The Division Q&A: Discovering Ubisoft’s Infected NYC

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The Division Q&A: Discovering Ubisoft’s Infected NYC

Tom Clancy’s The Division launches on PS4 on March 8th, 2016… that’s tomorrow! Set in a representation of New York ravaged by a biological attack, Ubisoft Massive’s third-person, cover-based shooter features a heavy emphasis on player progression, loot collection, and social interaction.

Having played the recent open beta of The Division, we had lots of questions for the team behind this ambitious new project. We got in touch with Martin Hultberg, IP Director from Ubisoft Massive, to learn more.

Tom Clancy's The Division

PlayStation.Blog: The Division is a huge project with a lot going on — how would you describe it in a single sentence?
Martin Hultberg: A highly immersive and social open world RPG-shooter set in the most realistically recreated New York ever, where a deadly pandemic has brought the city to the edge of collapse and even your best friend can become your worst enemy.

“We see The Division as the start of something bigger than just the initial release.”

PSB: Loot-based shooters are becoming more and more popular. What’s your approach to the loot system in The Division?
MH: We have separated them between two types of loot; equipment and cosmetic items. Equipment, like weapons and gear, affects the stats and power of your character. Cosmetic items allow you to create a unique character of your own. Being a shooter, weapons are of course important and they can be fitted with mods and skins to further enhance or change both performance and appearance.

PSB: Are you building The Division as a long-term experience? Will players have reasons to keep playing after finishing the main campaign?
MH: We see The Division as the start of something bigger than just the initial release as we have extensive plans for updates and DLC. Our goal is to create a universe we can expand on, together with the fans who play it.

Tom Clancy's The Division

Tom Clancy's The DivisionTom Clancy's The Division

PSB: The Dark Zone is an interesting social experience. At what point during development was it implemented, and what is its role in The Division’s overall ecosystem?
MH: The Dark Zone concept has always been at the heart of the game. It is a social experience, with everything from casual social spaces, to cooperative group play and the risk of adversarial encounters in the Dark Zone. The idea is to create a very dynamic and tense situation with high risk and high reward; something that will resonate with players who want to explore, look for loot or fight other people.

PSB: What has the team learned as a result of the recent open beta? Have any significant changes been made as a result of player feedback?
MH: I think we learned a lot. We found some issues we hadn’t seen before, got confirmation on how people acted with features like the Dark Zone, and had a chance to do loads of optimization and bug fixes. This is what betas are good for and we got a great deal out of them.

Tom Clancy's The Division

PSB: What was the team’s goal when designing and implementing Proximity Chat? It certainly leads to some tense situations.
MH: Exactly that! Communication is key and we have always tried to get this into our games. It is a perfect fit for the Dark Zone where we want to create tension, suspense and fragile teamwork.

“We’ve taken some liberties in recreating New York, but it is quite close.”

PSB: How 1:1 is the architecture and layout of The Division’s New York to the real-life city?
MH: We’ve taken some liberties in recreating New York, but it is quite close. It isn’t just about the size, but the detailed recreation of everything from graffiti to certain buildings. It really feels like New York as you walk through it.

PSB: The Division excels as a multiplayer experience. Is it designed primarily around social interaction, or will players be able to fly through the game solo without feeling like they’re missing too much?
MH: You can play it alone, for sure! There are many systems that encourage and try to tease that social experience of playing with or against others, but if you don’t want that then the game has a full single-player experience as well.

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4 Author Replies

  • Can’t wait for this game to finally come out. Ever since I saw the original images I knew I was going to be pumped for this game. Beta itself, while limited in content (given, due to being a beta), was still a lot of fun. Hopefully launch goes smoothly.

    • Justin Massongill

      I am legit pumped for this game. I love my loot-based shooters, and the Beta did some really interesting things on the social side. Looking forward to seeing how this one launches and evolves.

    • The only thing that bothered me with the beta is it made me realize how many outfits I didn’t like. I finally got an outfit I really liked and now I’ve lost it lol. Ah well, part of the looting world I suppose. I really enjoyed what they showed of the weapon customization in the game though, the fact that not only your weaponry can increase in levels, but your grips and sights can get better as well.

      Technically speaking you could have a level 30 scope on a level 4 rifle. Not that you would do this…but the option to have it opens up a lot of customization options to your loadout, which I find very appealing.

  • Pre-ordered (although I am bothered by discount places like Bestbuy (gamers club) and Amazon (prime) having low quantities (if any) of the Gold Editions so that way they can sell the Season Pass and not give up the 20%.

    Enjoyed my time in the Beta and this is hitting at a very good time where Destiny has nothing until a number of months from now and no sequel until next year.

    • I imagine if more people actually pre-ordered the Gold Edition before the game goes Gold (to print) then more supply would be there. Retailers have an order for the number of copies they need plus whatever extra, if any for Day 1 and post release. Ubi is not going to print a huge number of Gold Editions because retailers will not sit on these. So those who want the Gold Edition should pre-order it, at the very latest about a month before release.

      Personally I love Amazon Prime and they’ve just given me more incentive to keep paying after a year in which, after 8 years, I was likely to call it quits next year. The problem doesn’t lie in the discount it lies in the fact gamers refuse to pre-order games. Oddly enough last minute those orders can be canceled before release so there’s really no reason not to. Especially when it comes to Gold Editions or Collectors Editions which are printed to cover the demand of retailers.

  • Being that I live in new york it’s weird not seeing Macy’s in there lol but it’s pretty accurate. the subway system is different and not all of them are in the game but the avenues are correct and buildings are similar.

  • Since this is an Online RPG type of game, it’s safe to assume that there is some kind of text based chat system, correct?

    ESO’s biggest mistake was making an online RPG without proper chat features.

    • I believe it has some sort of chat feature, the biggest one is proximity chat:

      Proximity Voice Chat is a feature that will allow you to hear other players speaking as you get closer to them. It also means you get to hear whatever creepy music they are blasting through their headset…

  • Question why pick New York when New York takes the abuse like in King Kong , Planet of the Apes, Cloverfield, DarkSiders and even real life event 9/11 ? Smart move

    • New York is picked because its in the top 10 for population world-wide and it is the absolute most populated city in the entire country. Making the game take place in Racine, Wisconsin for example wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense. Not much to see there and not enough people to make a viral outbreak much of a concern.

      Point being, it is a known city with a large population. People are more likely to recognize locations and the idea of a viral outbreak is much more realistic.

    • The argument could very easily be made that New York City is the most famous city in the world. If you want to set a game in the US and market to a global audience, it’s smart to pick a city most people are familiar with. NYC is about the safest pick you can get, which is why so many things are set there.

    • It’s recognizable. That’s why. They could pick Winnipeg, but chances are even *I* wouldn’t recognize it and I live here.

      NY has a number of incredibly recognizable icons and structures that make people instantly feel connected.

  • Pre-Order, Pre-Downloaded, Locked & Loaded!!! Let us at it already!!! Haha!!

  • First two DLC packs exclusive to MS for 30 days? Have you not learned anything from the grumblings about Destiny? These games require content to keep gamers interested and playing. Now PS users are being left behind for a month. Glad I didn’t spring for the Gold Edition and that Bungie already taught me to wait and see with games like this. If true, yeah it’s only a month, blah blah blah. If true that’s a pretty pathetic thing to do

  • Justin, referencing the Blogcast you’re a pretty big Destiny guy right? I’m curious as to what you think The Division will do with that audience. I’m still playing Destiny (#forever319) but I’m REALLY excited about The Division, and it could really pull me away for a while. Love the tactical combat, and well see how Ubi can handle the post-launch content.

    • Justin Massongill

      Yeah! I love Destiny, just spent most of this past weekend grinding faction rep and getting my first exotic class item. I’m right there with you, looking forward to getting lost in The Division to see if it hooks me the same way Destiny did. Knowing my gaming habits, I’ll probably end up trying to make time to keep up with both of them. :)

  • I have a friend who lives in NY, and during the Open Beta, he actually found the street he lives on, and his building… way up inside the Dark Zone. Poor guy is probably dead in The Division’s universe, haha.
    That’s some impressive recreation, I gotta say.

    • Justin Massongill

      Oh no! My thoughts are with your friend. Let’s venture into the Dark Zone and try to rescue him!

  • [Off Topic]

    I need a little heart from my gamer friends. I don’t know what to do anymore. I Don’t know where to go. I’m a 22 years Old guy ( 23 in the next monday). I Just graduated in law school. My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, my dad has a big aneurism ready to explode, my sister has schinzophrenia, and some other mental problems. She almost kill my parents every day, do not take showers anymore, etc. I’m 23, I did not find a job, and my head is not working good enough for me to study for the bar examination in my country, or for anything. I’m having some suicidal taughts. My mother cries crys everyday, my dae is going crazy, my sister tries to kill my parents, we are in some financial problems because of the câncer, and I cant find a job, or study for some public one. I’m in a New city and do not even have friends here. Any ideas? What should I do? I can’t take this anymore. And I just told 1/5 of the problems. And before anyone says anything, I’m not a camper, It’s my Last name. Seriously. Oh and If you read it all, thank, hope that everything goes super in your Life!

    • Justin Massongill

      I’m so sorry to hear things aren’t going well for you. Please stay strong and know that there are people out there who want to help you through the hard times in your life.

      Oh, and happy early birthday. :)

    • When you’re getting into the depths of depression, don’t lose sight of the little joys in your life. Take grasp of the things that give you little bits of happiness, and enjoy them without guilt. Those little moments of happiness will keep you going. And just keep working towards putting yourself into a better place. It’s not easy, it never is… but it’s always possible.

    • I’m sorry to hear a fellow gamer is having it so rough. I know it all too well myself, depression, anxiety, the “lost” feeling. If I may suggest professional help I’d like to. I know it’s not a glamorous thoufht, but just what if there is someone really awesome out there that could help you get direction, perception in / on your life happenings? Wouldn’t that be great? You gotta hunt for the RIGHT person for the job to help YOU though, that I’ve learned.
      But, I’d say keep a single goal, picture in mind of where you’d like to be and FIGHT LIKE ONLY A GAMER CAN for that to become your reality. You have started the right path, go get it my friend. You’re not alone in this world

  • I’m currently at Gamestop waiting to get a ticket for The Division.

  • The beta left a lot of people out of luck for customization. I’m not a fan of hair, so I like either bald heads or military cuts. Took me like 5 minutes of randomizing to find a normal looking guy with barely any hair. When the full game releases we’ll have actual access to the customization window, so you should be in luck.

  • So glad to see a third person loot based shooter getting some real development time.

    So very excite.

  • Lookin’ forward to the game! If anyone wants to team up (18+) then hit me up on PS4 @ TeFlon180!

  • I don’t think you read his reply correctly.

  • Soooo I’ve just read somewhere that this game will release DLCs 1 month earlier to x-**** ha! nice one ubi awesome.I won’t be getting this game until I see it for $5.

    • Maybe $20 lol and I’m glad to see official confirmation that this game has a campaign and a full SP experience as well.

  • Question, you said the game is has single player. Does it still require online connection to play it? Can it be played offline only? I’m asking because I have a cousin that has satellite internet where he live. Could he play the game even without being able to be online all the time?

    • Yes, the game requires a connection to play. It is similar to Destiny in that you can play the entire game by yourself by setting your in-game group to “private” so no one can join you, but your characters are stored on the game servers, and you can’t get into the game world without being connected.

  • Bad news for me anyways… I preordered the gold edition almost 2 months ago. I showed up today to pick it up and was told that they didn’t get enough copies in. So for $2 less I get the standard edition and season pass but lose out on the bonus preorder content. Thanks Sony

    • @ PanzerDragon76 how is that Sony’s fault? That is the fault of the place you preordered from for not requesting enough copies.

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