The Division Interview: PS4/Xbox One Frame Rate, DirectX 12, Anti-Aliasing, Skills And Customization

An all star cast from Ubisoft Massive speaks to GamingBolt about their upcoming tactical third person shooter.

Posted By | On 07th, Nov. 2014 Under Article, Interviews | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet

Ubisoft must be praised for taking market risks with new IPs. Ever since the advent of current generation of consoles, Ubsioft have been consistently experimenting with new IPs like Watch_Dogs and The Crew, and at the same time releasing established franchises like Assassin’s Creed. Tom Clancy’s The Division, which is due for a release in 2015, is possibly Ubisoft’s biggest game ever in terms of innovation and bringing something new to the table.

In order to know more, GamingBolt caught up with an all star cast from Ubisoft Massive which included Anders Holmquist who is the the Technical Director, Axel Rydby, the Design Director and Martin Hultberg, Head of Communications & IP Developer. Check out their response below.

Rashid Sayed: Tom Clancy’s The Division is inspired by real world events like Operation Dark Winter and Directive 51. How much of a challenge it was to depict that in a video game?

Martin Hultberg: One of the things that really set us apart from most other games is that you are in the middle of the ongoing, authentic crisis. This presents very interesting challenges related to nearly all topics of game development such as level design, art, realization and the features you put into the game. The information we got from Operation Dark Winter, Directive 51 and multiple sources of a similar nature helped us create an inspirational and solid framework within which to tackle these different challenges.

Rashid Sayed: Given that the story undertakes serious tones; will the single player have decision taking moments which could define the final outcome of the game?

Axel Rydby: We’re attempting to do what we feel are quite new and unique things with our narrative and how the story in the game’s told and how the game’s structured, so we really don’t want to spoil you on details on this just yet. The player will have many moments where he needs to make snap decisions on how to deal with the situation, but this of course needs to be very finely balanced with how it works playing in a group with friends.

Tom Clancy's The Division

"The skills are a core component of the agent’s toolbox and one important factor in how the player defines his or her role in the game. One thing we’ll be talking more about in the future is the skill modding and this is something that further allows the player to define and refine his or her play style.

Rashid Sayed: The game describes itself as a RPG at its core. With that being said, what kind of skills and talents can the player expect in the game?

Axel Rydby: We’re focusing a lot of effort on making sure to empower the player through our RPG systems, which is why we decided to go with a classless approach. There will be very clear play styles that the player can pursue in different ways, but it’s up to the player to decide how to progress his character and which play style to play at any given moment. The skills and talents are built to support this and you’ve already seen several skills in our E3 demos.

The skills are a core component of the agent’s toolbox and one important factor in how the player defines his or her role in the game. One thing we’ll be talking more about in the future is the skill modding and this is something that further allows the player to define and refine his or her play style. Each skill has a tree with skill mods that both boost the core mechanics of the skill (like damage, health, etc.) but there are also mods that completely change the nature of the skill (turning the Turret into a flamethrower for example).

Skills like the Turret and Seeker Mine are more offensive and DPS focused skills, but there’s also skills like the Pulse that is much more tactical in nature. The talents support and complement the skills and the player’s play style, and we’re going for a wide spread in both to let players define how they want to play the game and come up with original combinations that not even we could think of!

Rashid Sayed: The game has immense depth in terms of weapon, armour and gadget customization which could not be explained via this interview. But from a top level, what can you tell us about them?

Martin Hultberg: Tom Clancy books, movies and games have always featured top of the line hardware. Even the early books featured equipment that was just conceptual or experimental at the time. In light of this, we thought long and hard about the weapons and gadgets we included in the game. We needed tools that could help with creating fun gameplay, so that was key when considering what items to feature. You can expect to see some old friends in the arsenal and also make acquaintance with gear not yet in the field.

Tom Clancy's The Division

"Each weapon has various customization slots that allow the player to change the nature of the weapon in different ways. Adding a new scope increases both the more soft values of a gun but also adds more hard values in terms of stats .

Axel Rydby: Each weapon has various customization slots that allow the player to change the nature of the weapon in different ways. Adding a new scope increases both the more soft values of a gun (like the crosshair, how much you can zoom, etc.) but also adds more hard values in terms of stats (like increased crit chance and damage). Gear can be customized in a similar way, both from a visual perspective and from a gameplay & stats perspective.

If skills and talents are two of the core components in the agent’s toolbox, the weapons and the gear are the other two. It’s all built to complement and synergize with each other, which means that a gear piece will have stats that boost a specific talent, which in turn could boost a skill which go really well with a specific type of weapon. Add all the different customization layers on top of that and I think you have a lot of tools to really define how you want to play the Division.

Rashid Sayed: The Division has a dynamic weather system. I am wondering whether you guys are planning to make that affect the gameplay. One such example is SOE’s upcoming MMO H1Z1 which uses rain as a dynamic element to affect gameplay. Thoughts?

Axel Rydby: Weather impacts your gameplay in different ways, andwe want to empower the player to feel smart in reacting to the weather changing. For example, what if there’s a snowstorm and you can’t see more than 10 feet ahead of you? Well then it might be a good idea to switch out one of your skills to the pulse so enemies won’t sneak up on you and equip a more close quarter weapon like a shotgun or SMG.

Rashid Sayed: The game is already confirmed to be running at 1080p and 30fps on both the PS4 and Xbox One. Were you guys at any time pushing for 60fps? And was there a specific reason why you settled for 30 in the end?

Anders Holmquist: At this point we have no further information to share, but please stay tuned for more updates.

Tom Clancy's The Division (8)

"DirectX 12 brings PC and Xbox development closer, which makes development easier and faster, allowing us to focus more on features.

Rashid Sayed: Talking about the PC version, you guys said it ‘won’t be a port, but a full-fledged, optimized version.’ So how will the PC version differ from console versions? Will the console versions be fairly close?

Anders Holmquist: Indeed the PC version is not a port so it gets just as much love as the consoles, and we will create a great experience on all platforms.

Rashid Sayed: The lighting and Anti-Aliasing looks absolutely wonderful. Can you tell us about what custom AA solution are you using for the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game?

Anders Holmquist: We use a screen-space anti-aliasing technique with custom in-house additions. We’re also continually looking at improving what we have.

Rashid Sayed: Since you guys have your roots in PC gaming, I wanted to ask your thoughts about DirectX 12? Do you think it will bring a massive change for PC and Xbox One games development?

Anders Holmquist: DirectX 12 brings PC and Xbox development closer, which makes development easier and faster, allowing us to focus more on features. It also lets us work closer to “the metal”, the actual hardware, which means we can push performance and visual quality even more.

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  • Psionicinversion

    If the PC version is fairly close to the console version then its bin downgraded to peasant level

    • Ricoh123

      Thus proving that PC gaming is utterly pointless.

      Do you feel upset you spent all that money on hardware for nothing?

    • Psionicinversion

      nope cus my hardware does alot more than the peasant station anyway. Besides witcher 3 will put the consoles in there place besides not upgraded my GPU yet thinking of a 970 but not sure even still GPU owns the consoles. While your getting dropped frames in the SP of COD lmao im running 100+ fps

  • Harold_Finch

    Confirmed 1080p 30fps on both?

    • Lag-Fighting Tactics

      it will be. like most game using the latest SDKs

    • Harold_Finch


    • Mark

      Lol! What a troll……hey Derp, pull off that Pony helmet u fool! Lol

  • Illusive Man

    1080p confirmed.

    • Lag-Fighting Tactics

      well we aren’t asking for 900p like we did for ryse

  • I wish they would give us some more gameplay…

    • Salama

      Yeah i have a small caveat about the damage system. Hopefully it’s not like Borderlands. Every gun just seemed so underpowered.

  • Marc D

    I knew DX12 was going to help the XB1 graphically, I can’t wait till Sony fanboys see the difference it will make..

    • Lag-Fighting Tactics

      Yes true, They have been in denial and salty ever since cboat’s claim 720p-900p was for the life of the system.
      Even funnier the p0nyGAF “experts” claimed the esram was too small for 1080p and proved it through math.

      -yet 1080p happed…..

  • GHz

    1080p 30 on both? Anders Holmquist did not deny it, so thats confirmation right there. That being said, when was it confirmed prior to this interview? This is the 1st I’ve heard of it. The DX12 answer is no brainer. The more access the dev has, the better the news for XB1.

    • Graeme Willy

      Perhaps, it is unreasonable for us to keep asking for full graphics fidelity and 60fps @ 1080p on consoles, which are essentially running high-end, next gen tablet hardware, based on AMD Fusion technology. It seems to have become the gold standard in measuring success in games anymore. Even PC’s with greater hardware than what is in a console have a hard time running these same games at 1080p, AA, AF and all at a consistent 60fps…how is a tablet-console hybrid going to do it? Easy, by dropping post process filtering, shadow resolution detail, the maximum amount of displayable shadow effects, keenly reduced texture resolution in places where people don’t often look, reduced displayable AI/ characters counts on screen at a given time, reducing HDR lighting effects/ dynamic light sources etc.

      Everything comes at a cost. The question is, what awesome effects could we have had if they scaled back the resolution and frames, within reason?

    • mato

      Good answer. But perhaps it is time that games could allow us to choose if we prefer better graphics at 30Hz or fluid 60Hz gameplay with reduced visual effects. I’d prefer the latter, especially for action games.

  • Salama

    The biggest news shouldn’t be about resolution. Jeez… I just hope this dies down after a while of both having the same resolutions and we can focus on games and gaming.

    If the only bragging point of a console is a small power difference that gives you a slight advantage on resolution but lacks on all the other area’s maybe you should start asking for improvement on the other areas and not just wait for games to show small differences on a same game.

    This should be a great time to increase map sizes, bigger gaming worlds, bigger everything but no we focus on such a thing as a resolution to make us hyped of a game.

    Not this game though. Can’t wait for The Division.

  • Guest

    No trinity class system? Well…I might actually buy this game!

  • JerkDaNERD7

    So basically whatever they develop on PC will be very predictable on XOne?

    … whoa!

    • Mark

      That part confused me a bit. Basically the X1 will make use of some advanced tricks from PC……?

    • JerkDaNERD7

      Looking way too hard into it buddy,

      It’s simple, increase productivity, more focus on game design and most of all less bugs. Nothing about 1000teraflops, 4k resolution or 1million bandwidth from cloud.

      Great graphics and gameplay has more to do with design than hardware.

    • Mark

      Whoa, whoa, I’ll do fine without all that bandwidth! U sure r a debbie downer lol. Nah jk. Massive will eventually talk all about DX12 late next year assuming the game drops at that time…….will be fun to read a full EuroGamer interview.

  • Graeme Willy

    I never understand frame rate locking. Anything that can’t achieve a solid 60fps, gets locked to 30…makes no sense. Why not lock it at 35, or 40? Whatever you can do? It’s difficult to tell the difference between 40 and 60, I know because I play PC games all the time. Whether I’m averaging 45 or 60, it’s fluid as heck…but I can indeed tell a difference between 30 and 40.

    • Paul Bernard

      i know this is a bit late, but hopefully u will still see this. the good thing about frame rate locking is that maintains a constant frame rate vs a fluctuating rate. as long as the frame rate is at least 24 fps, the human eye wont see pauses in the image. but if u have the frame rate jumping from 24-60fps and everything in between, u can notice the change making the image look less fluid. i, personally, would rather have locked frame rates rather than unlocked. i think the reason the devs choose to lock at 30 is because its a solid frame rate and anything over 30 is a very minor improvement; think the concept of diminishing returns. but i agree it would be nice to be able to lock at different rates other than 30, if one should choose to do so.

    • NiBlade

      i look thru my eyes everyday, they are human eyes, i can definately see stutters or “pauses” in the image of anything under 45 fps.

    • mato

      I’d disagree here — “anything over 30 is a very minor improvement” — that’s far from, I’m afraid. Most games, especially fast paced ones, are a lot better (playable) in 60Hz. That’s why many devs try hard to reach that goal (e.g. MGS, CoD, etc).

      The best solution to this ever going debate would be a simple option in game settings. Thus everyone could choose what they prefer — better visuals at 30Hz or smoother (and faster) game play at 60Hz.


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