By Matthew Rondina
Ubisoft and Massive studios have announced that the Division 2 is in development with a full reveal incoming for E3 this June.
Few details were offered regarding the new title, but many of the recent add-ons around the current game may give hints as what’s to come for the sequel. New competitive multiplayer modes, in combination with current trends like battle royale, offer some insight as to what could be coming with the Division 2.
Saviours of New York
The original Division, released in 2016, is based on a group of government sleeper agents who are activated inside an embattled New York to maintain order after a mysterious virus has crippled the city. The NYPD and National Guard have been overrun by warring factions and, as an agent, you are the last line of defence for innocent civilians trapped in the lawless chaos.
The game is played from the third-person perspective, with many of the cover-based shooting mechanics of eSports games like Gears of War. The Division offers Player vs Environment (PvE) gameplay via co-op storyline and Player vs Player (PvP) showdowns inside of a walled off area of a city named the Dark Zone. An expansion of this zone, or the modes around it, could offer the ingredients for an explosive, competitive gaming arena.
Division 2 Details
The official reveal of the Division 2 offered three central details, the first is the developers that brought us the original Division are returning; Massive Entertainment, Red Storm and Ubisoft Reflections are back at the helm.
Secondly, players of the first game will have the ability to import their agents into the new game, although exact details were not revealed about how this will work. Those playing the current game will have new milestone-based achievements added in April, called shields. These shields will give you in game rewards for the Division 2 when you satisfy certain milestones in the Division.
Finally, the sequel will be powered by an upgraded version of the Snowdrop Engine. This is an exciting development as the stunning graphics in the original were a massive draw to the IP. Ubisoft will undoubtedly be able to build on the graphic fidelity, especially with consoles like the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro able to handle 4K assets and higher frame rates.
The Evolution of the Series
The post launch support of The Division began in earnest, but ramped up with consistent support that has dramatically changed the game for the better. Recently, Ubisoft rolled out massive free updates to expand and improve upon gameplay and add new game modes like Resistance, Skirmish and Survival.
These multiplayer changes look to feed directly into the Division 2 as there is still support planned for the original title. Beyond the recent Year 2 celebration of the game, The Division will include new Global Events and Xbox One X enhancements, taking a stunning looking game and making it absolutely jaw dropping with 4K support.
Make no mistake, The Division at it’s core is an RPG shooter, but with the new instalment on the horizon could this change? The framework to support such a shift is there, and Ubisoft knows how to grow and support an eSports audience with it’s work on Rainbow 6 Siege being a prime example. The game could have a competitive scene brewing with more and more PvP modes being rolled out.
Dark Zone Battle Royale?
The Dark Zone is a massive area in the game that is a quarantined sector within an already locked down borough. Here is where you find high risk and high reward showdowns, facing off against the toughest enemies in the game along with the added threat of having other agents going rogue and turning on you.
In the Dark Zone it’s all about securing powerful weapons and armour and extracting them via helicopter while watching your back against human and computer controlled enemies.
This urban battlefield could be an excellent candidate for a rogue agent battle royale. If a few of the current RPG elements from the game changed, and went to single hit kills, The Division could capture the attention of players from both PUBG and Fortnight camps and grow it’s own competitive audience.
The stunning graphics that the Frostbite engine produces make the game very interesting to watch for a potential audience. I’ve streamed the title quite a bit myself and I’m always impressed with how great it presents in VODs. The addition of extreme weather effects to push players into the center of the map could really dial up the intensity for spectators.
Dark Zone (DZ) battle royale would need to drop CPU based enemies but the RNG and tense face offs that bring players back to games like PUBG would be interesting to see implemented in the next Division.
The Survival game mode recently introduced has a lot of the framework included for a potential battle royale mode. Hopefully, this opens the door to a competitive gaming scene with the Division 2.
About the Author: Matthew Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Follow Matthew’s gaming adventures on twitter and join in on the fun!