Ubisoft previews Tom Clancy’s ‘The Division 2’

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Genre: Action, combat
Developer: Massive Entertainment, Ubisoft Reflections
Publisher: Ubisoft
Rating: M, for mature audiences 17 and up

By John Gaudiosi | Shacknews.com (TNS)

Ahead of Tom Clancy’s “The Division 2” release across PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 15, Ubisoft offered media hands-on time with new gameplay experiences at a San Francisco bank that doubled for Washington, D.C., which happens to be the setting for the much-anticipated sequel. It’s been three years since Ubisoft launched The Division, which was set in New York City and introduced gamers to an America at the cusp of a deadly viral outbreak.

Within the game world, it’s been seven months since that virus devastated the country and wreaked havoc across the globe. According to Julian Gerighty, creative director at Massive Entertainment, the only thing holding America together is The Division.

As a Division agent, the player must help and work with survivors, who have built protected make-shift protected enclaves throughout the Nation’s Capitol. The player also has to fight against warring factions like the Hyenas, True Sons and Outcasts that are constantly trying to expand their territories and steal resources and technology from civilians.

“The stakes have never been higher because if D.C. falls, America falls,” Gerighty said. “Setting the game in the Capitol reflects the importance of this mission.”

While the base of operations for the first open world role-playing game was the post office, the sequel sets up the White House as the center of the action. And Ubisoft has tripled the amount of developers (to six) that are working with Massive and Redstorm Entertainment on this game.

“The world is more realistic and offers more gameplay activities than ever before,” Gerighty said. “You’ll see your impact as real agent of change on the living world around you.”

Built with Ubisoft’s Snowdrop game engine, Gerighty said the team worked with real GPS car data to recreate a one-to-one virtual version of Washington. Of course, this version looks nothing like the present-day D.C. with foliage and animals retaking the city. It’s a post-apocalyptic setting with overturned vehicles littering empty streets and heavily-fortified outposts built high atop buildings.

In addition to the 40 hours of main gameplay, Gerighty said the game serves up additional micro stories with characters players will actually care about from the civilian outposts.

“Side missions offer tasks like rescuing a water purification plant for a settlement or saving a kidnapped son of a civilian leader,” Gerighty explained. “The more you advance the story, the more civilians will be able to go into the open world and forage for resources themselves, and you’ll have to protect them.”

He added this is a truly dynamic world with a living world system that always proposes new activities for players.

“Simulating urban survival with civilians as hardened survivors building their own settlements really opens up the gameplay,” Gerighty said. “On the other side, the factions will use terror, propaganda and violence to retain their strongholds. Factions will take over areas of the city and steal civilians’ resources.”

The entire gameplay experience can be tackled with up to three friends, allowing for endless hours of exploration and intense firefights against the enemy factions. Things really crank up with the EndGame, which introduces a brand new faction called the Black Tusks. These high-tech warriors come equipped with flying weaponized drones, robotic armed dogs and the best weapons available.

Taking on this army of specialized soldiers inside the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum was like a completely different gameplay experience, having fought against the Hyenas, True Sons and Outcasts earlier in the game. But by the time you’ve reached Chapter 13 in the game’s story, you should have everything you need to take down the most challenging foes in the game.

Anyone who purchases “The Division 2” will get access to a full year of downloadable content, ensuring the fight will continue long after the first 40 hours are completed.