Ubisoft is taking another crack at creating a persistent world multiplayer shooter. Tom Clancy's The Division 2 picks up from The Division 1's viral apocalypse, moving ahead to summertime in a new city: Washington, D.C. The Division 2 will see new skills, weapons, enemies, and—for the first time—raids. We've studied the footage, played it for ourselves, and bugged Ubisoft with every question we could think of.
Here's everything we know so far about The Division 2.
What's The Division 2 release date?
The Division 2's release date is March 15, 2019. If it's anything like the first game we'll probably see an open beta a month or so before that as Ubisoft preps its servers. Click through here to sign up for any future Division 2 betas.
Show me The Division 2 trailers
There are a bunch. Let's start with the most useful one: six minutes of gameplay footage featuring lots of cover combat and some extremely realistic team bants.
Why is any of this happening though? Answer: someone poisoned money with smallpox and devastated the US. An oppressive bunch of militants have seized the capital and The Division is leading the resistance. If you'd like to see that explained in the medium of video, this is the video for you.
And finally, how about a cinematic to establish a relentlessly bleak tone of The Division 2's post apocalypse. Rotting animals. Street executions. Want to pay 60-ish bucks to spend a hundred hours here?
Where is The Division 2 set?
In the ruins of Washington, D.C., seven months after the bio attack that kicked off the events of the first game. That means it's set in the summer this time, rather than snowy Manhattan, and the world will be 20 percent larger than The Division 1. Instead of being surrounded by tall buildings, The Division 2 throws you into larger areas that feel much more like an open world. This new openness makes it much easier for enemies to flank in combat.
The first game was set in the midst of a social collapse triggered by poisoned money, The Division 2 is set in a city trying to rebuild and recover. It's still pretty broken up, however, and plants and wildlife are reclaiming abandoned sectors.
What else is new in The Division 2?
It's still a third-person cover shooter with leveling and loot, as the gameplay trailer does a good job of showing. There are new weapon archetypes, however, including specialized crossbows, grenade launchers, and sniper rifles. By the time you've completed the campaign and reached level 30 you can start collecting these so-called 'signature weapons' as part of high-level 'specializations'. Enemies have access to new weapons and gadgets too, including a foam gun that freezes a player in place until another player can shoot them loose.
In the middle of battle you can also call in NPC reinforcements. You can help out survivor settlements and call mobs of those survivors into battle in return. It's hard to know how effective they are from our hands-on time so far, but they at least give your enemies something else to aim at.
The trailer also reveals four new gadgets. The seeker mine locks onto the closest enemy, scoots along the floor towards them, and then explodes. The assault drone can be controlled remotely and can, according to The official Division site, "unleash a special brand of hell on unwitting enemies," whatever that means. Does that mean it shoots them? It probably shoots them.
Meanwhile the chem launcher can splash enemies with explosive gas, acid, healing nano bots, and more. Finally we saw the wasp hive, which launches a bunch of tiny drones that target an enemy. It seems to be good at shattering boss armour in the trailer.
The Division 2 will also feature 8-player raids, which implies there will be more to do in the sequel's endgame—a problem that The Division 1 and indeed all living shooters seem to face.
For more info, read our hands-on impressions from E3 2018.
Tell me more about The Division 2's specializations
These are an important part of The Division 2's endgame. Once you hit level 30 you can activate one of three specializations, which unlocks that specialization's signature weapon and new skills. The three specializations are:
Survivalist: This specialization lets you use crossbows. You can also "control your surroundings using traps and status effects."
Demolitionist: You get a grenade launcher, which you can use to blow enemies out of entrenched positions
Sharpshooter: This gives you access to sniper rifles which, well, you know what sniper rifles do.
You develop your specialization in endgame co-op missions that will apparently offer "some of the greatest challenges the Division has faced yet." There will also be PvP, though this hasn't been detailed yet.
Will the Dark Zone return?
Yep. During Chris's hands-on with The Division 2, a Ubisoft representative confirmed that some form of The Division's dangerous PvP area will exist in the new D.C. setting. Ubisoft isn't willing to give any more details quite yet.
What about post-launch DLC?
While you had to pay for The Division 1's first year of DLC, in The Division 2 three 'Episodes' of post-launch updates will be released every three months, and they will be free to all players. It's not clear what those episodes consist of yet, or how robust they'll be, but free is a hard price to shoot down.
Will The Division 2 have a battle royale mode?
The Division 2 will not have a battle royale mode, according to Ubisoft's associate creative director Chadi El Zibaoui. It may be the only game to not have a battle royale mode in 2019.
Can I see some Division 2 screenshots?