I'm sure many would argue that The Division
was Ubisoft's biggest surprise at E3. Stating the game will be an innovative open-world action RPG, set to redefine the genre, is a big promise to make. However, from what's been seen of the gameplay
so far, it looks like Ubisoft may be onto something.
Via their official blog, Ubisoft have revealed more details of the game for people that are eager to know more. Game Director Ryan Barnard explains how the city of New York is at the player's disposal to restore, and that they will see what impact their actions have around them. The game has been constructed in a way that invites players to restore power and build up what was once lost.
A big part of the game will be restoring the infrastructure of New York, so the players will actually see the impact of what they do in the game. They’ll fix New York, which is in this ‘mid-crisis situation’ where communication, law enforcement, power and water are all failing. You’ll be able to see how you basically reconnect areas of New York that have lost power or lost water back to the grid and get them functioning. We’re not a post-apocalyptic game but we’re also not stopping something before it happens. The virus that started the downfall has already happened. It’s a new way to experience the world: while it’s in collapse. I haven’t seen a lot of games tackle this kind of mid-crisis setting.
Another aspect of The Division
is how it sets itself apart from class archetypes. Although the E3 demo showed the characters sticking to a specific role, the game doesn't force you into that particular role for the entire duration. A lot more freedom is presented to the player as they are able to specialize whatever they choose and change skill points on the fly. Similar to other RPG's, you gain points to spend as you level up, but here every option is immediately open to you, and is changeable as you see fit. Barnard also goes into some more detail about this and how utilising this feature actually helps the player in the long run rather than staying put with a certain role.
We don’t have hard archetypes in our game. If you play RPG's, you know a lot of time there will be a healer, DPS and tank. We want that trinity, and that holy trinity is important for any RPG in general. But the way we are doing ‘classes’ is different. So in the first 15 minutes of the game, we’re not asking you to choose what you are and how you want to play The Division. You’ll discover how you want to play while playing the game. Being open and not being class-locked will allow you to go back to your skills and talents and make adjustments.
From watching the E3 demo, we can see that the game has a strong emphasis on multiplayer and interacting with other players in the world. This can either be cooperatively, or full on player-versus-player factional conflicts.
However, for all you single player fanatics out there, don't fret! Barnard promises a fantastic singleplayer experience for anyone who wants to go down that route. Unlike many games of this generation where players go to the multiplayer side of things once the singleplayer is done and dusted, The Division
aims to make it part of the whole journey, having it become a valuable asset to the main experience. The E3 demo shows how PvP and factional gameplay has been intertwined seamlessly into the game. While it has been said that you can't play as an unfriendly faction, this sounds like it is shaping up nicely.
There is an endgame in The Division
however, as Barnard promises that players will continue to enjoy the game once the story has finished. The team are supposedly keeping quiet about it, but going beyond the finale, and even New York itself, may well be a possibility. Finally, as well two beautiful screenshots, the game will also be hosting a fully functional black market economy. Here is a little more information explaining the feature.
You’ll be able to craft new weapons and items for yourself or your fellow agents, or put it on the market. The market will take a cut of it, of course. But having a very deep economy is important, so players have activities that aren't always just about fighting.
There is no officially announced release date for The Division
currently, but once we find out, we'll be on the case to letting you folks know!