The Division: Scoping out Ubisoft’s surprise new open-world IP

The Division

By on June 26, 2013 at 4:24 pm

The Division was one of a mere handful of genuine surprises at E3: a non-sequel, albeit situated in the well-worn world of Tom Clancy fiction, that was kept under wraps until its announcement at the Ubisoft press conference.

Yet, at the same time, there was nothing unexpected about its showing. As an open world, online shooter-RPG, The Division brings together a clutch of familiar elements in predictable fashion.

It’s set in a contemporary New York City ravaged by a viral outbreak. Civilisation has been brought to its knees and lawlessness abounds. You can tell, because the city streets are filled with trash and overturned cars — something you simply don’t see in New York. The titular Division is an elite group of government agents dispatched in case of such an emergency and you play as one of them.

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Of course, your friends play as them, too. This is a “next-gen” game where, much like today’s PC, consoles are expected to be basically always connected to the internet, and so singleplayer and cooperative multiplayer modes can merge freely and persistently. You team up with your friends into groups and wander around the open world city completing missions together. Missions are marked on your map as “events” and you simply travel to their location to trigger them.

One mission we saw demonstrated involved rescuing a squad of police from a building where they were being held hostage. This involved rocking up to the building, ducking into sticky cover and shooting a bunch of enemies. The best bit was when one of the Division agents used a grenade to flush out an enemy hunkered down behind a car: instead of throwing the grenade, he rolled it along the ground and the “smart” grenade navigated a path between obstacles to hit its intended target.

Once the police hostages were freed, the agents gained XP and levelled up their skills and shopped for some new gear. It all looks like a gritty, urban take on Borderlands with the added feature of more players existing in the same world.

As with almost every Ubisoft title these days, The Division also integrates your tablet into the experience. Tablet players can participate from an aerial view, as if they’re piloting a drone, and in the sequence we saw were able to target enemies with airstrikes and buff their co-op partners with extra health and a damage boost. It seems unlikely this kind of tablet play will provide a satisfying experience in itself, but Ubisoft has also yet to reveal how players will access it. Will it be a bonus for anyone who buys the full game? Or will it be a separate free or paid-for app?

The Division appears to be the next logical step in the evolution of Ubisoft’s approach to open world games. And it’s indicative of the AAA game makers’ determination to eliminate the used game market through always-online play with your friends and a literal city full of mission content. It may not be terribly surprising, but it should provide sufficient co-op shooter enjoyment.

14 comments (Leave your own)

Makes me wonder…
Don’t the Americans have any other cities OTHER than New York? It’s been abused in the movies and in gaming the last few years.

Does look awesome though.

 

lordapophis:
Makes me wonder…
Don’t the Americans have any other cities OTHER than New York? It’s been abused in the movies and in gaming the last few years.

Does look awesome though.

New york is simply the most impressive and Iconic of U.S cities. Also it’s probably the most “Advanced” of U.S cities there’s really no comparison to places like Times square and if you want to show “the world is messed up” in a meaningful way you show the place that’s fallen the furthest.

As for the game the most impressive thing for me wasn’t the grenade but the smooth closing of the car door.
My jaw dropped at that point, the movement looked fluid and interesting something alot of games struggle with really looking forward to getting this on PC.

 

Yeah it looks interesting and I will be keen to give it a go. As for it being New York, it is just a very recognisable location. But it would be nice to see different American locations being used in games.

 

Snowdrop is fast becoming my favorite engine, and this sounds like it could be a lot of fun.

 

Must admit, the more I see this game, the more I think its one I can get into, and even having a drone is a pretty unique idea. Plus, he used his hand to close the door. HANDS TO CLOSE A DOOR. AMAZING.
RPG MMO by in the Tom Clancy universe, interesting indeed.

 

Might have to try this ‘using hands to close doors’ thing sometime.
They made it look real good in that video.

 

I hope it has good netcode.

 

Really wish they wouldn’t ruin good games with uPlay bullshit on top of Steam.

 

David Wildgoose,

Please correct me if I am wrong and you have some inside info. Ubisoft hasn’t stated that it’s coming to PC yet, only PS4 and xBox.

The game looks great and If I have to I might get a New Console to play this game as its the only one that was of any interest out of E3 for me.

 

kablekill:
David Wildgoose,

Please correct me if I am wrong and you have some inside info. Ubisoft hasn’t stated that it’s coming to PC yet, only PS4 and xBox.

The game looks great and If I have to I might get a New Console to play this game as its the only one that was of any interest out of E3 for me.

They got people to circle a petition to create hype for the game, it’s coming to PC at some point and it being infested with uPlay is a given.

 

It’s probably not as good as it looks (which applies to virtually all E3 games) but still, it does look pretty damn good.

If only I was remotely interested in purchasing an 8th gen console.

 

Bicketybam,

Fallout 3 was set in Washington, D.C., Fallout New Vegas was set in (ironically) Vegas, and even The Last Of Us is set in Austin, Texas and Boston, Massachusetts. All post-apocalyptic, all different cities.

 

nacimota:
It’s probably not as good as it looks (which applies to virtually all E3 games) but still, it does look pretty damn good.

If only I was remotely interested in purchasing an 8th gen console.

Looks like it’s coming to PC anyway so who cares about the consoles ;)

 

sane: They got people to circle a petition to create hype for the game, it’s coming to PC at some point and it being infested with uPlay is a given.

Do we have anything to prove that this game is coming to PC? Because this is like saying GTA5 is coming to PC.

So far there hasn’t been any update/comms from the Dev’s to say that this is happening.

 
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