E3 2013: The Division previewed 
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Geoffrey Tim
June 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm

TheDivisionE#

Once again, Ubisoft may have ended their press conference with the star of the show. Last year, it was the surprise Watch_Dogs. this year, that game is The Division, an online multiplayer RPG that has me questioning my own pledge to avoid MMO-styled games. I got to see a closed–door demo of the game today at E3 and it left me wanting so, so much more.

This Tom Clancy-branded game is based around two very real, real-world things; Dark Winter, a bio-terrorist attack simulation that the US conducted in 2001 and Directive 51, the government’s response to the realisation of that threat. The Division looks at what would happen if that did indeed happen; if some sort of epidemic brought the United States to its knees and the complex society, driven largely by money were to topple like the house of cards it is. “What would it take to save what remains?” asks the game’s trailer.

The answer to that, of course, is the Division, a group of elite agents who serve as the country’s last resort. Their job is to stop the spread of the viruses, containing the pandemic and mopping up the remnants of a broken and diseased society. So light, fluffy stuff then. Like many of this year’s E3 heavy hitters, it’s a persistent, open world game – and it’s redefining the RPG. By making it a shooter, mostly. There’s a pretty functional, cover-based shooter mechanic at work – made all the more engrossing by the familiar trappings of the RPG; loot and progression. There’s plenty of both of that. New guns and gears can be found, along with new skillsets that can be learned. There are no set classes, as the developers wanted to avoid alienating players who like experimenting by front loading their class choices.

What makes it interesting is the persistence of the world. Perform actions that might make the world better, and they’ll stick – and eventually the broken, mid-crisis New York might become a better place and have a real impact on the overall game world.

DivisionApp

What we did get to see in action today that wasn’t shown at Ubisoft’s conference is that tablet-based companion gaming will play a rather large part of the Division. Before you roll your eyes at the screen, hear me out; it’s actually incredibly well done. While a group of players could be trying to breach an building from the from its rooftops, another player could use a tablet to control an air-based drone, offering tactical support to those on the ground. The tablet player is given a real-time, isometric view of the battlefield and can help the others by marking hard to see targets, as well as provide buffs to damage, or even drop a health beacon. And all it requires is Wifi access – it doesn’t need to be through an ad-hoc connection with friend sitting near you.

I could, for example, join my friends’ game from the comfort of my own bed while they’re all playing on their own consoles, and my tablet-controlled drone – separate to my main account – gets its own new skills and sense of progression. And it’s entirely optional.

Once players have completed a mission, they’ll need to call in for extraction – and this is where it starts feeling a little like DayZ. Calling for extraction will alert other, real-life players who aren’t playing as the good guys of their intent and map location – making each and every extraction a challenging, frightening and deathly prospect. An MMO without pointy-eared elves that just feels like a great, squad-based tactical shooter? Yeah, consider me sold.

And as you’re already aware, the game is just beautiful. Built for next generation consoles using the developers brand new Snowdrop engine, it’s incredible detailed – with all of that “next gen” eye candy you’d expect, like global real-time illumination and procedurally-generated damage. It’s coming to PS4 and Xbox One – and is definitely something to look out for.

LGE3badgewithbleed

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces. I am also the emperor of the backend

  • Happy Hamster

    :)

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    I like what I see… this will go well with my PS4/

    • Rinceyouropinion

      I’ll provide drone cover from the bog for you my friend. Just call me Merica! FUCK YEAH!

      • Trevor Davies

        Bombs away!

      • That Tall Twit

        Just watch what bombs you drop while on the bog.
        :/

  • Argentil

    I can see this game winning LG’s game of the show, mostly because it’s awesome, but partly because it’s multiplat.

  • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

    They should get this cross platform. I’m getting sick of not being included. Game looks beyond epic though

    • Trevor Davies

      Then you’d have the peasants moaning about getting owned by the king of input control – kb&m!

      • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

        XDXDXD

      • That Tall Twit

        :D

    • Argentil

      It might make the jump. All of the devs are toying with adapting to PC development because the architectures are all so similar. I never would have thought to hear Kojima say MGSV might go to PC, as well as Square considering FFXV and KH3 for PC.

      • Trevor Davies

        It would be awesome if they did. I’d love to play them but I’m not going to get a console because I only want one gaming platform.

  • Ultimo_Cleric N7

    Wow..sounds incredible. To me Destiny and this are going to go head to head.And then of course there’s the dark horse. C&C

    • Argentil

      Don’t count TitanFall out, I really do think there’s something special in there. Just… buy it on PC please.

      Edit: OH! And MGSV! Kojima-san said that the build they were running will look even better on the next-gen consoles.

      • Ultimo_Cleric N7

        To me the winner of the game wars will be the MMO on console that allows split screen multiplayer play with a guest. MMO’s at their core are about being social, and if you can play something like Destiny with a mate or 2 in your living room that would be king.

    • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      titanfall. It’s pretty rad.

  • Rinceyouropinion

    Foxhound: “Only on Xbox One” Rincethis: “Oh,l just piss off already”

    • Hammersteyn

      Only with his typing it would be like “olny on Xbo1″ and I’d be like “Prick”

      • Rinceyouropinion

        Hahahahahaha! Still gets me when you put it that way!

        • Jakster

          Yeah, like LG should be a PS4 site only. Console-xenophobia FTW!!!

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            False…..We do not fear Xbone …. we just don’t like it

          • Argentil

            If a minority is going to support anti-consumer practices, the majority are welcome to debunk the opinion. If MS had been a little less greedy and open, the playing field would be more level.

  • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

    Gosh this game looks sick … is it just me or has this been the best E3 in a very very veeeeery long time! I feel like a kid again

    • Argentil

      It’s not just you. My eyes were at risk of popping out of my skull they were so wide… and dry… at 5 in the morning. Ugh. I would do it all over again though.

      • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

        Right …. my word. I missed Shockers if you know what I mean. When Nomura-san said after the XV trailer, and we have one more thing for you I was like ohhhhh Shit…..is this what I think it is….HELL YEAH KH3 in your face …. and all these other games are looking so good…it’s all too much for me to handle….I need a Pepper Steak Pie

  • Hammersteyn

    Worlds way to overpopulated anyways

    • Rinceyouropinion

      Totally with you on that. I think you and I need to form some bad ass team. Our HQ will be above a strip joint. They call me the Gearmy Ginger, what will you name be, WHAT WILL IT BE!

      • Hammersteyn

        Friendly Giant. That’s my name at the the pub.

        • Rinceyouropinion

          Mmm, I am not sure the infected people we are sent out to cull would find that particularly scary’ Gearmy Ginger: “Com on FRIENDLY GIANT let’s sterilize us some motha fucking people!” Now if it was something like “Com on AXE FUCKER, let’s…” THAT could work!

          • Hammersteyn

            Should stick to Hammersteyn then. It’s hammer time?

  • http://lazygamer.net/ OVG

    Do they not know that the only people who go to BLACK FRIDAY are borderline ZOMBIES and are immune to all diseases. Including those Jerry Springer bitches who stab each other over the half price microwave.

    BLACK FRIDAY makes me sick. Animals.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dIBL4tYQPI

    • Hammersteyn

      It is very disconcerting. It is a little window into how society would be if it were to crumble under our feet. But in the chaos there are always good samaritans fortunately.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeSgBL7gpAk

    • Argentil

      Natural Selection. Let the ignorant wipe themselves out. I say we should start handing out free shivs at the door, actually.

      • Rinceyouropinion

        Okay, you pass the psych test. You can join @hammersteyn:disqus and my team. We live above a strip joint. I hope that doesn’t bother you…

        • Trevor Davies

          I’m getting this mental image of an alarm going off while you’re all gaming, a hole opens up in the floor and you all go spinning down around the stripper pole to attend to the emergency while they play Hot Chocolate.

          As a side note, I should not drink two travel mugs worth of filter coffee on the same day. I think it may affect me somehow.

        • Andre116

          I like the idea of the strip joint though. Problem is that you’ll start smelling like one soon enough. The wrong doers will be all like “What’s that that smells like coconut body rub? Did someone hire a stripper” And then BAM, it’s is you. The disappointment might be enough to kill them.

  • Uberutang

    If there is one game that makes me buy a PS4, it is this one.

  • Georgio

    yeah this looks amazing

  • ALKi1234

    Single player??

    • Andre116

      Don’t think so. Type of MMO.

    • Jakster

      High speed internet connection required… *tee-doo-tee-doo*

      • ALKi1234

        NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!Dammit

    • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      Purely online.

  • Daryl Eksteen

    One of my favourite games from E3, really looking forward to hearing more about The Division.

  • Kervyn Cloete

    “cover-based hooter mechanic at work”.

    Hooter mechanic? Sweet, I needed somebody to fix my car’s hooter.

  • Rock789

    To be honest Geoff, I’m like you – never been a massive MMO fan. But DAMN… The Division sounds amazing! Seen quite a few vids about it this week from E3 and it’s just looking very shweet – could be the game that changes my MMO perspective for life!