It might be smart to start tooling up now, because the consensus from video game developers seems to be that the future will be dark and full of things to shoot. Such is the case in Ubisoft’s upcoming third-person tactical shooter Tom Clancy’s The Division, in which the player takes on the the role of a special operative trying to keep order in a version of New York City that has been ravaged by an outbreak of disease.
Powered by the new Snowdrop Engine, The Division can be played solo but is largely being promoted as a cooperative game, with players invited to team up as different members of the Strategic Homeland Division and take New York back piece by piece. The first gameplay footage was unveiled at E3 2013 and showed a group of friends working together to rescue a group of cops locked up in their station by marauding bandits.
In a new gameplay video that debuted during Microsoft’s E3 2014 press briefing, a group of four players were shown taking a more aggressive approach. First two team members are seen progressing through the eerie silence of New York’s abandoned subway system, using a holographic map to guide their way to a nearby base of operations. Upon reaching the surface level they are joined by two more players, and see that another group has already reached the building and is threatening violence upon those inside.
[Update: Ubisoft has also released a chilling new cinematic trailer for The Division. Watch it below.]
After deciding to take half of the group out “as quietly as possible” (famous last words), the players quickly find their plans derailed by a runner who alerts the rest of the enemies to the situation, and they are soon caught up in a fight where everything seems to go wrong. The players make it through by the skin of their teeth – it would be a bit of an awkward gameplay demo if they were all killed, after all – and prepare to start whipping their new base of operations into shape.
The demo also showcases some new gameplay elements, like a “reconstruction” of what the subway station looked like during the initial outbreak, complete with a terrified family trying to make a run for it. The Division rewards the investigation into this backstory by giving the player a dose of XP. In fact, it’s the details that really make this game look interesting: from the graffiti scrawled over seemingly every surface to the satisfying way that paint cans splatter the environment (and enemies) upon being shot.
One of the players is shown changing up his skills prior to engaging in combat, and strategically uses a small drone with a bright light attached to temporarily blind an enemy before taking him out. Another player can be seen employing non-lethal force using what seems to be a sniper rifle with electric shock projectiles, though any non-lethal elements to this attack are rendered pretty obsolete when another player follows it up with real bullets. It would be interesting to see if it’s possible to simply take down and arrest hostiles instead of simply killing them every time; the Division’s agents are supposed to be the “good guys” after all.