Ubisoft raised eyebrows at this year’s E3, joining in on the slew of console MMO announcements at the show by introducing gamers and press alike to Tom Clancy’s The Division. The Division is an upcoming online third-person open world RPG (with an MMO twist) in development over at Ubisoft Massive (the fine folks who brought us World in Conflict).
Despite how technologically advanced the modern world may be, Ubisoft intends to show us how vulnerable we really are in The Division. Forget all-out nuclear war or a massive terrorist attack, in The Division, chaos erupts following the outbreak of a deadly virus. Think the movie Contagion with Matt Damon. The outbreak occurs on Black Friday, America’s busiest shopping day of the year, and spreads rapidly as a result.
Three weeks after the virus’ spread, the world has come to a screeching halt and society has plunged into chaos. Seemingly prepared for everything, the American government invokes ‘Directive 51’ and activates a unit of autonomous agents known as ‘The Division’ to handle the situation. That’s where you, the player, come in. As a Division agent, you’ll explore the city of New York either solo or in a group with friends. While the game features a main storyline, players can explore the environment and assist those in need. With resources like food and ammo in short supply, you’ll have to take on both AI and even rival players in order to survive.
Gameplay in The Division should be familiar to anyone who has played a tactical third-person cover-based shooter before. You’ll move from cover to cover, peek over and shoot at the enemy. The basic shooting mechanics looked like pretty standard fare. There are RPG elements, however. Your character will earn experience and level up, unlocking new skills and even gadgets to put to use in combat. Being an RPG, the hunt for phat lewt will be integral to the experience, so you’ll always want to be on the lookout for impressive new pieces of hardware.
What really piqued my interest with The Division wasn’t necessarily the interesting background story, compelling next-gen graphics, or even the gameplay. Instead, what caught my attention was the unique way Ubisoft is implementing the game’s mobile companion app. Many developers are extending the game experience outside of their games using various companion apps, but Ubisoft Massive is really taking things to a whole new level. The Division’s tablet app actually lets you play with your friends in real-time as an airborne drone. Drones will feature their own progression path and play an important team role. You’ll be able to scout, heal or buff your friends, take out defenses, or even rain down fiery death with a barrage of missiles.
This sort of cross-platform play and the ability to stay with your game (and your friends) even while on the go is the sort of thing that could perhaps define the next generation of gaming. Fortunately for Ubisoft, it looks like the studio is positioning itself on the forefront of what could be a really exciting trend.
Look for The Division on XBOX One and PlayStation 4 in 2014. Consider yourself a proud member of the PC master race and want to see The Division on PC? Make your voice heard and sign the petition!
Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB