Massive Entertainment are back with a new game, their first solo title since they were purchased by Ubisoft a few years back. They’ve worked as a support team on recent Assassin’s Creed titles and Far Cry 3, but here they’re headlining a game for themselves with Tom Clancy’s The Division.
The pitch is a nice and simple one, based off a 2001 simulation ran by the US government, entitled Operation Dark Winter. Within this, it was found that our infrastructure was woefully incapable of handling a pandemic, unable to keep up with the outbreak, and order crumbling in its wake.
So in 2007, and this is where the fiction takes over, Directive 51 was signed in order to counteract these events, unbeknownst to the wider populace. The Division was set up as part of this, and it’s as part of this team that you’ll play, three weeks after an outbreak hit New York City on Black Friday.
As you’d expect from this generation (and we espied a DualShock 4 in use here), there’s a big emphasis on team play here, as three real live players tackled a mission to head to an NYC police station and investigate a disturbance there. As the threesome head there, a lot of the game’s style is easy to pick up, with the HUD floating in midair, with some very cool augmented reality ideas which feel somewhat related to the work being done with Watch Dogs.
The world is also in a clear state of decay, as trash lines the streets, and vandals have had their way with the area. It’s notably open world, and at one point a player spotted a side mission, and checked the map to find the best route to the police station.
Once there, a gun battle kicked off as a player on a tablet came to assist the team with a flying drone, able to spot and mark enemies. Gadgets were the name of the day, with speaker mines used to draw enemies out, and a placeable turret plopped on top of a car.
After the enemy was dispatched, a few hints of scavenging and discovering new weaponry were found within the police station. The player picked up bottled water, and the team was given access to the station’s armoury, which unlocked a new weapon.
The real kicker came when they went outside to exfiltrate. They briefly admired the view of NYC, remarking that maybe they would head that way next, before popping a flare. Within seconds, other online players were shown on screen, and the camera zipped up into the sky, revealing them to be an isolated little faction in a world filled with similar teams.
An incredibly well put together demonstration of what is easily going to contend for the reveal of the show, just as Watch Dogs did last year…