon. It’s unknown how adaptable these loadouts will be, but Ubi confirmed that each class would have multiple skills to select from.

You may have noticed that one apparent Clancy group is noticeably absent from XDefiant’s roster: Rainbow Six. Despite Rainbow Six Siege’s large roster of 60 operators and gadgets, the XDefiant unveiling makes no mention of it. This is most certainly a deliberate decision to minimize confusion with two very distinct styles of FPS, albeit it is the closest Ubisoft has gone to competing with itself in a long time.

Ubisoft hasn’t said when XDefiant will be generally available, but the first playable test will begin in just a few weeks. Sign up at XDefiant’s official website to be among the first to experience the PC-exclusive test build, which will be available beginning August 5. XDefiant will be released on both PC and consoles, with crossplay functionality “anticipated” on day one. According to a Ubisoft representative, as of this writing, XDefiant will only be available on PC through the Ubisoft Connect shop.

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