Intelligence Annex #1: Agents of The Division
Greetings Division agents!
A few weeks back, we finally had the chance to show our baby to the world and it was a very emotional moment for the team here at Massive. You loved what you saw. You want to learn more about the game. You are hungry for information about the game’s universe and we understand that… even if we don’t want to spoil everything ahead of time. :)
I sat down with Ryan Barnard, Game Director, and Martin Hultberg, working with research and IP development, to learn more about “The Division” and its agents. Now, it’s time to share this intel with you guys!
“Clear and present danger” is one of the main threads running through all the best Tom Clancy novels, but what if a disaster actually took place? What about those crucial hours and days where we live in a state of emergency? The inspiration for the universe of The Division spawned from one concept, the fragility of society. The idea that we are “3 meals away from collapse”, said Ryan. “That was a very exciting scenario for us and we had noticed that only a few games had dealt with this kind of mid-crisis situation.”
The game is called Tom Clancy’s The Division for two main reasons. The Division refers to the secret organization you belong to as an agent in the game; it can be compared to how we call the CIA “The Agency” or the FBI “The Bureau”. But there is also a second meaning to that name. When society collapses, people fight for food and water and that is when anyone can become a potential threat. People have to make tough moral choices, and as a Division agent you are confronted with such situations. Danger can come from anywhere, anyone and even from your friends…
On Who’s Authority?
The Division, short for Strategic Homeland Division (SHD), is a response to weaknesses and problems identified in exercises like Operation Dark Winter and real-world disaster scenarios.
“The main difference from any other agency, organization or department is that the Division is a last resort measure. As such, the members of the Division supersede any other operative, agent or federal employee in the field. They have a form of executive power and answer directly to the President” explained Martin.
Another major point is that the Division is a covert organization in peace time; its members are embedded within society all across the nation waiting and preparing for activation. The Division receives funding through Federal channels but without public oversight. This is a type of setup inspired by “Stay behind movements” who had their origin during WW2. “Simply put, the Division is intended to ensure the continuity of government in the case of a catastrophic emergency. To do this, the Division has three branches – Analytics, Strategic and Tactical operations” Martin told me.
- · Analytics handles information processing and data management from secured locations across the nation
- · The Strategic branch is connected to government officials and leaders across the nation as a form of extra security and staff detail
- · The Tactical teams (you, the players ;)) are the boots on the ground that do field work
Together, they form a kind of backbone that helps the government stay intact and in synch during the worst of scenarios.
Lying in Wait
The Division must ensure that the key infrastructures and people that remain are protected. They must investigate the cause of the emergency and monitor the situation as it unfolds, creating a shared picture for everyone to act on. Finally, they are mandated to engage any and all rising threats that hinder response efforts following the emergency. These three steps are the main objective of the Division and the agents achieve them by any means necessary. This could mean collaborating with other agencies or taking direct actions by themselves. “While technically the Division has no dependencies with other agencies on an organizational level, many of the members of the Division are however drawn from various agencies and departments.”
There is no great organization without great individuals. Agents within the Division are hand-picked from various aspects of society. Commonly they have a background in military, law enforcement, intelligence community, rescue services or engineering. They are approached and recruited based on a set of criteria. Such recruitment can take a long time to make sure the candidate fits the profile and is suited for this type of job, and often, candidates are recommended by word of mouth from existing members. Once the Division is convinced the candidate is up for it, they are given an offer to join. The selection is continuous and follows the needs and requirements of the organization.
Rules of Engagement
Most agents belong to a group or cell; that cell usually has a designated leader. Beyond that, there is no official rank among the agents – they are equals. “Like any other specialist group however, reputation is key and dictates the relationship between fellow agents. This creates a form of hierarchy based on respect created by past deeds and actions” mentioned Martin. Every agent knows several fellow agents but nobody knows everyone. In fact, in a city the size of New York agents wouldn’t know most of the other Division members. “They really do not need to as all of them are linked through a dedicated, highly secured data network. This network allows them to identify each other, share information, access advisors and experts and create a shared picture to act from.” All communication is done via the smart watch and a communications relay device carried by the agent.
Finally, when asked if the Division agents have specific Rules of Engagement, Martin answered: “Yes. Their ROE is that they have none.”
We hope that you guys enjoy this first dive into Tom Clancy’s The Division’s universe. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and our official forums.
Enjoy your holidays!
The Dev Team
- Senior Community Developer