The Division Heartland puts a survival twist into Ubisoft’s loot-shooter format

Tom Clancy’s The Division Heartland, the next chapter in Ubisoft’s seven-year-old loot-shooter franchise, brings the struggle to rebuild from a devastating pandemic to the fictional flyover town of Silver Creek. Far from the recognizable streets, buildings, and monuments of New York and Washington, players will have to cope with an ever-changing contamination, new survival obligations, and a deadly nighttime cycle that appears to be a substitute for the Dark Zone of the first two games.

Developer Red Storm Entertainment revealed the first details of The Division Heartland on Thursday during a “Division Day” roundup video of everything Ubisoft has cooking for the franchise. No launch date or window was given, but fans are invited to register for Heartland’s next closed playtest, which will be sometime this summer. First announced in May 2021, The Division Heartland will be a free-to-play game on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Narratively speaking, The Division Heartland begins with the player helping a new NPC, agent McKenzie Reid, establish her base of operations (inside a roller-skating rink) to bring law and order back to Silver Lake. This will end up as the game’s hub world, where players begin and end their mission cycles, store any loot they’ve gained, and meet up with others in the game to form up cooperative squads and take on their next assignment.

Players will have to pack a “go bag” with more than weapons to make it through a shift. The Division Heartland will force players to cope with dehydration and sickness in ways the previous two games did not. In addition to making sure they have water handy, or can at least find it, players will need to equip rapidly depleting breathing filters if they venture into a contaminated area, whose boundaries are always changing.

At launch, Heartland players may choose from three classes to specialize their character: weapons expert, medic, or survivalist, all coming with individual perks. Survivalists, for example, can spot loot containers behind walls. They’ll still deal with hostile rogue agents, including a new big bad named Killian Tower, who has disavowed the Strategic Homeland Division and is sowing chaos among the competing gangs threatening Silver Creek.

[embedded content]

Ubisoft’s “Division Day” preview wasn’t limited to just Heartland. Thursday’s video also revealed Descent, a rogue-lite mode coming to Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 this summer. Descent is nominally a training simulation, where agents drop whatever gear they’ve acquired and work with loadouts and special gear that the game chooses at random. Then they progress through a series of rooms, facing threats of increasing difficulty.

Descent does not require the $29.99 Warlords of New York expansion, which launched in 2020. Anyone who has the base game may play it, whether solo or on a multiplayer team. Descent’s launch date will come alongside The Division 2 year 5 season 1’s debut, titled “Broken Wings.” That will begin in early June, Ubisoft said. Players with a PC copy of The Division 2 may preview Descent on the game’s public test server beginning Friday. The Division 2’s content roadmap for year 5 is below:

Image: Ubisoft

Leave a Reply