Hot on the heels of the big PC announcement and video showcasing the power and potential of the companion gaming app, The Division hosted an exclusive fan Q&A at the booth at Gamescom 2013. The event gave a select group of fans the opportunity to meet the amazing team at Massive Entertainment, see what the developers had in store before anyone else and, as an added VIP bonus, they had the chance to directly ask questions. For more than an hour the team chatted with lucky group, sharing stories of the whole development process, regaling them with tales of their now famous E3 preparation, their meeting with renowned developer Hideo Kojima, the decision to go PC and, of course, next-gen dogs… Here’s a full transcript of the wide-ranging Q&A with Game Director Ryan Barnard.

The Division – Loot, Late-Game Content, Combat & Other Questions Answered

The Division is based upon Operation Dark Winter. Will we see the five days leading up to the collapse of the US, or will we only be playing through the aftermath?

There is a reason why we picked 22 days later. We wanted some time to have passed for a few reasons. Firstly we wanted to give enough time for factions to form and people to start to group together. We also wanted to ensure that there is a rich world for players to enter into. A world that is already full of content and context, so when they start playing the game they don’t quite have the full story – they have to explore, uncover and get immersed in the world in order to really progress.

In what year will The Division be set?

We don’t specify a year; the setting is the “near future.” It’s a Clancy game so it’s definitely grounded in reality, but we’re using all the wiggle room we can in order to try to create the world we want.

We know it’s set in Manhattan, but will we have to chance to explore some territories outside of the New York area?

Absolutely. Exploration is key to the game. The majority does take place in Manhattan – but, yes, you will be able to explore other areas in the game.

The Division – Loot, Late-Game Content, Combat & Other Questions Answered

Will there be serious decisions that will change the overall storyline? And will there be side quests?

The content is emergent and at the heart of the game it is about the player’s choice. The stories behind how each player develops and grows will always be different, which makes this quite unique. The storyline is the storyline, but how you unravel it and how you get there is really up to you. A lot of what we were trying to do with the demo was hint at the idea of discovery; it’s hugely important to the game. We will probably never reveal in full how the game works before we release it because really at the core of the game is the idea of discovery and exploration.

Will PvP be included in the storyline?

Yes! Unfortunately we can’t get into too many details yet, other than to say PvP is incredibly important to the game. We were asked how we wanted to do it and we realized that separating it out as a multiplayer wouldn’t make sense. We looked at a range of different games and then decided we wanted to keep it ambiguous. We wanted to integrate it into the storyline and add an element of mystery, so you don’t know who is a friend and who is an enemy. To be honest, it’s the thing I’m most excited about for the game!

Will the shooting/combat system be focused on RPG features like skills, damage, statistics, and critical hits? Or will it be more a more traditional skill-based shooter?

We are an RPG first and foremost. So the emphasis for the game is definitely on skill/talent synergies along with your weapon characteristics. We are a Clancy game, we are also an open-world game but really we’re an RPG first. Gear will be important, levels will be important, modifications to weapons will be important… everything that makes a fantastic RPG will be important to the game.

The Division – Loot, Late-Game Content, Combat & Other Questions Answered

What impact will the actions of the players will have on the game? For example: During the gameplay video you showed us at E3 the players cleared the police station from hostile NPCs. What will happen to this station afterward? Will there be new mission opportunities that unfold from there?

To answer it simply: Yes, your actions as a player are very important; the game world will change depending on your actions or inactions. I’ll try to give you a little more than I did at E3. We’re fixing New York, the whole quest or overarching objective of The Division is to get the “grid” back online and functioning; by grid, we mean water, power, sewerage, sanitation, etc. Your actions will change the face of your New York.

What kind of loot can we expect to see and how does it affect the skills of the player character?

The short answer is that I believe in loot-based RPGs; I think they’re fantastic and loot will be hugely important in The Division. You’ll have a range of items from gear to weapons, each of which will have various mods and things that we’ll get into later on. However, we don’t want this to become one of those loot-based RPGs where it’s all about gear and there is a ridiculous gap between old and new players; if I’ve just started playing the game but my friend has been playing for a few months, we want those guys to be able to play together. It’s a tricky balance and one that we want to try to solve.

The Division – Loot, Late-Game Content, Combat & Other Questions Answered

Will we see content in the game that will require you to group up with more than four players?

For retention and the end game, “group-plus” content will be really important. I can tell you that there will be multi-group content. I can’t get into it too much, but I can say there will be at least eight-player content.

Can we customize our weapons?

Yes, absolutely, weapons are very important to the game and depending on the type there will be a range of different customizations and modifications that you can do. We’ll get into that a little more soon.

Will the companion app be exclusive to tablets, or will it work on smartphones as well?

We’re shooting for all the major mobile OS for release, including both phones and tablets, so Android, iOS and Windows. In terms of tablets compared to smartphones, there may be a slight difference between screen type and quality but overall it will be the exact same experience.

Are we able to customize or upgrade the drone?

Absolutely! At the moment we only have one in development, but this is going to increase as we continue to develop the game, it will also depend on what type of drone you want to be. Customization and socialization of the drone are really the key elements of the companion app so yes these will definitely be available.

The Division – Loot, Late-Game Content, Combat & Other Questions Answered

Do dogs have any significance in the game?

Well, it’s a next-gen game so obviously it’s got to have dogs! No, dogs won’t have any special significance other than the fact that New York has over 300,000 dogs living in the city, so imagine if they are all let loose at once… You may encounter some particularly nasty ones, but no they don’t play a significant role.

What are the primary challenges faced in developing for next-gen consoles?

For me I would say making sure you set the scope of the game correctly: It has to be big but also possible, and that’s a fine line to walk. Recently we announced the game for PC, so really the way we look at it now is that we have three games. We have an Xbox One, PS4 and PC game, each of which we are developing for. We can’t just port to PC; we are building all of these games simultaneously and it’s a huge undertaking. But having said that, we have a fantastic team at Massive and we’ll be working with some other studios at Ubisoft to get the job done.

Tom Clancy's The Divison

Tom Clancy's The Division

Release date — TBA 2015
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: RATING PENDING
the author

Nick Ross-Edwards is neither an Olympian nor an Oscar-winning actor, but is surprisingly Australian. Working out of the Paris HQ he is mostly found navigating the sometimes tricky and always interesting world of Community Management for Ubisoft. He also enjoys comics, video games, pandas and pies. Follow Nick on Twitter: @nickrossedwards

37 Readers Commented

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  1. EA on August 27, 2013
    "We were asked how we wanted to do it and we realized that separating it out as a multiplayer wouldn’t make sense."This kills me, KILLS me, because I don't play always online games. And yet I want this so bad. *sigh*Really hate missing out because of optional online necessity.
    • Vyse on August 27, 2013
      I agree and disagree with your post. I Prefer it online only mainly because when they have to take time to make two separates modes, it splits the team apart and not everyone is on the same page cause online may work differently than online. I rather have a game like this finally be given 100% to multi player there for the longevity of the games life span can move forward with add-ons, dlc and changing the environment if they want to. Kind of like MMO's but for a shooter. Just like how games like Skyrim I was glad it stayed single player and got all the attention given to it being a single player game. They need to do this with Call of Duty and Battlefield already. While games like Bioshock, should remain single player only so all the attention and go to making it the best single player experience.
    • Bigdawg1252 on August 27, 2013
      EA, you should know that the game isn't completely online, if that's what you're thinking. You can play the game solo. There are just separate areas of the game that will be pvp areas and places you can go with your friends.
      • EA on August 27, 2013
        I realize it isn't constant PvP, always online content. But the fact that you have to always be online to play is an instant no-deal for me.To move slightly off-topic, I love Bioware games, and I'm sure I'd love TOR, but it's always online. It's an MMO, sure, but you can play hours and hours of content by yourself. But there's still that online requirement which is a no-deal for me.
        • Fading on August 28, 2013
          ...it's not always online, you can play solo...offline
          • EA on August 28, 2013
            I'm 99.999% certain this is false. If not, I would rejoice. But one of the E3 interviews with the two guys in charge cleared that up--it will be an always online game. Believe me, I wish you were right.
          • Kris on September 21, 2013
            You cannot play offline solo ... this is a false statement and if you check there facebook page they also state its a ONLINE ONLY game.
          • UBI Insider on September 1, 2014
            Being constantly online was not something that was suitable for everyone, And we need to cater for the greater gaming community. Yes there are areas of the game that require PvP for game progression, But you are able to play a solo mission also.
        • Erik on August 28, 2013
          I don't understand why it matters. Get online and play solo, just because you're in an "online" world doesn't mean you can't solo the content.
          • EA on August 29, 2013
            Some of us don't have magnificent unlimited internet. Some have sketchy internet. Some don't use internet at all on their home PCs except for installs and updates. There are many reasons why an always-online solution is less preferable.
          • AE on October 18, 2013
            Basically EA is saying his parents wont get a better package and he is refusing to get a job.
  2. Illestdriftkid on August 27, 2013
    Will we see character creation and customization? Example, race, facial features, war paint, scars, clothing, sex, and hair style.
    • Slaine on August 29, 2013
      You mean like APB-Reloaded? This would be awesome if some customization like this would be possible in this game. If they do only 50% of this kind of customization would also perfect! I would hate to walk along the streets and every 2nd or 3rd player looks like me...
  3. Stix on August 27, 2013
    8 player content? sweet i was hoping there would be a 5 man or 10man this makes it all the better thank you guys for bringing to PC
  4. Adam Boozer on August 28, 2013
    In light of the recent announcement by zenimax that Elder Scrolls online will be a subscription based game with a cash shop, many are curious as to how other game's are going to handle payment. My question is simple. How are gamers going to pay for the game?
    • Sam on August 28, 2013
      I imagine gamers would pay for the game like they always have, with money....
  5. Rip on August 28, 2013
    One question I haven't seen answered or missed...is there hand to hand combat and what place does "stealth" play in the game?
    • Louis on August 28, 2013
      Yeah, i also woukd like to know that
    • Kimkyok on August 28, 2013
      From what it looked like in the trailer analysis, there might be some kind of CQC because they had knives and take downs displayed in the skills area. But who knows, I'm excited for it if that's the case.
  6. Xander on August 28, 2013
    I wonder how they will handle respawns, will you still have your loot? Will respawns be handled like Dayz (i.e. permadeath)?
  7. Darkhhyron on August 28, 2013
    Can choice the cloth backpack accessories,etc? Please don't kill this game with subscription fee
    • Chris on February 6, 2014
      I hope so
  8. Madmayonaise on August 28, 2013
    I'm looking forward to the PC version of this game hopefully you guys do it right. Consoles have nothing on the PC. PC is King! Make sure you make a very large world with lots to do, or within 30-60 days the game is dead.
  9. Jeremy on August 29, 2013
    "Well, it's a next gen game so it obviously has to have dogs" a smack in the face to Infinity Wards stupid focus on a dog and how it is "something you really care about". haha I don't give a crap about a companion dog.
  10. ClausSanAndreas on September 1, 2013
    This game have amazing features, it's going to be a big online world with so much possibilities, since the game release on next year, i will waiting for more information like this and ready to translate it on Spanish, ¡Have a great day Ubisoft & Massive team! ;)
  11. scorliss on September 10, 2013
    When I first saw this game it absolutely blew me away. The graphic craftsmanship is omnipresent, the shooting mechanics look hyper realistic and anything from a Clancy IP should be at no less a perfect game. Cant wait to play this game.
  12. bob on September 14, 2013
    So I'm still confused will i be able to play The Division without an internet connection or not ?
    • kris on September 21, 2013
      no you cannot.
    • kris on September 21, 2013
      they answered this on there facebook page and stated its a online ONLY game... so no offline play.
  13. J on September 18, 2013
    im still confused on if there will be a story line and if so how it will progress...what with all of the other players how will you be the "hero" if you cant be on 24/7. Ive never played WOW so idk how that story line is or if there is one... like is there a means to an end or will you just go on like after your a lvl 100 colonel and all you do is play aimlessly in a war that goes nowhere and never ends,
  14. Semaous on October 15, 2013
    At the division we can get some vehicles ? we have other towns to explore like new york , the frontier at AC3 ?
  15. kemo on October 23, 2013
    TOM CLANCY'S THE DIVISION for a single player please
  16. Chris on February 6, 2014
    When will it actually come out.....
    • EA Insider on September 1, 2014
      May 27th 2015
  17. Joeseph W on March 31, 2014
    With power and water in such disrepair, I wonder what our subway system looks like. With Harbors and Ferries quite possibly under strict quarantine, I even wonder what the edges of the quarantine look like.I better be able to swim, I better.
  18. Cotton on June 16, 2014
    Will we be able to use melee weapons during combat ( knives, machete, hatchet)
  19. MOTHERLUCKER on August 16, 2014
    GIVE TO US FULL LOOT!!! GIVE TO US CHOOSE TO COMPLETLY LOOT GEAR OF OTHER PLAYERS! THEN YOU CAN SPEAK ABOUT AUTENCITY! MOTHERLUCKERS!

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