It’s been a difficult journey for Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, and its accompanying battle royale shooter Warzone 2. While the now renamed Warzone Caldera set the benchmark for competitive FPS games, changes to MW2 relating to time-to-kill (TTK), movement, UI, and loadouts have drawn increasing criticism. Now, XDefiant, the new Ubisoft FPS game which combines characters from Rainbow Six, The Division, Ghost Recon, and Splinter Cell, is claiming a big Twitch viewership amid talk of an extended beta, with many of its mechanics seemingly designed to win over disillusioned CoD fans.
As of this writing, according to statistics site Twitch Tracker, the average Twitch viewership for XDefiant, during its closed beta, stands at precisely 32,507 over the last seven days. Compare that to Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (which includes Warzone 2) at 28,025, or even the beloved Warzone 1, 30,773, and there’s some encouraging signs of initial popularity.
The XDefiant closed beta runs from April 13 to April 23, though there is the possibility that it may continue for longer. Ubisoft executive producer Mark Rubin (who, funnily enough, previously served in the same role on the Call of Duty series), says that, owing to a few technical issues and delays, the developer may extend the XDefiant beta in order to compensate.
“If all goes well and the servers finally gain some stability then I think we should look at extending the beta,” Rubin says. “But I have to see what that would mean for the team.”
So, what is it that XDefiant offers, and how does this potentially solve some of the issues from the latest CoD? Primarily, XDefiant seems to provide a more balanced and equitable range of weapons – every gun has strengths and weaknesses, and each is similarly viable in different situations, as opposed to Call of Duty which has been criticised for over-buffing a few choice weapons.+
There are 14 maps in XDefiant, something which is bound to appeal to players left cold by the debatably disappointing map pool in CoD Modern Warfare 2.
The time-to-kill is also a lot more generous – one of the most severe, ongoing issues in the latest CoD and Warzone 2 is how quickly you seem to die. Gameplay in XDefiant is also praised for its speed and responsiveness, allowing for the more twitch-based movement favoured by committed FPS players.
If you want to try out XDefiant, you need a Ubisoft account, and to enter your email over at the XDefiant beta sign-up page. If you’re accepted, you will receive a code for your platform of choice.