Ubisoft’s XDefiant Appears to be Repeating Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s Biggest Mistake

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Ubisoft recently revealed its new arena shooter XDefiant, but it could end up repeating a massive mistake made by Ghost Recon Breakpoint.

Ubisoft recently revealed XDefiant, a new arena shooter that is set in the near future of the Tom Clancy universe. The game was announced with a flashy reveal trailer and will be free-to-play when it launches. The game features four different factions that characters belong to, each with its own loadouts, abilities, appearances, and personalities. XDefiant proudly showcasing the Tom Clancy at the start of its name puts it alongside other popular Ubisoft titles like Ghost ReconSplinter CellRainbow Six, and The Division.

However, XDefiant aims to show the Tom Clancy universe in a new way. This is, namely, a more vibrant punk rock style. The logo itself features a sticker placed over it while much of the game’s promotional material features bright colors and graffiti. XDefiant‘s characters also embody the change. While some of them feature the tactical gear that Tom Clancy fans have come to expect, the majority feature thrown-together gear of patched gas masks, taped-up clothing, and a mash-up of random pieces of gear. This has led to XDefiant not having a clear identity to advertise to players, which feels strikingly familiar to another recent Ubisoft title, Ghost Recon Breakpoint.


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Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s Lack of Identity

Ghost Recon Breakpoint was the follow-up to Ghost Recon WildlandsWildlands was largely a successful move for the series from a more linear tactical shooter to an open-world tactical experience that pitted players against South American cartels. Ghost Recon Breakpoint tried to build on the foundation established by Ghost Recon Wildlands, but was less widely praised for its efforts. Some of Ghost Recon Breakpoint‘s changes were improvements, but many fans were unsure of what the game was trying to be from the marketing and opening hours of gameplay. This led to Ghost Recon Breakpoint reportedly performing beneath Ubisoft’s expectations, despite having talent such as John Bernthal behind it.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint‘s identity issues largely stemmed from the new gameplay elements it attempted to integrate with the Ghost Recon formula. Ghost Recon Breakpoint introduced numerous survival elements as well as classes that encouraged players to tackle the game’s challenges co-operatively. However, many players found that its open-world design and random encounters did not clearly indicate how the game wanted players to strategically approach them. The encounters were still as punishing of mistakes as previous titles, but it was difficult for players to discern what mistakes they were even making after being punished for them. Meanwhile, Breakpoint players also have to craft items, level up, and raise their gear scores that make the game feel more like an RPG than a tactical shooter that is contingent on player skill. This all left Ghost Recon Breakpoint trying to attract fans back with roadmaps and updates, but it is still unclear whether or not the game will be able to do so.

How XDefiant is Following in Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s Footsteps

Unfortunately, it seems that XDefiant is already having the same identity crisis that was so prevalent in Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Ubisoft fans were quick to point out XDefiant‘s mixed identity after the game was revealed, and it stems largely from how the game attempts to build on other Tom Clancy titles without fully embracing them. Characters in XDefiant are split across four factions that are each inspired by a popular Tom Clancy game. Fans of the series will easily recognize characters inspired by the likes of Splinter CellThe DivisionGhost Recon, and Rainbow Six. However, the characters instead are mere classes that players can customize, so they lack any personality or identifiable features of their own.

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So far this has led to the mish-mash of characters feeling disconnected from one another. With characters being so distinctly inspired by other titles, there is little connecting tissue to connect them to one another in this title. The problem is only made worse by the fact that the game takes its punk aesthetic in some aspects, but doesn’t fully embrace it. Character abilities do not reflect the tone the game seems to advertise, and many of the characters and weapons don’t seem to either. There is something very strange about a Sam Fisher lookalike battling in a concrete jungle covered in graffiti, but that seems to be what XDefiant is trying to sell potential players on. It is surprising to see such issues cropping up, especially since Ubisoft’s recently shut down Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad managed a similar concept without so many issues.

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