Ubisoft’s partnership with Tom Clancy has been a profitable one. The project they unveiled at E3 2013 may be their most ambitious yet. The Division is an MMO for next gen consoles, featuring the third-person combat most of Clancy’s games are famous for. It’s set in New York during a pandemic outbreak, and the player is a government agent tasked with keeping things under control.
As with much of Clancy’s work, this is scary because it’s not about aliens, zombies or some sci-fi scenario. A flu – like virus spreads through cash changing hands and it travels the country faster than hospitals can keep up. This sort of thing is a real world concern of our officials. A December 2012 analysis of disaster preparedness done by two nonprofit groups declared thirty-five states unprepared for a scenario such as a pandemic.
Chaos reigns in this city, and as a government agent you will face some dangerous scenarios. The E3 demo asked players to save police officers being held prisoner in their own jail. The Division has a single-player mode, but is very much designed for the massively multiplayer experience. Tactical decisions include trading and character upgrades. There is no class system, you upgrade your character through a menu available on your high-tech holographic watch.
Massive Entertainment’s Snowdrop engine is doing some incredible work here. New York is easily recognizable and there are some brilliant touches such as sun rays coming through the boarded up windows. The game is slated to appear on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but Ubisoft showed interactivity with an Android tablet too. A player on a tablet can provide offensive and defensive buffs, mark targets and heal other players. After doing enough of these support actions, the tablet player can unlock a special attack.
Several games on display at E3 2013 touted similar functions, including EA’s Battlefield 4. Rather than viewing tablets and smartphones as competition, it seems the industry’s plan is to immerse those gamers in console experiences with their friends.
The Division is coming in 2014.
Read [GamerTell at E3]