In most ways, The Division 2 is functioning the way most sequels usually do- rather than looking to reinvent the wheel, it’s taking the things that worked in its predecessor and doubling down on them, while looking at the things that didn’t and attempting to improve upon them. One way it does differ quite a lot from The Division, though, is with its map. While the first game was set in the urban jungle of a chaos-ravaged New York City in the middle of a deadly winter, The Division 2 is set in Washington D.C. during summer time, ripe with flora and fauna.
But the changes aren’t just visual- according to associate creative director Chadi El-Zibaoui, the setting of Washington D.C. allows The Division 2 to have a lot more variety in its map. While speaking with Gadgets 360, El-Zibaoui talked about how The Division 2 has plenty of areas that differ from each other in terms of how they’re designed, with some being more open than others, and others hewing closer to the urban environments of the first game.
“There is the narrative on one side; it really supports our universe and the fantasy of The Division,” El-Zibaoui said. “Purely on the level design side – I am a former level designer, so very attached to that – compared to New York City, which is very beautiful but built on a grid, Washington D.C. has much more variety.
“You have big open areas, you still have residential developmental areas that are ‘close to Manhattan’, except for the height – those areas will feel familiar. Then you have the government areas with massive buildings. Each of those areas have different layouts, but the thing that is most interesting, and brings the most to the game, are the huge open areas.”
According to El-Zibaoui, this variety also has an impact on combat scenarios and how players choose to approach them, what with the map inherently offering different and varying ways for players to make use of the environment- which is something that is reflected in the Dark Zones as well, and how each of them differs from each other.
“There are many more ways to approach [a situation]; it’s not just a case of turning a corner and facing enemies,” he said. “This also benefits the three Dark Zones, which are very different in terms of level design. The biggest advantage of Washington DC is the variety we get just by recreating the city.”
The Division 2 recently exited its private beta (you can read our impressions through here), and will be going into an open one on March 1, which will run up to March 4 (progress won’t be carried over, however). The game itself launches in full on March 15 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.