The internet reacts to XDefiant
As has become its habit in recent years, Ubisoft announced a new multiplayer FPS this week. This time, Ubisoft is taking aim at Call of Duty with a free-to-play 6v6 arena game with classes based on other Tom Clancy properties. It’s got character abilities, customizable loadouts, a fast time-to-kill, and the early gameplay looks pretty fun.
Oh, and it’s called XDefiant . Yes, that is really the name. Sorry, I should’ve ripped off that band-aid earlier.
Ubisoft’s ridiculous name has, predictably, been the subject of many internet reactions in the hours since the reveal. Collin MacGregor over at FanByte pointed out that XDefiant sounds like some sort of cheap antivirus software that comes stock on a Dell laptop from 2009. Others confused it with the kids television network DisneyXD for obvious reasons.
(Image credit: Chris Schilling) IGN’s Tom Marks also thought about Disney when he heard the name, but reckons XDefiant sounds more like a 1998 Disney Channel original movie about a band of extreme sports friends. “Tom ‘XD’ Clancy and his crew live the way they ride – to the MAX. But when the gnarly MegaBucks corp. threatens to turn their park into a mall, it’s up them pop shove-it back through the power of skating! They are: the XDefiant.”
It took me longer than it should’ve to realize the name is a play off the emoticon XD, which speaks to the game’s self-proclaimed style of “fast-paced shootouts meet punk rock mosh pits.”
I think Ubi is just trying to say XDefiant (bad mouthfeel) won’t be as self-serious as a traditional Tom Clancy game, but they chose a really goofy phrase to do so. As 10 Second Ninja X game director Dan Pearce noted, it didn’t help that the trailer included a pause and an audible “swooosh” before “punk rock mosh pits.” Dramatic and funny in all the wrong ways.
I can’t stop thinking about the little woosh sound between “it’s fast paced firefights” and “meets punk rock mosh pit.” Whoever edited this trailer needs to apologize to them. pic.twitter.com/xXocGydAgR July 19, 2021
See more There is no shortage of colorful shooters out there nowadays. XDefiant’s art style is different enough that I don’t think anyone will genuinely confuse it with Apex Legends, Overwatch, or Valorant, but I saw that dude with the gas mask in the key art and instantly remembered that Dirty Bomb was a thing. And before that, remember Brink ? I guess Splash Damage was mixing punk rock and shootouts long before Ubisoft.
The most common reaction to my eye has been one of general skepticism. You don’t have to look far on Reddit threads or gaming forums to find folks unenthused by Ubisoft’s next leap into free-to-play multiplayer shooters, especially after Ubi’s dedicated battle royale game Hyper Scape came and went last year with little fanfare. A common sentiment is that, even without the funny name, XDefiant looks a bit generic. “I love me some GAAS, but this looks very very uninspired,” user Ghost of Jhoto said in the trailer’s ResetEra thread .
I do agree that Ubisoft’s reveal trailer focused on all of its least original ideas. Bubble shields and flamethrowers are well-worn territory in FPSes. What I want to know is why XDefiant’s shooting (a subject executive producer Mark Rubin kept bringing up) feels better than what’s out there. In fact, the glimmer of potential I keep coming back to is the small snippets of gameplay that Ubisoft shared with the press. Instead of slow-pan shots of a soldier holding a laser shield, we get brief glimpses at what looks like really fluid combat.
Less common, but still definitely out there, are the folks like me that are always willing to try the newest FPS on the block. “Terrible name, but I’m completely onboard a f2p, fast-paced arena shooter. Looks similar to [Black Ops 4] when it comes to team abilities, but mostly being able to run and gun solo,” said SecondNature on ResetEra. As someone who doesn’t always want the stress of Rainbow Six Siege or battle royale and isn’t feeling the latest Call of Duty , there aren’t many worthwhile alternatives.
(Image credit: unlikely-garage-8135 on Reddit) The loudest voices by far, though, are coming from the Tom Clancy traditionalists. Many fans feel burned by Ubisoft for slapping Tom Clancy’s name, a label previously associated with realistic, tactical military games like the original Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon, on an arcadey arena shooter. Considering Ubisoft teased the announcement by saying a new Tom Clancy game is in the works, the reveal of a very un-Clancy game stung even harder.
“Not sure how I feel about this game having Tom Clancy in its title. Why not just call it XDefiant instead if all the characters there are new and made up? It’s as if they just slapped it on there for marketing,” said Reddit user Jindouz .
They’re definitely right that the Tom Clancy name is purely there for marketing. It’s important to remember that Clancy had no involvement in most of the series that bear his name, including the three games XDefiant is using for its classes—Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, and The Division. The Clancy label was only ever a signal that said, “Hey, this is a modern military game with a tactical edge.”
(Image credit: Thom Clancy) Now the popularity of straight-laced military fare has fallen in favor of more colorful, personality-driven worlds, and Ubi is bringing the name it bought along for the ride.
For what it’s worth, Tom Clancy’s son Thom Clancy, a chill guy that sells books and streams on Twitch (and says he isn’t affiliated with Ubisoft at all), thinks XDefiant looks fun . Though he “could do without the X.”
Couldn’t we all.
Morgan is one of PC Gamer’s resident young people. He would love to spend more time playing weird stealth games and immersive sims, but he’s still waiting for Warzone shaders to install.
She’s an Astronaut. She’s an Entrepreneur. How These 2 Moms Partnered to Make STEAM Fashion for All
When Jaya Iyer saw an astronaut’s drawing of a dinosaur in space, she saw an out-of-this-world business opportunity. Now, thanks to a new Netflix show, she’s hoping to see sales skyrocket.
Today, the Netflix series Motherhood in Focus debuts an episode interviewing former NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg about balancing her work in space and motherhood on earth. She’ll be wearing a dress she and Iyer designed for Iyer’s fashion line.
The astronaut and entrepreneur partnered over their shared mission to help promote STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art, and math — education and to break down gender stereotypes in clothing.
Nyberg, in addition to being an astronaut and mechanical engineer, is also a textile artist. During a mission on the International Space Station in 2013 she had sewn a stuffed dinosaur toy to connect with her then-3-year-old, dinosaur-obsessed son. Iyer had come across the astronaut’s art while perusing Nyberg’s website and reached out. The partnership with Iyer was “a perfect fit,” says Nyberg. The stuffed animal inspired the “Dinos in Space” print, now on clothing and handbags.
Iyer founded her educational apparel brand Svaha after she was unable to find a girl’s style outer-space T-shirt for her 2-year-old daughter who dreamed of being an astronaut. She was an apparel buyer for the novelty retailer ThinkGeek and has a background in fashion merchandising. She built her brand from a $30,000 Kickstarter campaign in 2015 into an online business with about $2.5 million in 2020 revenue and four employees. Most of Svaha’s items cost under $70.
In line with its mission, Svaha has steered clear of gender-specified labels, sticking to “adult” and “kid” only.
“I don’t think that any clothing should specifically be for someone,” says Iyer, “Anyone can wear whatever they want, and be whatever they want to be.”
Uniting with like-minded STEAM enthusiasts has been key to Iyer’s strategy. Promotions through such nonprofits as the Association for Women in Science, GDI (Girl Develop It), and DIY Girls have been a pillar of the company’s marketing.
Partner organizations are given a link to share with their members, and may also sign up as brand affiliates to earn a percentage back from each sale. Members of these groups find Svaha’s link in their organization’s newsletters and social-media pages, and the partnership is also often marketed at industry conferences. Up to 15 percent of each referred sale is donated to the nonprofits.
“That way, I’m giving back to that organization, and I’m getting exposure,” Iyer says. “And I would rather give [money] to them than give it to Facebook.” She says she used to spend up to $1,000 a day on Facebook and now spends about $200 a day.
Svaha also offers a loyalty program to individual customers who refer the brand to others. Iyer says Svaha has a customer return rate of 75 percent. Word-of-mouth, too, helps the company expand its reach.
At one point, Iyer had tried hiring a marketing firm to reach the STEAM audience, but it didn’t work out. “The customer who is buying this product is different than your regular customer,” says Iyer. “It is difficult for a third party to understand this customer base.”
Teaming up with Nyberg takes Svaha’s partnership strategy to a new level, with a celebrity endorsement and a high-profile product placement. On the Netflix show, Nyberg discusses her collaboration with Svaha.
“It will definitely give credibility to our brand,” says Iyer. Sales are already pacing 20 percent ahead of last year, she says.
What’s more, Nyberg has been talking about the collaboration in interviews and promoting the Netflix episode to her social-media followers. Svaha will promote clips from the show on its social-media channels and in newsletters. As a small-business owner, Iyer says, “this kind of exposure means a lot.”
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