Update: Chris Gansler of The Division 2 developer Ubisoft Massive acknowledged the leaks in a message posted to Reddit (opens in new tab), saying that the studio is in fact working on a replayable PvE mode, but that it's still very early in the process.
"When we do Public Test Servers, the build used for these tests often times contain elements that are not part of the next Title Update. Unfortunately, this time it included a lot more than we would have liked and we understand that the spoilers to the narrative have an impact on players who were looking forward to learning about the lore while playing. While nothing is finalized in terms of upcoming content, please stay mindful of these players and keep using spoiler tags to discuss these topics," Gansler wrote.
"We also wanted to confirm that we are indeed working on more content outside of upcoming Seasons and that one of the current ideas is to add a PVE mode that is meant to scratch the replayability itch. This is still in the early stages of development and is not set for release soon. In addition, while we understand the comparisons that are being made to Underground, we want to clarify that we don’t intent to simply copy game modes from the first game, and that this new mode will not be “Underground 2.0” and will have a unique and new take on the topic."
Just ahead of the weekend, Ubisoft fired up a public test server for The Division 2 (opens in new tab) in order to check out some changes to the game in the next update. Player and redditor definitelyanalt16 (opens in new tab) decided to check out a little more than that, however: They dug into the PTS build and found audio files that may reveal Ubisoft's plans for The Division 2 season 2 and possibly beyond, including a new game mode and the return of a character from the first game.
Naturally, there are some potential spoilers here, so consider yourself warned.
Manhunts in The Division 2 are multi-part events in which players hunt and kill five rogue agents—four lieutenants and one "Prime Target," as the Division Wiki (opens in new tab) explains. In season 1's Manhunt: Jupiter, for instance, you put Chadwick Brandon III, Lucy Anders, Mary Masters, and Ryan Chang into the ground before going after their boss, Molly Henderson. In season 2, according to the leak, your Prime Target will be Hornet (opens in new tab), a rogue agent who was killed (except not, apparently) in a boss fight in The Division.
Apparently nobody thought to actually check on him at the end of the fight, so after the good guys packed up and went home, Aaron Keener dispatched another agent to pick him up and get him back on his feet, and now he's back and up to trouble, and you get to do it all over again.
The season 3 Prime Target will be Bardon Schaeffer (opens in new tab), the Black Tusk Specialist Unit Leader—Black Tusk is an enemy faction in The Division 2—and in season 4 it's Faye Lau's (opens in new tab) turn.
Potentially an even bigger deal is an audio reference suggesting that a new replayable mode could be on the way. Agent Kelso apparently tells the player about a skyscraper that needs to be secured floor by floor; there are "safe floors" where players can save their ascent and then return to continue later, and according to Kotaku, one audio file has Kelso saying, "Think you can clear that skyscraper faster if you do it again?"
None of this is official, and some or all of it could be leftovers from scrapped plans. In fact, a redditor named Defuser (opens in new tab) claimed to have verified the files but said that the skyscraper speculation is based on "a handful of lines from Kelso," and "may well represent an abandoned idea." But there's certainly interest in the idea of a replayable endless mode: DiscoStu83 said that it "seems to be exactly what we were asking for years ago."
I've emailed Ubisoft to ask for more information about the leaks, and will update if I receive a reply. In the meantime, if you'd like to try out some of the changes come to The Division 2 in title update 10, the PTS is still running (opens in new tab).