Massive Entertainment’s Ryan Barnard took the stage at Microsoft’s E3 2014 press briefing to show off never before seen gameplay footage of The Division, the upcoming cooperative third person shooter being published by Ubisoft.
The Division is set in a near future New York City, and the clip shown took place on Christmas Day. Just one month earlier, Barnard explained, a plague was released causing widespread casualties and the general breakdown of society. Holiday decorations could be seen still hanging in the streets.
The scenario began with the players entering an abandoned subway tunnel, moving on an abandoned civic building in the hopes of setting up a forward operating base.
The team entered the scenario through an abandoned subway tunnel. One player hacked into the old surveillance system to gather intelligence on the last known situation at the site. That allowed the other player's wearable computers to project an orange, holographic image of a train parked at the platform, and of families fleeing with children and belongings cradled in their arms.
As the team moved through the space they came upon a grim scene; a triage area, rows of bodies neatly spread on the other side of the turnstiles, each on a gurney wrapped in a body bag.
Above ground the small squad of players moved stealthily around a group of enemies, keeping in cover as they keyed up specific abilities to make use of during the ensuing firefight. When they were ready they synchronized their attack, assaulting from three directions at once and pinning their enemies in.
What followed was a dramatic example of the type of close combat and environmental effects players can expect from Massive’s proprietary Snowdrop Engine in the future. Small arms fire filled the air and enemy reinforcements rushed the players with melee weapons held high. Player operated drones deployed blinding strobe lights to disorient enemies, and at one point opened up with a flamethrower to provide cover for an injured player. Paint cans exploded, showering character models in blues and yellows.
The final boss, a heavily armored enemy firing a high powered automatic weapon from the hip, had to have his guard broken before he could be suppressed and ultimately taken down.
The Division was originally slated for a 2014 release, but was recently pushed back to 2015. Massive has been joined in the production effort by North Carolina-based Red Storm, a veteran of other Tom Clancy franchise games, and by the U.K.-based Ubisoft Reflections studio.