The Division 2 has been going for five years now. Let that sink in for a moment… five years. As this article goes live, the team at Massive Entertainment will have just released a boat-load of new information for the game, all in aid of celebrating the fifth year of the game. Ahead of “The Division Day” we got a chance to sit down with Massive’s Yannick Banchereau to talk about potential features, the future for the game, and how he feels about it all these days, overall.
Five years in, how does he feel about The Division 2, overall?
I’m really excited for our players and fans to learn more about what’s happening in The Division story. Getting ready to introduce new Year 5 content, we are fully committed to not only maintaining a live game, we’re also expanding on the game and trying to make it an even better experience. We love our Division Agents and we welcome new players. Going from Year 3 to year 4 to Year 5 content has been an ambitious task. But we haven’t shown any signs of slowing down. We’re actually picking up steam going into Year 5. We continue to be ambitious and we’re excited about Year 5. I always like to tell people that live games don’t get old if they are maintained properly. That’s the mindset we have when it comes to The Division 2.
Would there be any chance of cross-play and cross-save coming to more platforms?
The reality is when The Division 2 was release, crossplay wasn’t as big as it is now. At the time, the online infrastructure for The Division 2 wasn’t built to support crossplay. If we were to explore crossplay for the game at this time, it would require a massive overhaul of the infrastructure. So the overall scope would be quite a bit to take on at this time.
Are there any features of the newer consoles you’d still love to take advantage of?
I actually play on PC so I can’t give much inside on the newer consoles. From what I hear, the feedback on the PS5 has been pretty amazing, so I would be curious to see how we could take advantage of those features in terms of graphics. But again, my knowledge of the new consoles is limited since I specifically play on PC.
Are there any plans to revamp the PvP element?
We intend to make improvements to PvP. That said, we don’t have plans for a major overhaul or a big PvP update at this time. But we are looking to make slight improvements moving forward. We recently restarted our Elite Task Force program where we have players come to the studio and talk about features of the game. We’d like to have a PvP-specific Elite Task Force to help us improve the PvP experience, with the emphasis on quality of life, fixes and feature improvements.
Is the new roguelike DLC the shape of things to come in The Division 2?
After Descent, there are no plans to develop additional game modes in the near future. Once Year 5 is released, our plans will shift to maintaining the game and helping with improvements along the way. Those will be the priorities once Year 5 is out.
What’s your favourite thing about the year 5 content that you can tell us about?
I’m really excited about the DLC that’s coming later in Year 5. Not because of the content … although it’s going to be great. But moreso because of what it means for the game. Making a DLC at the end of Year 5 is a very bold statement of how much we’re investing in this game. That’s what I love about it. We’re allowed to make a DLC and we’re trusted to make a DLC. It shows that everyone is fully committed to The Division 2.
Will you be expanding on the lore and story of the universe in-game going forward?
When it comes to The Division 2, storytelling has been one of the biggest successes in this game. When we introduced seasons as part of the Warlords of New York expansion, it was light on story and more based on gameplay. When we came back with Year 3 content and new seasons, we did so with the intent to have more meaningful stories. We did this because we wanted to give another reason for players to come back other than just wanting more loot. And seeing how many players came back after Year 3 and how they are now more engaged today with the storytelling compared to years ago, that’s one of the successes that’s led to us telling even more stories in the game.
The Division 2 has struggled now and then with the gear system, will you be making any significant changes to gear level and loot economy?
With Seasons 2.0, we plan to add a new item type. In other words, we’ll be reshuffling the gear by creating new items that you’ll be chasing. And these new items will have different offerings compared to the gear that you already have.
Is The Division a series you see having a long tail, and would you like to make more games, updates, DLC for the future?
You’re now seeing that with The Division Heartland and The Division Resurgence. This has now become a franchise and when we’re telling stories, it’s within the overall Division Universe. Having a dedicated Division Day to celebrate these games shows the commitment that we have here at Ubisoft for this franchise.
How does the political landscape shape The Division 2’s narrative, being that it’s generally pretty grounded?
When you look at our story today and what the world looks like in The Division 2, it’s actually a very different world in terms of the political landscape. Because they two different worlds, there is very little parallel between The Division 2 world and in real life. When the Division story began in 2016, it was developed based on fiction. And the work we continue to do for The Division 2 is also a work of fiction. Despite the coincidences between the two worlds, they are just that … coincidence.