XBF DAILY: The Division Launch
After what feels like a decade in development we finally get our grubby hands on Ubisoft’s most ambitious game for years and perhaps it’s most important. Ubisoft has an awful lot riding on the success of this game fresh from the critical mauling’s of it’s latest Assassins Creed titles not to mention the possibility of hostile takeovers. There is a sense that if The Division fails the end may indeed be nigh. Kind of Ironic really !
Enough of the hype if you’ve been watching the streamers showing off the game over the past few days or if you took part in any of the Alpha or Beta tests you should by now know what is in store. What we don’t know just yet is quite how it all fits together and just how much game is actually there on day one which is becoming a sort of norm for these types of games. Destiny was very much the same with large chunks of the game being cut to be finished and added back in the form of DLC, all very underhand and typical of the Activision\Bungie relationship. Early indications are a little more positive with the previously unmentioned Manhattan stage being quietly dropped in to serve as a brief but welcome tutorial level to help players get up to speed before heading out into New York. Games like The Division benefit greatly from a decent, well thought out Tutorial due to the sheer amount of information you need to wade through to get the most out your time playing The Division.
A little more information is coming out relating to the DLC planned for The Division and timed exclusivity to the Xbox One. Ubisoft confirmed the first 2 paid DLC expansions will be released first on the Xbox One with other platforms coming 30 days later and the 3rd piece will launch simultaneously on all platforms. Expansion 1 Underground will be the first major DLC release and is focused on the New York underground and subway system which sounds fantastic launches in June. Expansion II: Survival launches in the summer and works in a similar fashion to Rise of the Tomb Raiders endurance mode to challenge players to survive a hostile environment for as long as possible. Finally Expansion III: Last Stand due out in the Winter sounds very much like a traditional Horde style mode setting players against wave after wave of enemies.
For all it’s delays and inevitable launch issues The Division is really shaping up to be a cracking game at a time where there isn’t a great deal to play. The pre summer window is usually pretty empty and with the exception of the latest Uncharted borefest it’s all down to Ubisoft’s latest hope to see us through the Spring and Summer. After the Beta I was more excited to play and that impression has only grown with the glut of news and videos I’ve seen since. I’m not expecting perfection first time around but a solid base for Ubisoft to run with and expand upon as the game finds it feet ,with continued investment and new content I think it’s onto a real winner
Else where we have an update from Mr Xbox himself Phil Spencer who provided a brief update on the Major Nelson Podcast clarifying his earlier comments on Hardware innovations during this console cycle. His initial comments were a bit confusing seeming to hint at new hardware being added to the Xbox One to improve it’s graphical capabilities. This would logically imply modifying the consoles Hardware possibly through PC like upgrades and due to the lack of dedicated ports for such an upgrade the only route would be opening the console which of course is well beyond many gamers.
“The feedback I’ve received about, ‘Hey, am I going to break open my console and start upgrading individual pieces of my console?’ That’s not our plan,”
Having the box simply work is one of the key attractions to a console and moving away from that would pretty much render it redundant when you can just go buy a PC for a bit more money. The hardware simply doesn’t support expansion cards like a PC does there are not expansion slots and no Graphics card sitting there to be disconnected and replaced.
“It’s not like I’m going to ship a screwdriver set with every console that comes out,” he said.
No doubt there will some slightly disappointed Xbox One owners me included excited at the possibility of having a more powerful gaming platform. This update doesn’t rule it out completely but it looks very unlikely we’ll see anything that will radically alter the capabilities of the Xbox One. Spencer’s comments seem more aimed at Sony and the work they are doing with VR by adding another processor box to power the VR unit instead of it draining the main hardware. If Microsoft do indeed see Hololens as an Xbox Peripheral a similar solution would be required for it to work so perhaps Phil was laying the foundations for that.
That’s your lot for today I’m off home to see if the launch day blues are cleared up in time for me to team up and smash through The Division.