Intelligence Annex #2: The Gear
Hello Division agents!
A few weeks ago, we talked with our first cosplayer; a very nice moment for the team. While helping him to select the right clothes, we understood that the community was willing to know more about the gear of the agents. We think it’s time for a second “Intelligence Annex”. :)
I sat down with Martin Hultberg, IP Developer, and Axel Rydby, Design Director, to give you more intel about the gear of the agents.
The Right Tools for the Job
In Tom Clancy’s The Division you face a devastating pandemic sweeping through New York City. One by one, basic services fail. In only days, without food or water, society collapses into chaos. You can’t prevent this situation but you must deal with it; this is a mid-crisis situation. This is when the mission of the agents of The Division begins.
“At the core of the Strategic Homeland Division concept is the fact that the agents are independent, versatile and capable to operate without the support of a huge logistical backbone” Martin reminded me. In such a situation, access to power and resources will be limited and equipment has to be specific.
“The key is of course to first make equipment that doesn’t drain power too quickly. The second part is finding ways to generate power from the environment. It could be about siphoning power from the grid, harnessing the sun, using movement in some way or simply providing means to drain various other power supplies that can be found. If you spend some time looking around prepper and hiking websites, you can find some pretty neat stuff that does just this and you can buy yourself!” added Martin.
Of course, The Division being an RPG, we want gear to play an important role for the gamers in further refining their playstyle. The gear enhances the character’s skills and talents in meaningful ways, and provides additional protection and other combat-related benefits. “Players will be able to customize the visuals of gear pieces to personalize them, but there are also tangible gameplay benefits from customizing gear, such as adding more armor or increasing carrying capacity” Axel explained.
Gear is a key component of The Division and acquiring new gear will be very important in order to survive in the world. But what happens when the stores are closed? Axel elaborated that “not only will you be able to find gear from fallen enemies, but you will be able to buy gear from the black market in the game. When society collapsed, the regular economy collapsed along with it, and the black market sprouted in its place. It’s on this black market that players will be able to trade resources for gear and weapons”.
The Division agents rely on their resourcefulness and when the agent becomes activated, it’s the go-bag that gives him a head start in the world. “It’s filled with 72 hours worth of supplies, holding everything from weapons and ammo to clean water and food” said Axel.
While the characters in the game won’t need to eat or drink to survive, food & water is a very valuable commodity that can be traded on the black market, or be used for temporary buffs. The go-bag also serves as the agent’s inventory in the game, and there will be different types of bags that can be upgraded and customized to suit the player’s playstyle.
Situational Awareness and Communication
The agents are investigating the roots of the pandemic in a hostile environment where anyone can possibly be a threat. To succeed (and survive), the agents have to get an edge over this environment and gain ground carefully; they need to have good situational awareness. They also need to collaborate and thus they need solid communication tools.
For that, the agent is carrying a computer system distributed over various components like his watch, ear piece, contact lenses, antenna and so on. This allows him to stay in touch both with the internal SHD network but also with local sources like police, fire department and other proximity transmissions. This both feeds him with data and allows him to push data out to the network.
“One of the first things that breaks down in a crisis is often communication, not just from a technical standpoint but also in terms of flow of information. One of the main purposes of the SHD agents is to observe and investigate the events as they unfold, and report that to the network, so this piece of technology is essential for them to do their job” told Martin.
The smart watch is the most important piece of equipment for The Division agents. “It’s through the watch that the agent gets detailed information on the surroundings, and it’s through this watch that the UI in the game is projected” explained Axel. The watch will, among other things, constantly gather information and present this to the agent, allowing him to make informed tactical decisions on how to approach combat situations.
The map you see in the E3 gameplay demo is a visual representation of an Augmented Reality system, generating a map from various data sources like Geographic Information Systems, SHD internal networks, or radio transmissions. The communication device carried by the agent collates this data and plots it on a map for him, displayed to him through augmented reality. The augmented reality is made possible by the AR contacts of the agents: these advanced pieces of technology get their energy from the micro-motions of saccadic eye movements.
Don’t forget, in hostile territory, the one with the best intel is usually the one that makes it out alive. In addition to the pieces of gear we’ve just mentioned, “there are skills and talents, such as the Pulse skill we showed at E3, that are focused on gathering and analyzing intel, all to provide the agents with an edge in combat” added Axel.
Defensive and Offensive Gear
Since there is the ever present danger of the disease and other hazardous and toxic elements of the world, The Division agents are outfitted with a breather mask that has its own air supply. Just like with other gear pieces, players will be able to customize these to fit their playstyle, and they can be upgraded to provide better and longer protection against whatever hazards the players will encounter. In addition to that, “there will be a variety of protective gear suitable for different playstyles, such as body armor that will boost survivability in combat” told Axel.
Talking about offensive gear, we’ll start with something that we will obviously explore more in the coming months; weapons. Great news, the weapons can be fully customized to fit the player’s playstyle. “For example, if the player wants to play sneaky, he can put silencers on his weapons, and if he wants to go in loud to shock & awe, he can get incendiary ammo” explained Axel.
Most of the skills in the game have a physical representation that is very much grounded in reality and draws a lot of inspiration from the Clancy techno-thriller setting. The skills are the agents’ most important tools and they give the agents a tactical edge in combat. As seen at E3, the player can pick the seeker mine or turret skills… but there will be many more. :)
We hope that you enjoyed this new foray into Tom Clancy’s The Division universe, you can expect much more in the months to come. We can’t express how happy we are to have such a creative community; your support really helps us to create the best game possible.
The Division Dev Team
- Senior Community Developer