During the presentation, Ubisoft said a companion game was in the works for The Division. This game would be used on smart phones and tablets and allow those players a chance to get a bird’s-eye view of the world while influencing gameplay. Most of what Gaming Illustrated saw at E3 was similar to the demo shown at Ubisoft’s conference. The littered streets of New York gave that eerie post-catastrophe vibe that should be familiar to any Tom Clancy fan; but it was even more realistic because of developer Massive Entertainment’s attention to detail. Destructible environments were also a highlight as bullets chipped away at concrete and made dents in police cars.
The Division’s take on a “classless” RPG is a clever one by allowing players to craft their own hero. Instead of being a typical rugged Future Soldier or deadly Rainbow Six member, the hero of this RPG really is the player – just an everyman (or woman) looking to survive. But having the ability to make dedicated attack or support classes always enriches the online experience instead of making the game feel like it’s just about going in guns blazing.
At the end of the demo, however, we also had the chance to see the mobile game in action. Referred to as the “Companion”, this app is a great way for players to participate in The Division’s world without having to be tethered to a console. During the demo a fight was breaking out on the rooftops of New York City and two characters were pinned down. On a tablet a drone (the “companion”) was activated and flew above the battle. We were able to see the drone’s view of the action below. Impressively, there couldn’t have been more than a second’s delay between the action in the game and the drone’s view from the app.
Through the Companion feature, another player will be able to participate in matches while on the go or if they want to get their fix of The Division without playing on their TV. The player who controls the drone almost acts like a traditional mage in an RPG. It can provide support through support buffs, enemy targeting and it can even attack. When the drone targets an enemy they are highlighted red and visible through cover. Team not doing enough damage or low on health? Through some futuristic wizardry the companion can increase damage or grant health. It can even lower enemy resistance. After enough support an orange meter at the bottom fills up allowing for a special attack. In the case of our demo a missile was shot at a large group of opponents.
With the possibility of skill trees and more on the Companion app, it looks like a great addition to The Division. It will be interesting to see how players take advantage of such a helpful tool in online matches. Will there be drone on drone combat? Can human players get negative buffs by a particularly mean mobile owner? Hopefully those answers come soon when The Division releases on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.