“Tom Clancy’s The Division” is set to launch for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC sometime next year, and developer Ubisoft discussed new details about the game with Connected Digital World during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles earlier this month.
Fred Runquist, “The Division” executive producer, first addressed the title’s E3 demo. “This year, we’re actually in Manhattan. As the game demo starts, you see the camera panning down and ends up down in the New York subway systems. From there on, it’s one amazing thing after another until the end.”
Runquist also explained the origins of The Division, a government agency based on real-world events.
“The Division is a government agency. It’s linked to a real-world situation of a pandemic scenario called Dark Winter. The whole United States closes down within two weeks. That’s how it all started, from those real-world events and those real-world legislations.”
Operation Dark Winter was the code name for a senior-level bioterrorist attack simulation that took place in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in June 2001.
The project evaluated the inadequacies of a national emergency response if a biological threat to the U.S. population were to take place. The simulated scenario studied a localized smallpox attack on Oklahoma City, which was created to quickly spiral out of control.
“Tom Clancy’s The Division” takes place in this type of scenario, except on a much larger scale in New York City, where the population is nearly 8.5 million people.
“We did a lot of research. We’ve employed FEMA, we’ve had ex-CIA agents working for us, we’re talking to the NYPD, we’ve made multiple trips to New York City, we’ve talked to the city government. It’s amazing to get under the skin of a city that has a larger population than Sweden, how do you make that work,” Runquist said.
“Funny fact, 18 tons of garbage gets shipped out of Manhattan every 24 hours, can you imagine if that stops working, just after a couple of days or weeks. When our game takes place, you have these huge piles of garbage everywhere, all the wildlife that attracts, and the diseases, that’s just one small detail of all the problems you’re facing in this scenario.”
Runquist also revealed that players won’t be able to drive vehicles in “The Division.”
“We really found out when we tried this, that it breaks the experience. Rushing by all these things at a fast pace, it doesn’t really make sense that you have a couple of guys in cars and everyone else barely has enough food to survive,” he explained.
Though he wouldn’t give dimensions, Runquist assured fans the game’s size would give players enough space to explore.
“It’s a very large, triple-AAA, open-world game.”
“The Division” will launch sometime next year and is in development by three different teams – with Cary, North Carolina-based Ubisoft Red Storm working with United Kingdom-based Ubisoft Reflections and Massive Entertainment.
“While Massive is running the development of ‘The Division’ – building everything from their proprietary Snowdrop engine powering the game, to the design of the world, the innovative gameplay systems and the intriguing story – the Swedish studio began to seek out additional Ubisoft studio support last fall,” the developer explained on its blog April 9. “Red Storm was naturally at the top of their list, simply based on their long history with Clancy games. Founded in 1996 with a small team that included Tom Clancy himself, the North Carolina-based studio created the original ‘Rainbow Six’ and ‘Ghost Recon’ – and has been an integral part of the Ubisoft development ecosystem since it was acquired in 2000.”
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