June 12, 2013 by Paul Curtin
In an effort to try to capture lightning in a bottle twice and be the talk of E3 once again, Ubisoft pulled the same move they did at last year‘s show by revealing yet another stunning game that nobody in the industry knew about or saw coming.
Towards the end of their 2013 press conference, Ubisoft shocked everyone with their new IP, Tom Clancy’s The Division, an upcoming massive multiplayer online tactical shooter action role-playing video game (that’s a mouthful) developed by Ubisoft Massive under the Tom Clancy brand for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Although the intro trailer seemed almost exactly like the intro used for Watch Dogs last year, The Division will be more like Bungie’s Destiny in the sense that it will be pushing the new trend of open world RPG/shooters to the next level on next-gen consoles.
In The Division, players assume the role of special agents who can team up in an effort to keep order amidst the chaos just days after a disease that spreads on Black Friday and causes the United States to collapse in less than a week. The tone of the game feels a lot like many zombie games we’ve seen as of late, but by not actually having any zombies or mutants or any other kind of fictional theme, the plot feels fresh, and the scary concept makes you wonder if this actually could really happen.
What was shown off in Ubisoft’s demo at the conference and in their theater room at E3 was stunning and undoubtedly proves that Ubisoft is ready to start taking advantage of the extra power available on next-gen consoles. Not only does The Division look amazing, but the idea that a game can look this good with such fine detail in a massive multiplayer environment is simply shocking. Ubisoft hasn’t confirmed just how many players can be together at once in the hunt for loot across the fallen New York City, but it does tease in the end of the trailer that it will be on a massive scale with many more people than your typical competitive multiplayer shooter.
Checking out the game in person, we were also shown a little more of how players can join in on the fun without having a next-gen console themselves. Taking the Wii U or Xbox Smartglass idea, people can instantly jump in and out their friends’ games using a tablet (Ubisoft was using an Android device in our demo) and then take control of flying drones that can play an essential role on the battlefield by pointing out enemy locations, healing and buffing allies, debuffing enemy armor, and even firing rockets to take out enemies. The visual quality on tablets is a bit different and looks far worse than on next-gen consoles; however, it’s still amazing that everything happens in real time for players on all formats.
It’s hard to come to a conclusion on The Division with how little we know about the game. We do know that it will be on next-gen consoles and looks stunning, but we have no idea how many people can play on a single server at once and just how big the game actually is. Either way, the latest in the Tom Clancy franchise was one of the best games we saw at E3 this year, and if it actually can have as many people all fighting at once all over the map as it teases at the end of the trailer, then it could very well be one of the best games of 2014.