Like Ubisoft did with “Watch Dogs” at E3 in 2012, the company gave a whole new spin on what the next generation of gaming will look like with the announcement of its new original “Tom Clancy” title, “The Division.” The title’s inclusion of a “companion” app on tablets offers up a fresh new way for gamers to get involved in “The Division’s” world, and has earned the game a lot of buzz at E3 in 2013.
Set in a futuristic mid-crisis landscape after a pandemic breaks out in New York City on Black Friday, “The Division” calls upon a group of highly trained government agents to stop the spread of the virus and restore the Big Apple to its original glory. Though players can run through the game’s story on their own, “The Division” is an online title that allows for easy incorporation of friends and teammates into gameplay. “The Division” has emergent events that players can approach in whichever order they prefer, and the game also offers up a persistent world.
Since “The Division” is an RPG, it offers up a classless character system where a player’s items, abilities and weapons define the type of character he or she ends up playing. It is a tactical game and, according to Massive Entertainment’s Andre Tiwari who demoed the game for Zap2it, tries to offer up elements of hope to players.
In addition to teaming up with friends or being randomly placed in a game through matchmaking, it’s the companion app that has captured most people’s attention. The app is played through a tablet, so the player isn’t relegated to sitting in front of a television to get their hands on “The Division.” The tablet player appears in “The Division” as a flying drone who is able to offer up protection to allies, break down enemy defenses and target enemy locations. Once the companion has supported his or her allies a certain amount, that player is then allowed to attack enemies as well with weapons like missiles.
What happens in-game on the tablet also happens on the console game, and vice versa. The tablet player can earn his or her own skills and progressions, as that person also plays the game in real time. It’s just another way that Ubisoft is trying to offer up a new type of multiplayer experience. “Watch Dogs” also premiered a new multiplayer companion app at E3 that, while less intensive, still showed a player on a tablet come into a game to help someone by raising protective barriers and doing other things to aid them.
Both of these companion applications were shown as ways to help a friend or other random player, but assumedly they will also be ways to troll and mess with other people as well. The ability to access “The Division” and “Watch Dogs” from any location is an interesting way of expanding the way people can play console games in this next generation of gaming systems.
Ubisoft premiered a new form of “Watch Dogs'” online multiplayer at E3, though the title still is not playable. The player-versus-player multiplayer is seamlessly integrated into the regular online gameplay, with one player attempting to hack another. Additionally, players can track crimes that are about to take place outside of the game’s storyline and, if the gamer prevents them, the media and civilians will respond differently to the character as the game progresses.
“Watch Dogs” will be released on Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC, and comes out on Nov. 19. “The Division” will be released on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and is expected to hit store shelves in 2014.