How HotShot Became XDefiant’s Most Anticipated Game Mode

Competitive arena shooter XDefiant is now available to play for free on Xbox Series X|S, kicking off with a preseason and featuring five Ubisoft franchise-inspired factions – Phantoms, Cleaners, Libertad, Echelon, and DedSec – each with their own unique abilities and skills. Five game modes will also be available at launch: Occupy, Domination, Zone Control, Escort, and HotShot. The last mode in particular has become a hit with players during the game’s early access betas, and Associate Creative Director Scott Crisostomo and Systems Designer Patrick “Aches” Price are here to tell us more.

In HotShot, players must not only eliminate their opponents, but also pick up the bounty tokens that they drop. Picking up a fallen foe’s bounty secures a point for your team, while picking up a bounty from your own fallen teammate denies your opponents that point. The player currently holding the most bounties in the match becomes the HotShot and is marked for all players to see, but also gains enhanced movement and aim down sights (ADS) speed, and, most importantly, earns three points for every bounty they pick up.

“It was a blast to observe,” said Price after last year’s Closed Beta. “Players loved becoming a super soldier with super-fast movements and ADS speed. Watching how players were playing HotShot showed that we were on track when it came to create a mode that players hadn’t seen before.”

Due to the unique abilities of its factions, XDefiant doesn’t feature a Team Deathmatch mode (TDM) at launch. Instead, the developers saw HotShot as a way to satisfy the free-flowing run-and-gun pace of TDM, while still keeping the objective-based philosophy that their faction gameplay was designed for.

“HotShot became almost like a moving objective,” says Crisostomo. “You want to pick up the other team’s bounties, but when there’s an enemy HotShot, you want to take them out. And when your team has a HotShot, you want to protect them.”

Because bounties are worth three times as many points when picked up by the HotShot, what could have been a freeform game mode has an extra layer of depth and strategy. “The smart play is to actually run as a group and don’t try to race to pick everything up,” says Crisostomo. “Instead, get your kills, but call the HotShot over to pick them up.”

With enhanced movement and aiming speed, the HotShot is the most powerful player in the match, but they’ve also got a massive target on their back. Not only does eliminating the HotShot stop the opposing team from cashing in on the sizable point bonus for bounties, but the HotShot also drops three times as many bounties when they’re killed. “We felt like players should be rewarded when they take out the HotShot, since the HotShot has so many advantages,” says Crisostomo. “That means taking out the HotShot and picking up their bounties almost guarantees you’ll be the next HotShot.”

XDefiant launches with four other game modes: In Occupy, teams must earn points by capturing an ever-changing zone. In Domination, teams fight for control of three static zones. Escort sees one team attempt to move a package along a linear path while the other team tries to stall them. Zone Control challenges attackers to capture sequential zones as they progress through a map, while defenders must fight to stop them until time runs out.

Don’t miss your chance to be the HotShot, XDefiant is available now on Xbox Series X|S!

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XDefiant is a free-to-play, first-person online arena shooter where you compete in fast-paced clashes. With cross-play available at launch, you will be able to play with friends on a variety of platforms. Customized Loadouts Choose from a large arsenal of weapons, attachments and devices to optimize the way you play. Combine any weapon with any Faction, and unlock new options as you play to perfect your playstyle. Factions Factions are drawn from iconic Ubisoft worlds and represent distinct classes, each with unique abilities and Ultras. Choose any character from any faction to assemble your team of 6 players. Change your Faction at any point during play to adapt to your strategy. Maps, Modes, and Mayhem Play in a diverse range of 14 maps at launch across several different arena and linear modes including Zone Control, Escort, Occupy, and more. Fight in casual matches or climb the tiers in competitive ranked mode. New Content Every Season Every three months will bring a new season that includes a brand-new Faction, new characters, new maps, new weapons, new cosmetics and events. As a live game, XDefiant will continue to deliver an exhilarating experience season over season, with a wide variety of fresh and fun content. This game leverages Smart Delivery allowing access to both the Xbox One title and the Xbox Series X|S title.