Will Tom Clancy’s The Division Radically Change MMOs Forever?

We take a deeper look in to what Ubisoft’s latest has to offer.

Posted By | On 06th, Jul. 2013 Under Article, Editorials | Follow This Author @JakeDem0


At E3 this year Ubisoft Massive gave us our first look at The Division. Since then, it seems like everyone’s interested in getting their hands on this new Tom Clancy title. The Division is currently scheduled for release at the end of 2014 and Massive is trying a new approach to gaming with the new generations of consoles on their way.

While The Division follows in the footsteps of most of the other Tom Clancy titles and is a military fiction, the gameplay that is being designed for it is quite a wide departure from what has been done in previous games. From what has been shown of the game it could prove to be a winning formula. There is a lot to follow in regards to this game and it could easily change the way future online and MMO games are designed moving forward.

The Division drops players into the world as an independent agent of the U.S. Government who only becomes active under extreme circumstances. While this is obviously a fictional representation of New York City, the idea that the game is based around is anything but far-fetched. Tom Clancy got the idea for this game from a real military operation called Dark Winter.

The purpose of this operation, which took place during June, 22-23 in 2001 was done to measure how adequate (or inadequate,) the continental United States’  infrastructure was during events like widespread biological attacks that would affect most of the nation. The objective of the operation was to measure how quickly things spiral out of control, and what could be done to correct it.

"With a plethora of skills that can seemingly be changed on the fly the player will have plenty of flexibility, especially when working together with others. Some of these abilities will allow you to pinpoint enemies within a parameter, this ability also tips off any allies you would have in the area with you too."

After the two day operation what was discovered was certainly not a pretty sight regarding the level of dependency we’ve formed on our current infrastructure. That is exactly what The Division is about, the country falling apart after a man-made biological attack cripples new York City at the very least, if not the entire country.

The player’s objective is to survive any way they can while trying to piece together the mysteries revolving around the attack. It’s some pretty scary stuff to be honest, but it also is going to make a great video game!

Our players must mobilize, search and secure resources, weapons and  allies to survive the collapse of society. Ubisoft is describing The Division as a persistent multiplayer tactical third-person shooter action RPG, which is a mouth full. The scope of this project still has not been fully realized by those of us who are following the game, so there are a lot of questions still left to answer.

Ubisoft is being tight-lipped regarding their new title and with over a year until it’s release they’ve only given us a peek at what we can expect from this game. From the looks of it there are a lot of nice features we can look forward to.

The Division has a great mixture of single player, cooperative and competitive missions-types that promise to keep any player interested. They also have a unique set of tools available to them to complete the variety of missions the player is being asked to undertake.

With a plethora of skills that can seemingly be changed on the fly the player will have plenty of flexibility, especially when working together with others. Some of these abilities will allow you to pinpoint enemies within a parameter, this ability also tips off any allies you would have in the area with you too.

" The player calls up the map from their watch, much like the inventory and instead of it being displayed in the corner of your screen or taking you out of the game to examine it, a 3D representation of the city raises from under your feet."

There are also other abilities like homing grenades and in some cases even the option to act as a spotter for a friend while you’re not even a part of their squad. With all those wonderful little toys that Ubisoft has shown us already, we can’t help but imagine what they’re keeping under wraps.

The Division is a gorgeous looking game from what we’ve seen so far. The textures and character models are wonderfully designed and Ubisoft is clearly taking advantage of the new generation of hardware the right away. The game’s interface design also has a lot going for it. The minimalistic heads up display is only shown when the player inquires about something.

For instance, the weapon and ammo count are displayed in a small, transparent window that gives us all the information we need without being intrusive and fades after a moment. They’ve done a similar thing with inventory, by hiding the interface in your character’s watch.

The map is a particularly interesting design too. The player calls up the map from their watch, much like the inventory and instead of it being displayed in the corner of your screen or taking you out of the game to examine it, a 3D representation of the city raises from under your feet. This detailed and fresh approach of designing a map looks great and seems to function well. The map will orients itself to you depending on what direction you’re pointed in and will also update in real-time of what is happening in your area of the city.

The development team has also added that ability to interact with the game from a mobile device. In what Ubisoft is calling “companion gaming,” the player is given a top-down view of the city as if they were playing in real-time strategy game. This is not just some passive way to check in on your friends or see what’s going on in a particular part of the city though.

"Companion gaming allows you to spot for allies on the ground who may need a bit extra help and will even allow players to make attacks on enemies to further assist friendlies."

This feature allows you to spot for allies on the ground who may need a bit extra help and will even allow players to make attacks on enemies to further assist friendlies. While this companion gaming is obviously not the focus of the title, it’s certainly a bit extra that people wouldn’t normally expect to see. Mechanics like this fit nicely into a persistent world like The Division.

With all these features and interesting game mechanics being introduced this is definitely worth the look. This is a new approach for Tom Clancy games and Ubisoft is truly embracing the next generation mentality.

They are taking a brave new approach to what could have easily been nothing more than a third person action game but instead are taking it online in a big way.

Ubisoft Massive has set their sights on the future and seem to really have a successful development plan for a game like this. The Division is currently slated for release on the PS4 as well as the XBox One. Unfortunately PC fans don’t look like they’re getting access to this game anytime soon. Ubisoft has flirted with the idea of porting it over to the PC if support is high enough to warrant it, so a PC version may not be out of the question in the future.

The Breakdown Trailer

Will The Division make waves on the new generation of consoles when it’s released, and will it actually change the way we play together online? We are all going to have to just wait and see, but from what has been shown at E3 thus far, Ubisoft is on the right track for delivering us some great new features at a level of quality we’ve come to expect from them.


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