Make It A (Virtual) Reality: Tom Clancy’s The Division

"What will it take to save what remains?"

It’s a cold winter’s morning and the sun is just rising over the city of New York. What was once a city of hopes and dreams is now a cold, ruined mess. The once lively streets are now still with no life on them and only the light snow fall being the only motion that can be seen for miles. This is of course the setting for the popular Ubisoft videogame Tom Clancy’s The Division. The title sees players take on the role of an Agent who is tasked with saving what remains after an outbreak of smallpox brought the city into a state of chaos.

There are numerous first-person shooter (FPS) titles out there which do a fantastic job of immersing the player within stunning virtual reality (VR) experiences where they need to use their aiming skills and reflexes to take down countless enemies. The same would be true for a VR entry of Tom Clancy’s The Division but what would make it unique is the setting and premise.

Now, gameplay for such a title would be similar to a number of titles already on the market in the sense that you have the freedom to position yourself how you like before opening fire with a variety of weapons. Ducking behind some cover and slowing pushing back the enemy is nothing new but in a post-outbreak New York, it would be something else. For those unaware, in Tom Clancy’s The Division the now somewhat empty city is littered with rubbish, cars, debris and plenty of other obstructions along with dangerous factions roaming the city calling ownership to whatever supplies they find. It is a war zone in upon itself. This along with the iconic status of New York city would make for a brilliant gameplay environment in first-person, as it already does in third-person.

Think about for a moment, you could venture on your own or team up with a friendly Agent or two to go on a mission to reclaim Grand Central Terminal from the flamethrower using Cleaner’s faction. As you battle up the streets outside looking for an entry point, you’ll need to not only make use of your firearms but also your gadgets. Perhaps you deploy some cover to create a vantage point or unleash a seeker mine to roll out to some enemies in cover, blowing them into the air. Once inside, the famous building is now in a state of decay and as you battle with the boss the realistic environment would allow for complete immersion and really bring the experience to life. Should you and you’re team succeed then of course there will be plenty of loot to enjoy as well to upgrade your Agent.

Tom Clancy's The Division - Car door

All of this could be presented in stunning visual quality with highly detailed environments and models thanks to the power of Ubisoft’s Snowdrop engine and the newly announced GeForce RTX 20 Series graphics cards. Though the engine has yet to power a VR experience, it has powered a number of titles all of which have superb visual visual fidelity which, combined with leveraging the new power available to users thanks to the new graphics cards, could result in a truly realistic and immersive experience. Of course, the ever famous car door mechanic would need to be included allowing players to open and close car doors to create cover as needed.

Because of Tom Clancy’s The Division being based in reality, all be it one that has some creative liberties, the experience would always ensure players are fully immersive. Even those who have never visited New York for themselves will still know the look and feel of it from any film or show that has shots within the iconic city. Therefore, being there during the state of chaos and trying to protect what is left would offer a great adrenaline rush.

Tom Clancy's The Division

So in all, would a VR experience based on Tom Clancy’s The Division work? Of course it would! If anything it would be a fairly safe bet for Ubisoft to make such an experience given the popularity of the series, given a sequel is on the way early next year as well. So long as the controls and gameplay are on point and mimics that of the main entry it would be a fantastic FPS experience. Fighting back against the enemy factions and reclaiming the city one famous location at a time in ten to fifteen minute long missions with some loot to pick up on the way would be a solid gameplay loop.

That is even before you consider adding in a player-versus-player mode set in the Dark Zone or the battle royale styled gameplay mode Survival. There is so much content that could be brought over to a VR release. Besides, who wouldn’t want to be a Division Agent and fight through the snow covered streets of New York?

Though the chance of such a release happening are low we can still dream to explore the snow covered New York in VR. Maybe one day Ubisoft will surprise us. Until then, keep reading VRFocus to stay up to date on any possible announcements in the future.

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