The Division: Why Ubisoft Made the Game a Third-Person Shooter

The Division Beta Success

We chat with Julian Gerighty, the associate creative director for The Division, about why Ubisoft has decided to make the game a third-person shooter.

As one of the biggest games arriving in 2016, gamers are eager to see more of what Tom Clancy's The Division has in store. Taking place in a virus-ridden New York City, the setting and narrative are unlike anything seen in a video game before, but it's no secret that many parallels have been drawn between the forthcoming blockbuster and Bungie's Destiny. While the loot-gathering qualities certainly seems reminiscent of Ubisoft's new IP, one of the largest differences happens to be the the fact that The Division is a third-person shooter.

Given the success Destiny has experienced as a first-person affair, many may have thought that the genre would have lent itself quite well to The Division in lieu of the final third-person romp. According to a recent interview we conducted with the game's associate creative director Julian Gerighty, however, it was explained that there was much thought put into how the game would play out. With plans to incorporate a number of different core gameplay mechanics, Gerighty explained that third-person seemed like the best way to go.

GR: Why did you opt to go third-person with The Division?

"That's a good question. I think it fits the cover-based gameplay so well, and that's really what we wanted to do. If you close your eyes and think "Okay, we have this incredibly detailed real-world city, it's open-world, it's a cover-based shooter, there's exploration, there are gadgets." Would first-person make sense? Not particularly. It's better suited to a third-person experience."

The Division Last Man Battalion Faction

Truthfully, had the game instead gone the first-person route, then the comparisons to Destiny would have been in record-setting numbers. Of course, it's almost ridiculous to suggest that Ubisoft chose the third-person genre to simply avoid such lines being drawn by fans, as the aesthetic of the game as a whole seems perfectly suited to the gameplay mechanics that Gerighty and his team had in mind for the initial concepts of The Division.

Since the MMO-like software has been in development for quite a while now, it's obvious that the execution on the third-person aspect of it took a while to nail down. That said, the team at Massive appears to have done a rather bang-up job based on our ample hands-on time with the game. Hopefully the beta-based experience is just a taste of what fans can expect from the finished title, but it won't be much longer until dedicated followers will find out for themselves.

The Division arrives for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 8, 2016.

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