The Division is set to be one of Ubisoft’s biggest and most ambitious releases for the new console generation, which is why the rumor that it won’t hit shelves until 2015 is as much a blessing as it is a curse. It wouldn’t the first Ubisoft game for Xbox One and PS4 to see a delay in its release; upcoming open-world hack-’em-up Watch Dogs will release a full six months after it was originally expected, with a need for extra polish cited as the main reason. Generally speaking, waiting longer for a game to be fully completed is far preferable to getting early access to a buggy, unfinished version.
What we’ve seen of The Division has been suitably tantalizing, with Ubisoft’s Snowdrop engine allowing for the creation of a post-civilization urban environment with finely-tuned weather patterns, breathtaking lighting effects and pinpoint detail. The Division is set in a version of the future where a disease outbreak and economic crash has left the USA a mere skeleton of its former self, and the player is tasked with keeping as much order as humanly possible – while also staying alive – as part of the special forces group after which the game is named. Of course, all those other team members, and enemy teams, are actual players and we saw this first hand at last summer’s E3.
One of the benefits (or not, depending on how you look at it) of Ubisoft originally expecting to release The Division in 2014 is that we’ve already seen a lot of the game in its current state through trailers, gameplay videos and screenshots. A few more screenshots never hurt anyone, though, so check out the latest batch of images from The Division, courtesy of PlayStation Magazine.
It seems evident that there will be different ways to approach combat in The Division. Some of the screenshots show night-time co-op maneuvers with two players, Bronson and Megan, while another pair of screenshots show a non-lethal stealth takedown. Other images show the changed landscape of New York City gripped by the cold winter, and its in the broader landscape views that The Division really does seem to creep towards the edges of photo-realism.
The world looks poverty-stricken, deserted and broken-down, but not to the extent of games like, for example, The Walking Dead. It’s clear, for example, that most of Manhattan has electricity and even in the rougher parts of the city there are Christmas lights in the street and generators for individual use.
Given the recent speculation that Watch Dogs has been graphically downgraded since its original reveal, some gamers might fear that this early look at The Division might not be representative of the finished product. As an exclusively current-gen and PC title, however, there are definitely signs that Ubisoft is trying to push the limit with this impressive-looking RPG.
The Division is expected to release in 2014/2015 for PC, Xbox One and PS4.