Ubisoft’s upcoming Call of Duty-like first-person online shooter, XDefiant, doesn’t have a release date yet, and now we know why. According to Ubisoft, the free-to-play arena FPS failed an important first-party certification test in August, delaying the entire launch process.
First announced in 2021 as Tom Clancy’s XDefiant, it mixes various Ubisoft franchises like Ghost Recon, Watch Dogs, and Far Cry into a single, shared-universe online shooter. Earlier this year, I played a few hours of the game’s beta and walked away excited to play more thanks to fast, responsive combat that felt similar to the gunplay found in the Xbox 360 era of Call of Duty. However, after that test, XDefiant failed an important regulatory step in the process of bringing a game to consoles, and now Ubisoft can’t say when players will get a chance to play the online FPS.
On September 11, Ubisoft’s Executive Game Director Mark Rubin announced the failed test in a surprisingly open and transparent blog post. As explained by Rubin, games aren’t just released onto consoles and platforms without any checks. Companies like Sony and Microsoft test every game released for their machines to make sure they function properly and don’t break anything. To be clear, these certification and compliance checks aren’t looking at how well a game performs or if it has buggy cutscenes or audio. It’s just meant to make sure the game follows the platform’s rules, doesn’t brick your machine, and works with each vendor’s various built-in features, like friend lists and trophies.
According to Rubin, Ubisoft began the certification process at the end of July and got its first results back in August. XDefiant didn’t pass.
“We realized then that we had more work related to compliance than we had anticipated,” said Rubin. “If it had passed, then we would have been able to ship at the end of [August]. But it didn’t and so we have spent the last 3-4 weeks fixing those issues and getting ready to do another submission.”
Rubin says the game is currently in the part of the process that involves the devs finalizing their submission build and expects it to be sent back for certification “in a little less than two weeks.” If that build passes certification with no issues, then Rubin suggests XDefiant could be released in September. However, he was clear that this might not happen, and the shooter could partially fail this new round of testing and get a “conditional pass.” In that scenario, which Rubin says is likely, the game would need a day-one patch to reach final compliance with the console makers. That would take extra work and time, pushing the game’s final release date into October.
Why Ubisoft is telling fans about the failed test
So why are Ubisoft and Rubin being so open and transparent about what is often kept behind closed doors? To be clear, XDefiant isn’t some weird outlier. Plenty of games fail “cert” and have to get resubmitted, we just don’t hear about it as delays like that are built into their timeframes for release.
According to Rubin, being open like this is by design, as he and the team have avoided the “typical route” most games follow during development, citing how they have let players hop online and play the shooter long before it was finished, calling the betas “real tests” and not marketing events.
“So, when it comes to when we will release, the real answer is ‘as soon as we can,’” wrote Rubin. “And we will continue to update you with more info when we have it.”
“To conclude, we set out since the concept of this game to be more transparent with our community and to listen to our players and act on their feedback. We’ve even shown that we will add features in the middle of development based on player requests. Map Voting which is in now and an S&D-like mode that is coming later are two examples of this. We want this to be your game!”