Ubisoft definitely had a busy E3 this year, and one of the games that perhaps didn’t get as much attention as Far Cry 4 or Assassin’s Creed: Unity was The Division. A lot of this has to do with the fact that The Division was originally unveiled at E3 2013, so there wasn’t much in the way of new information about the game being revealed, but Ubisoft did offer a shiny new cinematic trailer titled “Take Back New York,” as well as a gameplay demo showing a group of players working together to take control of a new base of operations.
The Division is set in a near-future version of New York City that has been ravaged by a virus released on Black Friday, leaving the city’s infrastructure in tatters. In response to the crisis, the President signed Directive 51, activating the game’s eponymous agency of operatives and assigning them the task of trying to establish order once more. As a member of the Division, the player must help the vulnerable members of society in New York, and go up against those who are trying to create further destruction and chaos.
To explain some of the details in the new footage, UbiBlog interviewed The Division‘s game director Ryan Barnard at E3 2014 in order to break down some of what was shown. In particular, “Take Back New York” highlighted a group of antagonists called the Cleaners, who have broken down under the mental strain of the viral outbreak and are determined to “cleanse” anyone they suspect of being infected with fire. Barnard warns that it will be dangerous to try and tackle the Cleaners alone, further emphasising The Division‘s status as a multiplayer-focused game.
Although The Division is an RPG with various skill sets, weapons and tools that can be specialized in, Barnard describes it as a “classless RPG.” Players do not have to select a class right at the start of the game, but instead can decide which style of gameplay they enjoy most as they play through it and develop their skills accordingly.
The Division also seems to have something in common with Ubisoft’s recent open world title Watch Dogs, in the sense that it’s possible to use the futuristic technology to gather information from cell phones, security cameras and other devices in order to create a 3D holographic reconstruction – or “echo” – of past events. Players will also have access to special tools and abilities like the Firefly: a small drone that temporarily blinds enemies, similar to a flash grenade.
The long wait for The Division might have dampened some of the gaming community’s collective excitement for it, especially in the wake of disillusionment regarding Watch Dogs, but it looks like it has the makings of a solid RPG and we can’t wait to really see the Snowdrop engine in action.
Despite recent rumors that The Division may get delayed once more and pushed back to 2016, Barnard reaffirmed that it will release in 2015 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.