The Division – Classless Characters, Second Screens and a Mid-Crisis World

Call it the biggest Ubisoft surprise at this year’s very big E3 show. Toward the end of the pre-E3 media briefing, Ubisoft’s CEO stepped back onto stage for a final time to announce just one more game: Tom Clancy’s The Division. Cue thunderous applause, followed by lines wrapped around the booth for the next three days, all to get a fleeting glimpse at The Division in action.

Tom Clancy's The Division - Grand Central Station

We’ve walked you through the gameplay (Tom Clancy’s The Division – First Look at Genre Redefining Action RPG) and showed you the game in action (The Division – E3 Gameplay Video). But there’s so much more to this innovative next-gen open-world action-RPG. So we did what any gamer with an all-access E3 pass would: We infiltrated and interrogated the dev team – and we’re back with some intense new intel on what’s shaping up to be one of the most thrilling games of 2014. Our findings below…

World in Mid-Crisis

Despite being hit with a bio-terror attack… despite having a city in lockdown… despite calling in the big guns to take back New York, there’s hope. “A big part of the game will be restoring the infrastructure of New York,” says Game Director Ryan Barnard. “So the players will actually see the impact of what they do in the game. They’ll fix New York, which is in this ‘mid-crisis situation’ where communication, law enforcement, power and water are all failing.”

Tom Clancy's The Division - concept art

That term – mid-crisis – is key to the game’s setting. Things are bad, but they can come back. In that way, The Division’s New York is both familiar and alien: familiar because it’s set in an iconic and recognizable city in the very near future; alien because of the crisis – but New York is never so far gone that players don’t feel like they can turn it all around. “You’ll be able to see how you basically reconnect areas of New York that have lost power or lost water back to the grid and get them functioning,” Barnard says. In the E3 demo, for example, we witnessed once such event: securing the police station. In The Division, these events chain together to help the city come back alive.

“We’re not a post-apocalyptic game but we’re also not stopping something before it happens,” Barnard continues. “The virus that started the downfall has already happened. It’s a new way to experience the world: while it’s in collapse. I haven’t seen a lot of games tackle this kind of mid-crisis setting.”

Classless Characters

Although the E3 demo shows the players adhering to general RPG archetypes – Nick is the damage-dealer, Bronson is the heavy, Megan is support – we also catch a moment when the team literally switches up skills on the fly. This is a key pillar of The Division. “We don’t have hard archetypes in our game,” Barnard explains. “If you play RPGs, you know a lot of time there will be a healer, DPS and tank. We want that trinity, and that holy trinity is important for any RPG in general. But the way we are doing ‘classes’ is different.”

Tom Clancy's The Division Tom Clancy's The Division

As you play the game, you’ll level up and acquire points you can spend. You can then use those points to basically spec yourself into a role, but those choices are totally open, totally up to each player, and totally changeable. “So in the first 15 minutes of the game, we’re not asking you to choose what you are and how you want to play The Division. You’ll discover how you want to play while playing the game.”

Communication and teamwork are key, as showcased in the E3 demo. Barnard points to the moment when Nick changed his specs to do more damage, after Megan told her fellow agents that she just loaded up her group healing. It’s all about synergy, Barnard says. “How your Division agent and mine work together is very important. Being open and not being class-locked will allow you to go back to your skills and talents and make adjustments.”

First-Class Second Screen


Like many next-gen games, The Division has a robust companion app. This one, however, promises to go far beyond what we’ve seen so far in a second-screen experience. “It’s something we’re really, really proud of,” Barnard beams. “It’s where we’re really setting the bar for next-gen games. Our companion gaming is real-time simultaneous gameplay on the tablet. You will be able to play as a drone and join a group, just as if you’re another player. You have your own persistence within the drone and have progression and skills and talents, a lot like the main game. So it’s not just a fluffy armory or an application. It’s a real game client that you can use to interact with the game itself.”

Tom Clancy's The Division - Companion App

In a behind-closed-doors demo at E3, we saw the app in action. Not only did the drone serve as an eye in the sky – spotting and tagging hard-to-see foes – but it was able to buff allies (increasing their offensive damage) and debuff enemies (decreasing their shields). And heal, of course. Through its actions, the drone can also build up a resource meter, represented in this demo by an orange bar – and when the bar was full, the drone was able to launch a devastating missile strike from above.

The companion app is fully real-time and can be played anywhere there’s an internet connection.

Together or Alone

First, it’s important to note that The Division is fully playable solo. (“It’s a wonderful single-player game!” Barnard promises.) So you lonely types, go on… play it as you like. But for the rest of us, The Division promises a rich, varied and seamless multiplayer experience that includes co-operative tactical action, factional conflicts, and full-on player-vs-player (PvP). “What a lot of games do in this genre is split it,” Barnard says. “So I play my single-player experience and then I’m kind of done with that part of the game. Or I go play multiplayer or PvP. We want to approach this differently. We want to make it part of the journey and make it part of the main experience for the game.”

Tom Clancy's The Division

A few examples from the E3 demo: When the Division agents peer down into those underground tunnels, they’re noticing a group event they can join. However, securing the nearby police station is more “critical,” so they ignore the event for now. Also, after securing the police station, the agents need to complete the sequence with what’s called an extraction. This begins after they exit the station via the back door and Megan shoots a flare in the air. A countdown begins… but the flare draws the attention of other nearby players, who rush to the area to (we’re guessing) snag the goodies the Agents earned during the event. This is one example of the PvP that can happen on the fly in the game. And while we’re told you can’t play as an unfriendly faction, we do know faction gameplay is huge in The Division – and we can’t wait to learn more about how it unfolds both competitively and cooperatively.

Tom Clancy's The Division

Finally, the game will have a fully functional black-market economy. “You’ll be able to craft new weapons and items for yourself or your fellow agents, or put it on the market,” Barnard says. “The market will take a cut of it, of course. But having a very deep economy is important, so players have activities that aren’t always just about fighting.”

The Beginning

“There is an end game,” Barnard promises. However, The Division will continue to be playable beyond the story’s ending. The team isn’t talking about any of that just yet, but the opportunity to extend this game beyond the finale or outside of New York is entirely possible.

Tom Clancy's The Divison

Tom Clancy's The Division

Release date — March 8, 2016
Developer — Massive Entertainment
A devastating pandemic sweeps through New York City, and one by one, basic services fail. In only days, without food or water, society collapses into chaos. The Division, a classified unit of self-supported tactical agents, is activated. Leading seemingly ordinary lives among us, Division agents are trained to operate independently in order to save society. When society falls, your mission begins.

ESRB Rating: Mature
The Author

Gary Steinman has won numerous editorial awards, but you probably don’t care about that. He also ran multiple industry leading publications and websites including PlayStation: The Official Magazine,, PC Gamer and Newtype USA – but that’s all in the past. The real truth about Gary? He loves cats, he takes too many selfies on Facebook (according to one co-worker, at least), and he occasionally crochets. And now he’s helping share stories about Ubisoft’s amazing games and their incredible creators in his role overseeing the UbiBlog and other select Ubisoft social channels. Follow him on Twitter: @GarySteinman

Thorn 5pts

Hey, guys, who is the actress made voice for Megan character? I lost my ass searching name, but there is no answer. Why it's a secret?

Kyle 5pts

PC is 100% confirmed

Kyle 5pts

The companion app is confirmed for iOS, Android, and Windows devices

Cotton 5pts

Will we be able to use melee weapons during combat( knives, machete, hatchet)

Bullzi 5pts

Dont care if this comes on pc,

coz it will just be another ubi game, another watch dogs.

Dont bother porting if you are going to do a watch dogs job.

Munsor502 5pts

Agreed, i'd love to be able to snipe with my squad while there pinned down or somthing

Munsor 5pts

I wonder if snipers will be obtainable in the game if so that'd be awesome, Wouldn't mind getting to a high vantage point on a the bridge or high building while picking off players.

Munsor 5pts

No you have to have an internet connection even to play solo they said that the first few weeks after E3 2013


I hope that they add realistic army gear in the game and a thug like look with a Bandanna and snapbacks and stuff.

Максим 5pts

Скажите пожалуйста будет ли в игре stelth развитие персонажа и будут ли там элементы паркура т.е. можно ли будет лазать по стенам свешиваться с уступов т.е. какой предел действий будет для stelth подхода к противнику можно ли будет спрыгнуть на противника сверху и тем самым нейтрализовать его? Ответьте пожалуйста!!!

TommyHonore 5pts

Hey. anyone know about Death penalty?? do you lose your gear?

if im going solo will other player groups still hunt me?? can me and my friends play the game without any pvp action?

Ramon 5pts

Looks like we`ve a lot to do. I mean, to play! :)

Jokerkid 5pts

What About Pve So we Can Play With Friends Without Being Bothered By Other People Online.

Макс 5pts

The Division просто БОМБА,СЦЕНАРИСТЫ И СОЗДАТЕЛИ этой игры просто СУПЕР ЛЮДИ.Это тот же шедевр МИРОВОГО УРОВНЯ ИСКУССТВА.Лично для меня это больше чем игра!!! Очень жду!!!!!!!!! СЦЕНАРИСТАМ и СОЗДАТЕЛЯМ ПОКЛОН и ОГРОМНЫХ УСПЕХОВ В ДЕЛАХ!!!

Joseph 5pts

Will u guys have it's for ps3 and when will it come out the game looks really cool and I want to try it out when it comes out

J 5pts

Pc is better blah blah blah no shyt... We cant interchange hardware in the ps4 its all computers its the same crap.. So sick of u computer nerds crying... Id prefer not to update my hardware at the expense of a little detail.. All personal preference.. So choose one n shut the hell up.. Game looks git!! Seems like i wont get bored.. I hope so.. Customization is a biggen gentlemen.. I dont wanna look like the guy i just shot up in a parking lot ya dig?

UbisoftAlltheway 5pts

in the division website they say they will do it for PC I think not 100% but yall might want to check it out

Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones 5pts

I love the fact they don't give a cr*p about people who want a singleplayer introduced but don't want to lose that part of the player base and so it's "playable". Wow, thanks a lot. If they had spent the time they used on useless tabletplay and created an actual singleplayer campaign that isn't contaminated by other players, it would've payed off a lot more. Guess I'll just take my money elsewhere.

james 5pts

they’re saying Apocalyptic not apocalypse... you f*#ki#g idiot

don’t go rant about people correcting each other when you fail at life... nobjockie

you really pissed me off with that comment


they’re saying Apocalyptic not apocalypse... you fucking idiot

don’t go rant about people correcting each other when you fail at life... nobjockie

you really pissed me off with that comment

Roshaan 5pts

Stupid idiots!Ubisoft just announced that the game will be on PC.

J'Rome20 5pts

First, I love what im seeing with the division, it looks like a great game i can't wait to play it. I just have one question??

Will you guys be implementing a dog?? I think that will be a great asset to the best game ever!!! Thanks for your time get back to me asap thanks

Bigger Troll
Bigger Troll 5pts

Lol Consoles? arent they just glorified Pc's, especially the next generation.

They have a CPU Check, They have a GPU Check, They have a HD Check.

Seems to me they are really Pc's in a smaller box that fit in your living room. Check

Longshot_28 5pts

After I saw this during E3 nothing else mattered. Absolutely my most anticipated game for my PS4.

marty 5pts

This looks like they will do like valve did with half-life.. best game of the year...

Is this MMO will be available to play from PC?

This rocks so far can;t wait to play the game

adam 5pts

I know the article said it would be playable solo... But does that require an internet connection? Or does this mean the game has a standard single player campaign? Anyone know?

Mike McGuire
Mike McGuire 5pts

They better, I ran out and bought a galaxy tab 2 after e3 just to play this game with! In so excited for this game! All their other apps have been available on android so I have no doubt that this will be too. It makes no sense financially to make it ipad only. In just hoping that it's not only on ipad and Microsoft surface because I want toplay on my note 2 and my tablet. Make it happen guys, ive already got many people excited for this game who haven't heard of it yet, in making a branch for on down to play so please let us have more than 2people per lobby, keep. I the good work I can't wait to see what. You come up with

JerrellJohnson 5pts

The Division will be the best game o f the year when I get my hands on it I am going to assemble the best taticel team yet ever seen in this game I am going to be the silent type but deadly because you won't see me coming

nodbon 5pts

in the game demo, when they went into pvp the timer for extraction went off. so playing solo will suck if your flagged for pvp and a group of guys happen aupon your flare. also i want non-pvp and open world pvp servers (pvp even if you dont use a flare) dayz is awsome cause you can get attacked at anytime. tho that to sucks at times.

Nodbon 5pts

remarkable machines? HA, xbox one and ps4 are only remarkable machines when compared to their predecessors. and i have a feeling those low to mid range ( hell a mid range pc makes consoles look like low end crap) remarkable machines will have alot of over heating problems, i bet alot of ppl will haft to mod the cases with more fans, and only adults and some teens actually keep the dust from building up in vents

Rip 5pts

hmmm...what do i want from one of my favorite developers in this game...

gonna talk single player here and leave all the pvp s**t to the sociable types...

hmmm...let me think bout this...ny city...totally f**ked up...the entire city a mess...just like will smith in that movie...

first thing i want are safe houses throughout the city...

make me scour the city looking for stuff to upgrade my safe houses...generators, lights, cameras, motion detectors, alarm systems, booby traps, etc...

here's the scenario i'm picturing...

i'm out scavenging and i see somethin i want but in the process of acquiring it...i piss off a gang of maybe 10 or 20 creeps. i check my map and see that i am only 6 blocks away from one of my better equipped safe houses. i take a hit or 2 but have meds and take out 2 or 3 creeps on the way to my crib. a block from the house i equip a remote controlled machine gun i installed on a traffic light and pick off another 2. when i get to my crib it's dark. the creeps have a general idea of where i am and are actively searching for me but didn't see which building i went in.

when i get in the house i activate all my cameras...lets see...2 out back in the alley...2 comin up the fire escape...and 8 more out front in the street...

i place a flashbang mine in front of the window to the fire escape...

i go up to the roof and take out the 2 in the alley with the silenced sniper rifle i keep up there...don't want them to know where I'm at yet...

i then go out on my 3rd floor balcony that overlooks the street...

I flip on the spotlights...blinding most of the creeps...i then flip another switch and a voice rings out loud and clear...SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND...followed by the helicopter music from Apocalypse Now...I then proceed to mow them all down with the 50 cal gatling gun I equipped my front porch with.

Suddenly the flash bang goes off in the living room...let's see...what was that "break neck" move that other agent showed me last week?

Thames 5pts

Gosh I would love to play this game this year, but I understand that making a game which is Quality is worth the wait.

So Cheerio friends this is something I will be playing on my PS4

Snake Eyes 75
Snake Eyes 75 5pts

A year and a half? I've been reading that the game is set to release sometime near the end of 2013. It would be nice to have a confirmed release date from Ubisoft to clear things up!

I'm excited about this game, can't wait to play!

Joshua 5pts

Yeah I have an add on to this app thing. Can I just play the drone on my computer instead of having to play on a mobile device. And if I can't do they have it for microsoft mobile devices?

Troll 5pts

So when you (ps and xbox )guys whine and bitch about everything then its okey but when we ask for something you start crawling out of the wood work and put your hands together and say pc this pc that. Just remember without the pc, consoles how they are today would not have existed.

Doddridge 5pts

Everyone is wanting to know if its coming out on PC. I want a release date!!!

Khaos231 5pts

I think its hilarious that everyone is whining about wanting this on PC when there's a year and a half before its even released! Geez people. I'm looking forward to this as much as anyone else but we really don't have much info yet!

troppo snoman
troppo snoman 5pts

This is great. Please let those P.C people hang UBI SOFT, they are the biggest reason for money loss with piracy. Consoles are locked down effectively and for once Snobby attitudes have turned to sookie winges. They want everything now, sounds like a bit of a spoilt brat mentality. chalk one for the consoles. Thank you UBI SOFT.

troppo snoman
troppo snoman 5pts

Please let those P.C people hang UBI SOFT, they are the biggest reason for money loss with piracy. Consoles are locked down effectively and for once Snobby attitudes have turned to sookie winges. They want everything now, sounds like a bit of a spoilt brat mentality. chalk one for the consoles. Thank you UBI SOFT.

zz4zMCLOVINz4zz 5pts

The division should be released for PC it's an amazing game.

michael 5pts

pc pc pc pc pc please

JerrellJohnson 5pts

The Division is going to be bad ass for next gen consoles I am buying both Xbox one and Ps4 .Ps4 online game is going to be killer for The Division Xbox one may comeback a little stronger with there graphics for this game and online is little almost good but not great

B1@QUE_R3!gN 5pts

Screw COD. Gemaplay never evolved and still hasn't. BO2 gives us "cool colors" for our guns as a prize. Nuthing else. Think about all the money spent over the years for colors. Really? Just hope that Ubi can find a way to intergrate all of it's games into this world. That's innovation.

lolz 5pts

PC player has a look at console game, PC player gets boner for console game, PC player proceeds to talk of how crap consoles are...hahahahahahahahahahahaha makes sense oh superior one lololol.

Eyan S
Eyan S 5pts

Yes, you and your friends can play the game the game without any PvP. The PvP only happens within the Dark Zones, so just avoid Dark Zones...they do however hold much better loot than the Private Zones (or PvE)

Los 5pts

No one

cares what you think , this game is mostly based on playing with your friends and exploration , stop being a little girl

Common Sense
Common Sense 5pts

Being its a console game and a PC player likes it means nothing.

Troll 5pts

Lol look at all the nice things we got the last few years you getting boners and hard feelings over one game, more or less. Would be cool if it came to pc if not though titty

Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones 5pts

If they didn't care what people think, they wouldn't have issued the bullshit statement to begin with. If it's a mp game, don't give me the "great sp experience" crap. As for the insults, try again kid.