Tom Clancy’s The Division explores New York City after a biochemical attackFiled inside: Games
Ubisoft has a full plate, with their lengthy development work on Watch Dogs and The Crew, but that hasn’t stopped the gaming giant from lending resources and manpower to another large scale title. Tom Clancy’s The Division is Ubisoft’s latest homage to the late, great, military-fiction author. The Division will be the first release to utilize the company’s latest in-house engine, dubbed Snowdrop. The software focuses heavily on dynamic global illumination, stunning procedural destruction, and powerful visual effects.
The following video, showcasing Snowdrop’s affects and graphical prowess was unveiled at E3 2013, giving us a small taste at what we can expect visually from the ambitious project. Lighting and object degradation take center stage as Ubisoft gives us a glimpse at their vision of a post-apocalyptic New York City. This video displays some very impressive graphical details, ranging from flashing lights and flickering static, to roaring winds and subtle snow flurries. But what is perhaps most impressive is detailed visual cues that happen when the game cycles between day and night. During the night, illuminated signs and malfunctioning street lights provide much of the light source, creating very creepy settings in a seemingly empty urban landscape. The day is a completely different experience, as sunlight blasts across the cityscape, causing an intricate array of shadows to appear. The warmth from the suns rays causes a small amount of steam to lift from cars and other metal objects, adding a serious amount of depth and realism to the title. From a graphical standpoint, The Division is gorgeous, and it’s going to be very interesting to see just how well it looks when it finally releases.
Anything associated with Tom Clancy can be expected to have a powerful, imaginative story. Although The Division is a little out of the ordinary alongside such military works as The Hunt for Red October, Ghost Recon, and The Sum of All Fears. This time around, the story isn’t about how the military would react to prevent a given situation, but rather, how they would react to a cataclysmic event that has already taken place. Ubisoft’s title follows the Strategic Homeland Division (SHD), otherwise known simply as The Division, a squad of individuals specifically established to deal with “the threat.” Under complete authority by the President of the United States, The Division is tasked with entering New York City and doing whatever it takes to “save what remains.” The title’s storyline is based off of a real world military exercise, called Operation Dark Winter, in which the government staged a widespread biochemical attack of smallpox on Oklahoma City. It was during this event that the United States realized devastating a chemical attack could be, and how rapidly it could progress across the nation.
The title’s storyline exposes just how vulnerable the United States could be to a pathogenic attack, showcasing the weaknesses in the lifestyle of our society. The Division’s plot sees an unknown outbreak on Black Friday, one of the United States biggest and most economically sound shopping days. While Americans scramble for the best deals, an unseen enemy floats through the air, infecting individuals with a serious, debilitating, and deadly sickness. Within five days, the nation collapses, and small pockets of individuals are forced to band together, hoping simply to survive the outbreak. As a product of the mass hysteria, and the events that took place over just five days, America is ravaged by looting, robbery, and other crimes. Streets lay barren, cars abandoned, and storefronts are boarded up in a last ditch attempt to protect valuables. It is truly an urban wasteland. Because of this, many enemies and enemy types stand between you and your task to rebuild society in New York.
Ubisoft recently unveiled information about a specific group named, “the Cleaners.” This heavily armed and armored group of survivors are bent on eradicating the virus from the city, and—having taking matters into their own hands—execute the sick on sight. Unfortunately, the Cleaners aren’t the kind of group that will check to see if an individual really is sick, and have transformed into “a shoot first and ask questions later” style of cell. According to Ubisoft, the Cleaners favor flamethrowers and incendiary weaponry, believing that burning away the virus is the best course of action. These crazed survivors are only one type of enemy that The Division will face, and Ubisoft is remaining pretty tight lipped about what to expect, and if the sickness causes any unwanted or adverse side affects to the humans exposed to it.