The Division is coming. I’m still so excited for this game, and no amount of poor Ubisoft fake coop chatter at E3 or silly downgrade discussions can change that. I love the premise for the game, and the idea of emergent coop gameplay in a rundown New York City sounds like far too much fun – I plan to run around on my own, meet up with friends for random missions or objectives, and then carry on with my lone wolf gameplay. Now, it seems that I’ll need to repeat those experiences during different seasons and times of day to get the full experience.
New York City is my hometown, and for those who have never been, it can be an incredibly varied place. The city you experience at ten in the morning versus ten at night or three in the morning are all different – they look different thanks to the bright lights as compared to sunlight and are obviously filled with a unique population. Seasons are also diverse in the city, with swelteringly hot and humid summers contrasting with the snowy, frozen winter wonderland. All of these elements will be a part of the gameplay in The Division.
Over on The Division’s blog, the dev team explains a bit about what this will actually mean:
From sunny and bright to dark and stormy, we as agents will experience the full range of weather and time of day, which naturally plays a much larger role than just a cool visual effect. Fredrik says that “when in a full storm, visibility is hindered, both for NPCs and the agent. Our worst storm conditions that can hit will affect aim assist and detection ranges for both players and NPCs.” I was also able to find out that the agents will adjust themselves in order avoid a face full of frost. However, the agents aren’t the only ones who react to weather. Based on the time of day and certain weather conditions, we will experience civilians and wildlife differently, and in some cases, not at all.[…] In some cases, various light sources can draw attention to key aspects of the environment, whereas some areas will be completely blacked out. I can only imagine the interesting scenarios agents will find themselves in when we combine a blacked out area with some less than favorable weather! For Tom, this is a compelling factor in mission replay. “A mission during the day has a totally different mood than a mission during the night,” he says. We as agents must be able to adapt to our surroundings and be fully aware of how different environments alter more than just our own decision making. […] Through the seamless transition from outdoor to indoor, the agents enter into an environment that is unique in its own right. Lighting and effects are unique to the indoor environment in order to develop that confined feeling of being surrounded by walls. With this intense and enclosed experience, Sebastian says, “If there is one situation that really makes the player feel the change of time and weather, it’s spending time indoors for a while, and stepping out to realize it might be night and there’s a snowy blizzard.”
I don’t usually like day/night cycles in games unless they add something new. But with a change of lighting revealing new things on the map and changing gameplay, plus seasons making the whole thing feel unique, it could be a reason to continue exploring the game after the initial experience. Can you do that mission in a blizzard? How about when the sun is beating down on you? Or imagine going inside to wait out a storm only to be forced to complete a mission at a time of day that makes it more tricky? It’s all sounding rather cool and makes the city come alive. If it works as intended, of course.
Last Updated: October 26, 2015