Last week the media had the opportunity for a hands-on event with Ubisofts soon to be released, The Division 2. This wasn’t the first time that we have had the chance to test The Division 2 as there was a PvP focused event a couple weeks ago that addressed what players could expect from the Dark Zones. In the most recent event, we were able to dive into The Division 2’s PvE content, which covered the entire spectrum from creating a new character, all the way to end game. With so much to cover, we sat down with Keith Evans, the Senior Lead Designer, and asked about what players can expect from The Division 2 and how it compares to The Division 1. Below is the full video interview, as well as some excerpts from our chat.
MMORPG: In terms of the Division 1 and The Division 2, is there going to be any kind of overlap? Does your character have anything to do with each other from the first to the second?
Keith Evans: You’re playing as a new agent, you kind of get to go through that whole power journey of the 1 through 30 campaign. Plus theres a new toolbox of stuff for you to unlock, so it’s not carrying over from the first game, but we do have a live series of challenges in the first game called Shields, and players that have been knocking those off in the first game will have some things waiting for them in the sequel.
MMORPG: The original did an amazing job of making a true to feel New York City, with the map being really similar, and then from what we’ve seen, it looks like you have the Capitol Building, you’ve got The White House, so it looks like DC’s going to be pretty true to form as well, but how close is it to the real DC, and to what extent will players be able to explore?
Keith Evans: So, we started from actual satellite imagery, which is a new thing we’re doing on the sequel. We’ve kind of expanded our toolset on the Snowdrop engine to be able to pull in satellite imagery to get a true 1 to 1. So, I think the city is more accurate than Manhattan. If you go back there were certain streets we took out and things like that, but it was very very close and it felt real. This is that even pushed further, but then, time being applied to that. You start with this 1 to 1 Washington DC, but then what’s been really fun about that is layering on the 7 months of overgrowth and flooding and destruction and I think it’s going to be very familiar to people who know DC very well because it’s 1 to 1, but a totally new take on it.
MMORPG: One of the biggest gripes players had about The Division 1 was that the difficulty of missions revolved primarily around upping the damage of enemies which resulted in players’ considering them bullet sponges, will this be addressed in The Division 2?
Keith Evans: Yeah, it’s definitely been something we’ve been focused on the whole time. In what you’re playing today, that feeling of “bullet sponge” the time to kill, is much faster, the lethality is way higher both for you and the AI, so that’s been our core goal where we’re a cover shooter right, so we really want to push you to feel like you want to make smart cover choices because the AI are lethal to you , but you’re also attacking at smart moments to get the right headshot to down an enemy. Of course, we’re also an RPG right, so stats and tracking your DPS that matters too, but we’re trying to add a layer of realization on top of what we had in the first game to make it feel authentic and real. So, you’ll see a lot of the AI actually wear armor now that you can shoot off. Even henchmen might have a helmet on so you can’t get that one-shot headshot, but you can shoot their helmet off. This time we just wanted to feel more real and be more lethal throughout, but still give you some combat challenges.
MMORPG: In The Division 1 we primarily saw there was a shared world with the people in your party, but then when you hit the Dark Zones, that’s where the shared world felt more real. Will we be seeing any changes to that in terms of PvE specific content, I know the Dark Zones have changed a little bit in that realm but will there be other PvE areas that will be specifically “shared world” where you’ll be able to see random players?
Keith Evans: Yeah, the game kind of has its two fronts, so on the PvP side of things it’s easier for you to get in with other players because we’re launching with an actual organized PvP platform where you can just jump in and play some really intense 10-minute matches. Plus, the Dark Zones this time are normalized so it’s a fairer experience where lots of players can get in, and it doesn’t matter so much about being at the exact same power level. It’s more about you twitch skills and abilities. And then, on the open world side of things, there’s more shared spaces, plus we’ll have clans this time, your clan has a shared social space. You can get in and explore the world with more of your friends and see how everyone looks. Then the world in general is much, much more alive with the living world simulations, so even when you’re just out on the field headed to a mission there’s just a lot more stuff feel active and alive.
We hope you enjoyed the excerpts from the extensive video review. Keep your eyes peeled for more in-depth coverage, including an end-game video and our full hands-on impressions of The Division 2. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 releases March 15th on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox 1.