It’s safe to say The Division is shaping up to be one of the most hotly anticipated games of this year so far, and we now know even more about it. Speaking with Xbox On, the game’s creative director Magnus Jansen and the game’s associate creative director Julian Gerieghty explained more about everything we’ll find in The Division.
Most notably, the story is split into three “threads,” what sounds to be a lot like quest chains. “Every mission that you do is going to be linked to one of those story threads, and it’s going to give you a little piece of the puzzle for that story thread,” Gerieghty explained. Once you have completed everything in that thread, you will “get an extra piece that will give you a different perspective on the story.”
While all that sounds highly cryptic, Gerieghty did offer that the three story threads were 1) dealing with the virus, who started it and if there’s a cure, 2) the factions that have taken over New York, and 3) putting infrastructure back online, but also about something else he wasn’t able to talk about just yet.
That’s not the only story to be found in The Division though, the team putting a lot of work into the world of game itself. “Obviously the world of The Division isn’t just New York,” Gerieghty said. “It’s New York that has been ravaged by a virus. So what does that mean in terms of let’s say Madison Square Garden. You’ve got the arena, the backstage, you’ve got seats, you’ve got the VIP boxes. And then you start thinking, okay how does a virus affect this sort of space? Maybe the arena would become a field hospital… You start building this fantasy of a normal, recognizable location, but transformed by this catastrophe.”
As for why the developer chose New York as the setting, Jansen explained, “When we decided we wanted to show the fall of society, what better place to do that then the pinnacle of society, the most amazing symbol? What happens when that stumbles?”
From there the team took real world studies and projections of what would happen following a large scale biological attack, and built their game around it. “Being a Tom Clancy game, it is incredibly important for us to be grounded in reality.”
When it comes to how the game plays though, Jansen was quick to emphasize The Division works as a multiplayer game and as a single-player game. “It’s been a big focus of the team and me personally to create a great, immersive, single-player experience that has a rewarding narrative and story where you get an actual conclusion. That you feel that you had an impact on the world, you feel that you were the hero that got to go through a journey and take back New York and succeed.”
With the integration of multiplayer however, he wants players to be able to do both. Even though the game is an RPG, there are no classes, meaning players can change their roles and play-style depending on the situation and whether they are alone or with a group.
Even when it comes to the game’s competitive multiplayer, in what is called the Dark Zone, an area in which players are allowed to kill each other and steal items from eachother, that seamless blending was important. “You have the same skills. You have the same character, same loadout, same guns. It’s not a different experience.” The general rules and focus of the game don’t change, you are just given the choice and ability to kill, or not kill, other players.
Whether players realize it or not, when they step into the Dark Zone, there is matchmaking taking place under the hood. “It’s invisible to you, but you’re not going to be put in with high level characters, you’re going to be put in with players that are roughly the same level as you”
The beta for The Division starts this weekend, the 28th for Xbox One, the 29th for PS4 and PC. Want a crash course on the world of The Division? Check out Ubisoft’s prequel live-action YouTube series.
What do you think of how The Division is shaping up? Let us know in the comments.