We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

XDefiant release date, gameplay details, Year 1 roadmap, and more

The XDefiant release date has finally arrived, so here's everything you need to know about Ubisoft's fast-paced, class-based FPS game.

XDefiant Release Date: A soldier can be seen

When was the XDefiant release date? One of the biggest releases of 2024 for first-person shooter fans, XDefiant’s goal is to be a breath of fresh air while also crafting a nostalgic experience that fans of older Call of Duty titles will love.

Following a few closed and open beta tests throughout 2023 and early 2024, XDefiant impressed us with its gameplay and map design, establishing itself as a potential newcomer to our best FPS games list. However, actually getting the final product out the door was a bit of a fiasco for Ubisoft. After a long struggle though, it’s finally here and is one of the best free shooting games you can play right now. So, put together your best XDefiant loadout and dive in.

XDefiant release date

The XDefiant release date was Tuesday, May 21, 2024 for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles, alongside PC. The game went live at 10am PT/ 1pm ET/ 6pm BST.

After years of missed deadlines, delays, and development issues, Ubisoft finally confirmed on May 2, 2024 that XDefiant would launch later that month with a six-week preseason. As soon as the preseason concludes, its full live service roadmap begins with the start of Season 1.

As mentioned though, getting to the XDefiant release date was far from straightforward.

Ubisoft previously promised that XDefiant would launch sometime before March 31, 2024. However, it missed that deadline and then revealed that the game would need one final server test before committing to a release date. That server test took place across all platforms in April, and executive producer Mark Rubin said it went “really well”. When the test wrapped, Ubisoft felt confident it could deliver the smooth multiplayer game experience that fans expected.

Below you can read the statement Ubisoft issued confirming that XDefiant would be delayed and wouldn’t release before March 31.

XDefiant release date: A statement from Ubisoft about a delay to XDefiant, with artwork from one of the game's maps in the background

The March deadline was actually the second major deadline that XDefiant missed. Initially, Ubisoft promised that the game would launch in the summer of 2023. The below statement from October 9, 2023, announced that particular delay.

XDefiant release date: XDefiant post from Twitter with the indefinite delay following the PTS

There have been various reasons – some officially confirmed, others rumored – as to why XDefiant was pushed back for so long. Below you can find a timeline of events explaining why the shooter was delayed so many times.

Why was XDefiant delayed?

Originally set for a summer 2023 release date, things seemed to be going well with XDefiant at first. After a few closed beta sessions, Rubin confirmed during Ubisoft Forward 2023 that the game would be having an open beta session in June 2023 for Xbox Series X|S, PS5, and PC.

XDefiant release date: A gunfight between three XDefiant characters outside of a shack in a tropical setting

Following the open beta, the developers quietly delayed the last-gen versions of the game only, stating in a tweet that the team is “working on last-gen platforms for later” – with how long it’s taken just to get the current-gen versions out the door, we wouldn’t be surprised if the PS4 and Xbox One versions have been shelved completely.

After a long summer of waiting for the game to launch, XDefiant failed a QA test for major platforms, as stated in an Ubisoft blog post from September 11, and a Public Test Session for further testing took place shortly after that in late September.

Unfortunately, on October 9, Ubisoft released a statement saying that it discovered “inconsistencies in the game experience” during this Public Test Session and that it would be indefinitely delaying XDefiant. Despite initially looking on track to meet its Summer 2023 target window, it’s clear that there were some deeper issues with the game that required a lot more development time.

YouTube Thumbnail

In a tweet on November 1, 2023, Rubin confirmed that the main culprit for the delay was due to frame spikes caused by some anti-cheat software, and he also confirmed that the team had replaced the social system due to issues it had under heavy load. Not only that, but Rubin confirmed that the team behind XDefiant was also replacing the “low-level network transport layer”, which would help reduce latency and occasional de-sync.

Ubisoft also switched the servers over to Linux, which Rubin said would improve the overall server performance.

In an update from executive producer Mark Rubin on January 27, 2024, he further explained that the major blockers to getting XDefiant out the door were its Party system, netcode, and servers.

In February 2024, a financial report from Ubisoft suggested that XDefiant would be out before the end of the 2023/24 financial year, which would mean it would be in players’ hands before March 31, 2024. There were encouraging signs that it would hit that deadline, with trophies appearing out of nowhere and plans for a Rainbow Six Siege-themed Season 1 going live early.

XDefiant release date: four characters from XDefiant with a purple background behind them

However, as we got closer and closer to that deadline it seemed more and more likely that XDefiant would yet again miss a release window. Reports from insiders claimed that, as well as all the technical setbacks, another big reason for the delays to XDefiant was Ubisoft’s desire to make it as Call of Duty-like as possible. This was denied by developers, and Rubin had also previously expressed that the game wasn’t interested in imitating COD in an interview with us last year.

On March 29, XDefiant released a statement confirming that it would be delayed again. No new release window was given, but Ubisoft said a date would be set after it concluded a server stress test.

From April 19-21, the stress test was conducted across PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. While players were met with a fair few issues, and the gameplay felt somewhat heavier and clunkier than previous betas in 2023, Rubin deemed the test a success and that a final release date for XDefiant would be announced imminently.

Finally, on May 2, FPS fans got the news they’d waited a very long time for: a solid, exact, XDefiant release date of May 21. 

XDefiant gameplay

A 6v6 arena-based shooter at its core, XDefiant is an arcade-like experience that both casual FPS players and competitive fans can enjoy.

The aforementioned Mark Rubin is leading development on XDefiant and that’s an important thing to note. He produced the original Modern Warfare series, highly touted as one of the best subseries in Call of Duty history. Bringing his knowledge (and his transparency with fans) to this brand-new IP has certainly helped generate interest around it.

While it sounds great having an FPS game inspired by old Call of Duty titles, that’s not all. The XDefiant factions – which are inspired by various major Ubisoft IPs like Far Cry, Watch Dogs, and more – all offer different abilities, giving XDefiant a much more team-oriented feel over recent COD games.

YouTube Thumbnail

Picking a faction and class is only half the battle, as you’ll want to keep an eye on the XDefiant meta to see which of the many XDefiant weapons are currently on top, especially if you’re competitive like us. Like recent COD games, there is an attachment system that lets you customize your weapons.

There are a bunch of XDefiant game modes, most of which you’ve likely seen versions of in other FPS games like Domination or Escort. It’s also been confirmed that XDefiant doesn’t have skill-based matchmaking in its main modes, which Call of Duty fans are incredibly happy about.

XDefiant did ship with a “Welcome Playlist” for players below level 25 that does utilize SBMM, but this is only to help with onboarding newbies. Beyond that, it won’t be present in casual matches. Ranked modes will have ranked-based matchmaking though. In the same thread,

In a social media post, Rubin highlights the possibility for “yearly prestiges,” seeing as XDefiant’s lifecycle will (hopefully) extend far beyond the typical 12-month shelf life of your typical Call of Duty game.

We’ve sank a lot of hours into XDefiant, and we’ve found it to be super enjoyable. With the gunplay and the individual faction abilities, it reminds us of games like Call of Duty Black Ops 3 and Black Ops 4 – and that’s not a bad thing at all.

XDefiant roadmap

Ubisoft has confirmed a roadmap for the first year of XDefiant, which would come into effect following a six-week ‘pre-season’ at launch. Ubisoft promised that during XDefiant’s first year, the game would receive four new factions, 12 new weapons, and 12 new maps, as well as new modes, competitive options, and extra comfort features for accessibility and learning the game.

XDefiant Factions: A roadmap image displaying the upcoming content for XDefiant year one.

This is in addition to all the content that was available at launch, which already offered 24 weapons, 14 maps, five game modes, and five factions.

XDefiant alternatives

If for whatever reason you give XDefiant a go and it isn’t to your liking, then there are some excellent alternatives out there you can turn to instead.

We’ll start with the most obvious, and that’s Call of Duty. The current main series game at the time of writing, Modern Warfare 3, boasts really enjoyable multiplayer action and its chaotic playlists and limited-time modes are a hoot. It’s competitive ranked experience is arguably the best its been for a number of years too. However, the likelihood is that if you’re excited for XDefiant, you’re probably a COD player already. So what else is there?

We wholeheartedly recommend Embark Studios’ destructive arena shooter The Finals. With several game modes, three classes to choose from that have distinct abilities and weapons, and a totally unique feel and aesthetic compared to most other shooters out there, it’s an absolute blast. The main difference between The Finals and XDefiant is that you can destroy pretty much everything in Embark’s FPS – slap a C4 on the side of a building, and watch it turn to dust.

YouTube Thumbnail

You could also give Ubisoft’s far more tactical FPS experience, Rainbow Six Siege, a go. Be warned though, this is a far more strategic experience than the chaotic, run-and-gun gameplay found in XDefiant.

So there you have it – a full primer on Ubisoft’s shooter. If you really want to make your mark, it may be worth picking up one of the best Xbox controllers or best PS5 controllers so you can dominate opponents and blast your way through ranks and battle passes. If you want to see if there are any other competitive titles on the horizon, our new PS5 games and new Xbox games lists have all of the upcoming games that are arriving soon.