E3 Preview: Tom Clancy’s The Division Features Intriguing Premise

A child’s bracelet is swung through the air by a breeze let in by an open window, while a jolly winter song begins to play in the background. The camera pans down as the music grows quieter and a more dirty version of the city is shown. A man is shown shuffling through his unorganized fridge while his porch is riddled with garbage bags and bottles. The camera continues to descend upon a city street where trash bags litter the street, bring to mind a very dirty city. Street signs and abandoned cars also adorn the street, with hazard lights and traffic signals mindlessly blinking. A man is shown on this city street as the gameplay begins. This is the world in which The Division takes place.

The game shows off a clean HUD, which feels nice against such a dirty backdrop. The voice acting is noticeably stilted and casual, but there is a reason behind it: this trailer features real people playing the game online and communicating over voice chat, much like Ubisoft wants you to do when the game finally releases. The character we are shown brings up a holographic map overlay that takes over the abandoned city street as the man scans the ground for his destination. More chatter between two players accompanies a short walk to a sewer entrance where the character’s destination is located. One of the other players suggest an alternate route and the character surveys his surroundings. Suddenly, the sound of gunshots fill the air and the team begins to run towards the sound.  The characters walk past flaming cars and a dead body, scanning the corpse to reveal that the person died from head trauma. The team sidles up against a group of cars parked next to a suspicious warehouse. One of the characters scans their surroundings, highlighting several enemies on the team’s minimap. After a short same-minded conversation, the group decides to encounter their foes.

Before the encounter, however, our character brings up a menu in a very Dead Space fashion and opens up a menu with a skill tree. Some of the skills seen include placing mines and recover allies lost health. Our player spends his skill point and the battle begins. The team fires shots at the enemies as they emerge from the hideout, numbers rapidly flying up from the enemy’s head as their health gauge decreases. The battle continues on as a new teammate joins the fight on a tablet, piloting a helicopter and buffing the team with increased damage. With the pilot’s help, they manage to defeat the enemy squad and continue inside, with their tablet-enabled friend jumping out of the game. This showcases that for one, players can easily drop in and drop out, and also that players with tablets can quickly hop on for a battle or two and get back to their business.

Once inside, the team picks up some water bottles lying near the entrance and continue on inside. Our character spots a crudely drawn map on the wall as a percentage begins to grow in the corner. It reaches one hundred and the map is uploaded to the team’s database. The team breezes through the building, encountering no enemies, although our character does stop for a minute to investigate a strange sound. The players make it to a cache of weapons, each one getting their own weapon. our character is shown looking at his weapon, which is accompanied by a range of damage values, its range, and any modification slots with which it is equipped.

The characters make it outside, where one of the team members launches a flare and a ninety second countdown begins on their HUDs. After ninety seconds they will be extracted, according to the player who launched the flare. Upon a final scan of the area, a rival group of players is revealed to be closing in on the players they “brace for PvP.” The map then zooms out, showing several other groups of players exploring the area, and may choose to battle another team if they want. Extraction times for any teams that have met the requirements are listed by their team on the map, giving players an idea of how long they have to take them out. The game begins to fade, and the title is shown: Tom Clancy’s The Division.

The gameplay trailer that Ubisoft showed at their conference the other day looks promising, and the game obviously takes a few hints from Dead Space in terms of its HUD, and Borderlands in terms of its RPG like weapon stats. Both of these are solid IPs, and if The Division can match up to them, it may soon stand among them as a not-so-generic shooter MMO on consoles.

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