Following a day's worth of early access time on Xbox One, the closed beta for Tom Clancy's The Division arrives on Jan. 29 for PC and PlayStation 4. It'll be the biggest evaluation the world has had of The Division so far, arriving roughly two years after the game rose to or near the top of every gamer's wishlist.
The Division was one of the most anticipated games between its E3 2013 reveal and its appearance at the video game convention a year later. It was at E3 2014, after Ubisoft showed off more gameplay footage, that talk of graphical downgrades begun to trend.
Ubisoft had apparently stripped open-world adventure game Watch Dogs of assets that made the game look its best for the E3's red carpet. So there was already a lack of trust in Ubisoft's presentation of games when the E3 2014 trailer was shown off.
From that point on, interest in The Division began to wane. Now, with The Division due in two and a half months and its beta just weeks away, it's time to give The Division another long hard look.
Someone has planted smallpox on currency that's circulating through cities around the U.S. during Black Friday. Rattled by pandemic, the U.S. government collapses in days and anarchy ensues.
"To put it in the bleakest terms, it's a city on the verge of complete collapse," says Ubisoft. "Its surviving population's last and only hope is a group of highly trained agents that have been living amongst them in secret, waiting for the call to activate and save New York City from itself."
These agents, The Division, will have to link up to retake the city from bands of looters and a pair of gangs. There are the flamethrower-strapped Cleaners, which seek to literally burn away the infection, and then there's the band of freed convicts that are collectively known as Rikers.
Up close, The Division is a third-person cover shooter that focuses on tactical gameplay. Stepping back a bit, the game is a role playing game with world building elements.
Instead of classes, The Division focuses more on the player character's skill level. Instead of reserving weapons and gadgets for specific classes, The Division allows players to use whatever equipment that's within their skill level.
The base of operations is central to what The Division, the group, does. Players will start with minimal resources and will have to search the city for medical, security and tech personnel scattered around the world outside.
The Dark Zone
Deep within NYC's dead core lies the original quarantine zone, now known as "The Dark Zone." This is The Division's player vs player area.
Anything goes in The Dark Zone, a multiplayer area that may invoke DayZ and other survival simulators. As such, gamers wandering through The Dark Zone should expect to encounter people: people who will befriend them, people who will betray them, people who will do both and people who care nothing for reason.
"At any given time, other players can either help them get that loot, or they can try to take it from them," Ubisoft says. "Choosing the latter means that you've gone rogue, and will be designated as such to other agents – who are then free to kill you without going rogue themselves."
— The Division (@TheDivisionGame) January 15, 2016
Save the Date(s)
Tom Clancy's The Division launches on March 8 on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The Xbox One's closed beta begins on Jan. 28. The closed beta period for PC and PlayStation 4 starts on Jan. 29.