[Update: Swapped video embed for working version.]
Ubisoft has a history of revealing games far before the title actually comes out, as evidenced by 2014’s Watch Dogs. Many gamers believe Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands, revealed at E3 2015, will share the same fate as we enter the seventh month post-announcement without even so much as a release year revealed or a screenshot being shared.
Tom Clancy’s The Division, releasing on March 8th, will mark a 33-month wait between the initial reveal and the retail release of the game. Other developers, namely Bethesda Studios with Fallout 4, have shifted their marketing campaigns to hype and release a game in a much shorter time span. With a beta, first on Xbox One, expected in the next few weeks, Ubisoft’s marketing campaign has been tripped up by leaks two months before launch.
An unlisted YouTube video, leaked prior to the official upload from Ubisoft, showcases more than three minutes of The Division footage, noting that players who pre-order will gain access to the aforementioned beta. The trailer opens with a voice-over saying, “When you joined the Division, what were you expecting? I’m sure they told you about the sacrifices you’d have to make. But none of us could have ever predicted this.”
The Division takes place three weeks after New York City is hit by a pandemic on Black Friday. The trailer continues to show different environments that were once destroyed finally being rebuilt, as well as what look like key characters in The Division’s story. Inside a facility, a digital marking on a wall says ‘Base Restoration 46%’ with a supply and upgrades counter implying some kind of settlement system akin to Fallout 4. More gameplay shots confirm the ability to accept and take on bounty missions, with the objectives in this case being to ‘Neutralize Iceman’s 1st lieutenant’.
The game has been likened to Destiny and is a multiplayer-only third person shooter with heavy RPG mechanics set in an open-world. Players are tasked with going out in fireteams (although Ubisoft has said it can be played solo if a player chooses) to take on varying missions. The trailer emphasizes the advantages and importance of playing together with other players with the voice-over saying, “Other Agents have set up safe houses throughout the city. You need to team up with them and work together.” This is despite Ubisoft’s Senior Communications Manager Gary Steinman confirming the ability to play solo in a UbiBlog post.
The trailer continues and shows off the ability to customize weapons and even an in-depth weapon stats system with what looks like the ability to sell a weapon as a ‘value’ stat is shown. The Destiny influences can also be seen in the game's radar system and its bosses, who are outfitted with yellow health bars. The Division beta will be the first chance players will have to dive into the world, and it will be interesting to see how the game stacks up against Destiny as they are inevitably going to be compared as the two ‘shared-world’ shooters of this generation.
Tom Clancy's The Division is set to release on March 8 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.