Massive Entertainment’s next-gen Snow Drop game engine premiered this weekend at Spike’s VGX Awards. Massive Entertainment, an Ubisoft (EPA:UBI) subsidiary, designed the Snow Drop engine specifically for its coming online multiplayer third-person tactical shooter, “Tom Clancy’s The Division.”
Notable features of the Snow Drop engine include a day and night lighting cycle, volumetric lighting to create a deeper atmosphere and other lighting enhancements to create a more realistically lighted environment. Similar to Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) and its Sweden-based DICE’s Frostbite 3 Engine, Snow Drop supports procedural destruction, with surfaces reacting to actions taken in an environment – from gunshots to explosions.
Its particle system showcased in the trailer also shows particles such as smoke dynamically reacting to light, enhancing immersion. In addition, environmental surfaces will change as the weather changes during gameplay of “Tom Clancy’s The Division.”
All of these features sound impressive, but what does this mean for next-gen gaming? Unlike with the previous generation of consoles, developers aren’t forced to develop for systems with completely different instruction sets and architectures.
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With the “homogenization” of console development under an X86 PC-based platform, next-gen gaming may reach an even higher level since developers will need less time to find shortcuts and workarounds for next-gen platforms like the Sony (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox One.
“Tom Clancy’s The Division” is centered around the aftermath of a disease outbreak on Black Friday, that causes the United States to completely collapse in just five days. Players take on the role of a group called the “Strategic Homeland Division (SHD),” to save the remainder of the United States, in a massively-multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) type scenario, versus friends, AI and other human players.
Massive’s “Tom Clancy’s The Division” is expected to be released for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, sometime in Q4 2014.
Watch the Snow Drop reveal trailer at the top of the story and let us know what you think about Massive’s next-gen engine in the comments below.