Massive Entertainment Q&A: The Division and the Power of a New Generation

At gamescom, we were thrilled to announce with our partners at Massive Entertainment and Ubisoft that “Tom Clancy’s The Division” will launch with exclusive content on Xbox One.  Now, more details are being shared about one of the most hotly anticipated titles of 2014.  Be sure to check out the latest issue of Edge magazine for an exclusive cover story about “Tom Clancy’s The Division,” and then read our Xbox Wire interview with Massive Entertainment’s Fredrik Rundqvist, Executive Producer, and Ryan Barnard, Game Director to find out how they’re using the power of Xbox One to create a new generation of gaming.  

What are you most excited about for developing on new generation hardware?

Ryan Bernard: There are many things to talk about on this topic, but I would say that it’s mainly about being far less limited in scope, and being allowed to create the immersive experience we want as gamers. For “Tom Clancy’s The Division,” creating the most detailed NYC that we have ever seen is a major focus for us. NYC is a character in our game, so we need to give it a presence and a feel that will get the players truly immersed in this universe. Each new generation of consoles allows us to do more, and with this new generation, we are able to really achieve our vision of what a chaotic, mid-crisis NYC would be like and what it would feel like to be there fighting to stop the complete fall of our society.

How will a new generation of hardware impact/change/revolutionize the future of your title/gaming?

Ryan Bernard: 
Each new generation of console is a revolution, and precedes a revolutionary generation of games. With this new release, we have the possibility of reaching a whole new level of realism and details in the environment. In “Tom Clancy’s The Division,” we are finally able to truly recreate the diseased, but living world we had envisioned.  Extremely advanced NPC behavior, in and out of combat, a state of the art weather system and day and night cycle, are examples of features that contribute strongly to a very plausible and disturbing setting, in a place that we all know very well. All of this aims at immersing the player even deeper, and giving him the best gaming experience as possible.

How many studios are working on/will have worked on “The Division” and can you explain a little bit about what each studio is contributing and the process of working with multiple studios to develop a single title?

Fredrik Rundqvist: 
It´s part of the Ubisoft DNA to develop big titles across many studios, to bring developers from different places and expertise together. “The Division” is going to be part of that structure. As the lead studio, the majority of design and directing the game is and will be done out of Massive, but we are very likely to work with one or several other Ubisoft studios on various aspects of the game. This is a great way to share talent, learn from each other and thus provide an even better experience for the games. We will keep you posted when we have more information to share about this.

It was revealed that Ubisoft will make online multiplayer in “The Division” more meaningful with the loss of equipment and gear whenever a player dies online – what are other ways in which “The Division” is providing players an immersive and tension-wrought experience online?

Ryan Bernard: We believe that the online aspect of our game is an element that will truly enhance the gaming experience. Playing in teams will not only be fun and very useful for combat tactics, but is very likely to give the player more rewards too. We are also creating a matchmaking system that will allow players who don’t have friends playing the game at a given moment, to not just randomly meet new people in the game, but to be matched with gamers that match their play style.

How will the second screen-game experience in “The Division” differ from the second-screen experience in other games?

Ryan Bernard: We are creating a second-screen experience that will be really meaningful for the game. It will be a whole new experience for the group, through simultaneous and asymmetric gameplay between the mobile device and the console/PC game. Companion gamers will be able to seamlessly join the game, anywhere they want, as an actual character. The drone is a persistent character that you can level up in gear, weapons and skills. From the team’s stand point, it gives an edge for tactical combat, as well exploration from a bird’s eye view.

What do you feel is the trademark of a Tom Clancy title and how does/will that be reflected in “The Division?”

Fredrik Rundqvist: To us, Tom Clancy is about clear and present danger, tactical movement, military accuracy and tech gadgets. And all of that is part of the core of the game experience and the IP. The team has a long history of consulting experts, doing extensive background research on the settings of our games, and one of the Tom Clancy trademarks has always been plausibility and realism. I think “The Division,” as a whole, is very much grounded in reality.