For a game that’s set in a mid-crisis world, with civilization in the midst of a devastating epidemic, you’d think maybe a smidge of The Division’s societal breakdown might spill over into the game’s development process. You might even wonder about any possible tensions that could naturally arise on a global team involving multiple studios around the world.
The good news: no such tensions exist. At all. Especially when it comes to the recent addition of Red Storm to The Division’s global development team led by Massive Entertainment.
While Massive is running the development of The Division – building everything from their proprietary Snowdrop engine powering the game, to the design of the world, the innovative gameplay systems and the intriguing story – the Swedish studio began to seek out additional Ubisoft studio support last fall. Red Storm was naturally at the top of their list, simply based on their long history with Clancy games. Founded in 1996 with a small team that included Tom Clancy himself, the North Carolina-based studio created the original Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon – and has been an integral part of the Ubisoft development ecosystem since it was acquired in 2000.
But it wasn’t just the proud Clancy legacy that helped bring Red Storm into the fold. One of Massive’s primary needs: developing an authentic arsenal of weapons. “They knew that surely we must have a team here that knows what we’re doing on that front,” says Red Storm Producer Tony Sturtzel. “They were right and our weapons team was available.”
Indeed, Red Storm has an entire team whose focus is weapons design. “I, personally, have been doing it for about six years now,” says Lead Weapons Designer JD Cragg. “One of the guys on my team has been doing it for almost nine. This is pretty much all I do – authentic military weapons, vehicles and that sort of thing.”
So what, exactly, is Red Storm working on? The studio is sworn to secrecy (for now), but we were able to pry free a few enticing details. Red Storm’s primary focus is the artwork for The Division’s weapons. The studio currently has three dedicated artists in North Carolina who are working with a team member in Malmo, Sweden. “He helped pick a list of realistic weapons and common weapons that would appear in the fiction of the game and we started building them from scratch in 3D,” Cragg says of his Malmo counterpart. “So we take the process from a list of assets that we need all the way through to completed artwork.”
Realism – already a pillar of the overall Clancy brand – is a key component of The Division. And when it comes to realism, Red Storm can make a massive impact on the game. “One of the huge benefits that we have is our connections with local military,” Sturtzel says. Not only does Red Storm have an in-house authenticity department, but the studio also has strong relationships with regional manufacturers, distributors and suppliers, meaning they’re able to get their hands on actual weapons. “We’ve had manufacturers come in and literally disassemble the entire weapon all the way ‘We know that that we can build absolutely the most authentic piece of equipment, right down to the millimeter’ down to the nuts and bolts, and our guys are taking hi-res photos of those things. We probably have unparalleled access to these types of things because of our authenticity department and their focus on relationships. We’re not ever gonna let the cat out of the bag on some of the relationships we have!” It all translates to tens of thousands of photos, terabytes of data – and, as Cragg promises, “the most accurate weapons of any videogame.”
This even extends down to the sounds of the weapons. After all, a next-gen game needs next-gen audio, too. “Our audio guys are some of the luckiest guys in the world,” Sturtzel says. “They get to travel to all these exotic locations and record ambient audio. And then they get to travel to the desert and shoot every gun under the sun. This project will be no different.” The audio quality is so good, according to Cragg, that former military guys can pick out the exact weapon and how far way it was fired, just from the sounds. “It’s spot on,” he says.
Of course, realism should never trump fun in a videogame. And despite their relentless focus on realism, Cragg is the first to admit that small concessions can and will be made in order to elevate the fun factor. “Fun is definitely the number one goal,” Cragg tells us. “But as far as the artwork is concerned, we don’t have to make too many concessions there.”
Part of what makes this process so vibrant, though, is that Red Storm isn’t solely in charge of weapons development. While Massive relies on them for the design work, they remain active when it comes to the gameplay for the weapons. “We know that that we can build absolutely the most authentic piece of equipment, right down to the millimeter,” Sturtzel says. “And the guys who are coming in from the gameplay side maybe want to push the envelope a bit, which is a great jumping off point to push the collaboration, because we have to get together regularly and talk about it from both sides.”
Which brings us back to where we started: With multiple studios working around the globe on a game that’s all about the breakdown of society, has there been any challenges working together?
Nope. Despite a heavy interrogation in both Sweden and North Carolina, we couldn’t find a single crack. “Red Storm is the birthplace of the Tom Clancy game franchise – having them work with us is a fantastic opportunity,” says Fredrik Rundqvist, Executive Producer at Massive. “Their expertise in military hardware, weapons and everything Tom Clancy is second to none in the industry. I really look forward to having them onboard and I am sure they will add a lot of amazing things to the game!”
“I can’t really say enough about how excited I am to be a part of this collaboration,” Sturtzel smiles. “We’ve so far dealt with nothing but the most professional, talented group of people that I’ve ever worked with. I’m really excited to continue building on that as we go forward in the project.”
Cragg is quick to agree. “Everyone we’ve worked with has been fantastic,” he says. “The guys at Massive are insanely smart.”
For David Polfeldt, the Managing Director at Massive Entertainment, the collaboration isn’t just successful, but also a chance to connect with the studio behind one of his favorite gaming experiences. “One of my best gaming memories is playing the very first Ghost Recon,” Polfeldt says. “Since then I have always been a fan of Red Storm, and it is a great pleasure to end up working with them on The Division. We have a lot in common in terms of heritage and studio culture that makes it very easy for us to collaborate, despite the distances and different time zones. I hope that what we see today is only the beginning of a long and exciting journey together.”
Prepare for The Division with the latest UbiBlog intel:
Tom Clancy's The Division
ESRB Rating: RATING PENDING
wen i haer that the division is an online playing only my tears run down because i do not have an internet connection but i have work very hard and save money to buy my ps4 and wen i saw the division i went crazy happy but s i heard its online only i felt so sad,imk a huge gaming fan and specially ubisoft beacuse you created great games but please mr fedrick make the division a single player offlien mode like you did with watch dog.....god bless you ubisoft please hear us
please me mr fedrick rundqvist(executive producer of the division please hear us of what we asking god will bless you and your whole team we know you doing a great job and working hard for the division to be release please we all are very excited around the world to play this game but not everyone has an internet mr fedrick so please take consideration and hear us please and make an offline single player mode also...god bless you mr fedrick hope you hear us the fans and do something about it
im true and huge fan of the division please can you make it offline also atleast a version for offline single player please...hope you can take consideration and your consideration will be very apreciated by millions of fans...we know you doing a great job and the game is almost a reality but please at least release the offline mode also
How many weapons players can carry -on? Can be like TLOU as weapons on player‘s back ?
sorry ，google translate
Hey Red Storm! This game looks amazing, and I'm glad to hear you are working on it.
Remember your origins. Fun is the primary goal in games, but everyone seems to be making "senseless" shooters these days. Your group has gotten this far by being different in a good way. Keep it a bit more on the realistic side, and I believe many gamers will be happier as a result.
Suggestions: 1. Remember the old-school guns. Not every home will have a fully decked out AR-15 in the closet. Older people may have a hunting shotgun, or an old handgun they have had for years.
2. I am a huge fan of Tom Clancy books and games, it would be amazing to have one game or book store with every Red Storm game or Tom Clancy book in it. It would be an amazing tribute to him and his fans.
Thanks and good luck!
Will you be able to establish a home were you and your friends will always spawn in the game and if so will you be able to store your supplies at your base.
Will you be showcasing the game at E3 this year? would love to see the frostbite engine in action again! im sure im not the only one, it looks amazing :0
Hi there folks!
I'm glad to see how it's going! looks awesome guys! i'm so eager to get one as soon as it's released. In my opinion this game could be a new start-point for Ubisoft for a stunning new saga of games and make some history. Now waiting for more info like how long is the campaing mode (in hours), how many players for the multi, hardware minimun specifications to run it in Medium/high quality... (obviously Wii would be out, mate..., and probably PS3/Xbox 360, I guess DirectX 11 will be required and 11.1 much better)
Great article!!! Isn't Reflections also working on the division. I'd love to hear about their involvement.
First of all, the individual didn't ask a question, they made a statement. Secondly, if the sole purpose of some of your responses here is to beleaguer the user and not give any productive feedback - don't bother commenting. Your purpose is simply to feed your own egotistical insecurities by putting another person down.
In response to the user:
Unfortunately - the Wii U lacks the hardware specifications necessary to run Snowdrop in any next-gen high-res context. Perhaps a version of the game could be made for the Wii U, but it certainly wouldn't be the polished, refined content you saw in the trailers. So I highly doubt Ubisoft would bother given the goals and circumstances of this particular release. The game will be released for the PS4, Xbox One and PC. Now may be a good time to upgrade your PC or purchase a console meant for the more hardware intensive games -- whichever is cheaper. Good luck!
We haven't announced what we'll be showing at E3 yet, but we'll have more info on our E3 presence soon.
All great questions, Alvaro. We've announced that The Division is next-gen and PC only. The PC specs and the additional gameplay details will come later. Stay tuned!
Thanks, Lance! We'll have more info on other studios at a later date. Today, we're celebrating Red Storm's involvement with The Division.