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XDefiant won’t be pay-to-win, says Ubisoft

Ubisoft is keenly aware of issues with free-to-play multiplayer games, and is looking to avoid common traps.
XDefiant Ubisoft

On the cusp of XDefiant‘s launch, Ubisoft has taken a stance against pay-to-win game mechanics, and promised its new foray will be fair for all players, regardless of whether they spend cash in-game, or not. In a new blog post, the company has reassured players “there are no pay-to-win mechanics” in XDefiant, and all new content will be purchasable and unlockable for players.

“We endeavour to be an amazing arcade shooter experience, in a free-to-play package,” Ubisoft said. “A crucial part of this will be to keep making great content to excite and engage our players for years to come, season after season … Our goal is to be providing amazing customisation options that reward all of the matches, victories, and even defeats that you put into the game.”

As detailed, while there will be paid skins and other cosmetics in the game, players will be given options. The example given is that while the DedSec faction will be purchasable in the pre-season period, they will also be unlockable through an in-game challenge, which requires players to acquire 700,000 XP. That is a high bar, but it’s still a solid option for those who don’t wish to invest in XDefiant.

Read: Ubisoft’s XDefiant officially launches in May 2024

The reality of making a game free-to-play is that it does still need to make cash, somehow. Unlockables must be tempting and rewarding enough for those willing to pay, and yet approachable enough for players who aren’t in that position. It’s a difficult balance, but one that Ubisoft appears keen to get right.

“We know this is an important topic. A topic that demands reflection and evaluation. As XDefiant progresses, we will be listening to your feedback, as well as player surveys and in-game player data, and constantly evaluating to make sure we are providing fair and engaging customisation options,” Ubisoft said.

What is XDefiant?

For those unfamiliar, XDefiant is Ubisoft’s new free-to-play multiplayer shooter game where players will join factions, and set off on missions to defend their territory. Each of these factions is based on a classic Ubisoft franchise, with representation from Watch Dogs, Far Cry, The Division, and more.

It’s been described as a “love letter to fans of classic arena shooters” with a view to take on Call of Duty, and other rivals in the online shooter space. The game will launch with multiple classic modes: Arena Modes that spotlight battles for territorial control, and Progression Modes with Capture the Flag-like gameplay. As players romp through these stages, they’ll be able to customise their loadout, build their character’s abilities, and earn new skins and cosmetics.

Read: XDefiant is successfully filling a classic Call of Duty-shaped hole

There’s plenty of anticipation backing the game, which should inspire a strong launch period. As announced, XDefiant officially releases for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC via Ubisoft Connect on 21 May 2024. Players keen to jump in right away can now pre-load the game.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.