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Free-to-play shooter Fragpunk is Xbox’s wacky answer to Valorant

Key art shows Fragpunk characters.
NetEase
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This story is part of our Summer Gaming Marathon series.

Fragpunk is a new free-to-play shooter from NetEase that puts a unique spin on Valorant. It’s scheduled to release on Xbox consoles and PC.

The announcement comes from today’s Xbox Game Showcase, where Microsoft revealed several new titles coming to Xbox consoles. Fragpunk was among the list of games featured, and it was one of the show’s most surprising announcements. The project comes from NetEase, the publisher behind the upcoming Marvel Rivals. Digital Trends got more details on the game ahead of the reveal in a hands-on gameplay session.

FragPunk: Official World Premiere Trailer - Xbox Games Showcase 2024

On its surface, Fragpunk bears a lot of similarities to Valorant. It’s a team-based hero shooter where two teams fight over zones. One team has to defend their zones from the other, who are trying to plant a bomb in them. In addition to standard shooting, it features an eclectic cast of characters with specific abilities that operate on cooldowns.

What’s unique, though, is its card system. At the start of each round, each team draws three cards that they can activate. Those cards create special rules for the round. For instance, one team may activate a card that grants their bullets life steal, letting them drain health from enemies.

A character deflects a shot in Fragpunk.
NetEase

Those effects can get extremely wacky. One round I played turned the ground into ice, allowing my team to perform very long slides. The other team activated a card that turned them into zombies after they were killed, forcing my team to kill them a second time. Another effect I saw gave the enemy team giant heads, making them easier to shoot. The concept might be familiar to those who played 2023’s Friends vs. Friends, an indie shooter with a similar hook.

Based on what I’ve played so far, Fragpunk feels like a clever iteration of a proven concept. The gunplay is precise, with high-impact weapons, and the card system makes every round feel unique. It feels like a healthy midpoint between a competitive shooter and an arcade multiplayer game, which should make for a more approachable alternative to the daunting Valorant.

The development team tells me that it plans to implement some form of battle pass structure for the release, with new characters getting added as part of that. New cards will be added to the game over time, as well.

Fragpunk is in development for Xbox and PC. It’s slated to launch in 2025.

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Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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