Having developed The Division‘s ‘Snowdrop’ game engine in-house, Ubisoft Massive have made the engine available to other Ubisoft teams for future games.
The Division‘s open beta tests has drawn in a wide range of responses from players regarding the title’s gameplay elements, but one thing that appears to be pretty unanimous is that Ubisoft Massive’s game engine, called “Snowdrop”, has been superb in rendering The Division‘s take on a post-apocalyptic New York City.
But according to Ubisoft Massive’s Martin Hultberg, Snowdrop’s impressive capabilities can be used for more than just massive cities, and that the engine may find its way into future Ubisoft titles. Here’s what Hultberg had to say when asked about the future of their engine:
“Internally we try to share as much technology as possible between the studios. It’s just more efficient that way…Now we’ve made that engine available to other studios, and not just the Clancy teams. Any Ubisoft team can use Snowdrop now.”
While there were myriad reasons why The Division was in development for so long, having to develop the Snowdrop engine from scratch played a part.
“In our case we developed the Snowdrop Engine from the ground-up because we needed middleware that could run on the new consoles and PC, while doing everything we wanted to do with the open world, the weather, time of day and such features.”
One of The Division open beta’s more well-received aspects was the PvP Dark Zone mechanic, something which Hultberg states can be incorporated easily enough into other Ubisoft games. Due to the nature of how the Snowdrop engine works, Hultberg has said that there is a chance that the Dark Zone mechanic can be incorporated into other games such as Assassin’s Creed:
“The transitions that we do between the [campaign and Dark Zone] game modes – the fact that we do not use lobbies or menus – is the key part of the Snowdrop Engine…I think that feature could definitely be incorporated into other Ubisoft games like Assassin’s Creed. It’s a really immersive feature that I think fits with pretty much all Ubisoft’s IPs.”
Since the mega-popular Assassin’s Creed franchise is taking a break in 2016, maybe the time off will give the Assassin’s Creed development team a chance to take a good look at the Snowdrop engine’s features, and to evaluate whether the series could use a PvP Dark Zone mechanic in an attempt to freshen things up. Given that Assassin’s Creed: Unity was launched to sub-par reviews, largely due to performance and gameplay related bugs, the Snowdrop engine’s prowess at rendering massive open-worlds seems like a good fit for creating Assassin’s Creed‘s trademark open-world universes.
For all positives that can arise from using the Snowdrop game engine for Assassin’s Creed, that’s not the only big Ubisoft franchise that could benefit from some of Snowdrop’s technical capabilities. As well received as Watch Dogs was, issues regarding the open-world hacking gameplay and the lackluster visuals resulted in a game that some say had the potential to be great, but was only good at best. With Watch Dogs 2 now in the works, perhaps the Snowdrop engine is a stepping stone towards fixing all the shortcomings in Watch Dogs.
Given how good the Snowdrop engine is performing so far, sharing the engine across Ubisoft’s other franchises can only be a good thing. And if Ubisoft and Tobii’s recent team up is any indication, there’s a possibility that Ubisoft may have other plans than just sharing The Division‘s breathtaking visuals across to some of their other games.
Tom Clancy’s The Division is set for launch on March 8, 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.