A bunch of gameplay footage from the recently-announced The Division: Heartland has leaked online. Beta testers are under NDA, and Ubisoft is quickly cracking down on the videos. The original video footage uploaded to Vimeo has since been removed. But this is the internet, and like the deadly virus in The Division, the videos are spreading.
The leaked footage is grainy, low-res, very laggy, and from the perspective of someone who is mostly exploring and messing around with controls and emotes. Not exactly the kind of material Ubisoft wants to show off. But hey, emotes!
We didn't know much about Heartland before this—except that it had to do with The Division—and now we can see that it's a third-person cover shooter with random loot drops. So it's a lot like The Division, unsurprisingly. The non-player enemies shown in the leaked footage are called Pilgrims, and come straight out of The Division 2, with enemy types that range from grunts to heavily-armored elites. Agents can equip two guns and a melee weapon, and perform dodge rolls and sliding runs—including shooting while sliding a la Apex Legends.
An obvious difference between Heartland and the other Division games is the rural Silver Creek map, which is reminiscent of State of Decay or PUBG. Between missions, players spend time in the Rockit Rink, a neon-soaked, converted skating rink that serves as the base of operations for agents in Silver Creek. Like bases in previous Division games, it's full of NPCs with upgrades, crafting, gear, and quests. The menus also confirm the existence of a Battle Pass.
One leaked video, shared by Skyleaks via Twitter, reveals lead designer Taylor Epperly introducing players to the closed beta, and describing what Heartland is all about.
"In this free-to-play, open-world, survival-action shooter, we move from the big cities to a small town American city called Silver Creek," says Epperly. "You'll come to know Silver Creek and its mysterious story through a co-op PvE mode called Expedition."
yeah yeah nda and stuff blah blah who cares pic.twitter.com/rStfrRo6fDMay 15, 2021
Expedition sounds like the opening tutorial. Epperly next describes a "PvEvP mode", called Storm, featuring 15 teams of 3 players each, for 45 total players. "Both modes will have you scavenging, exploring, looting, fighting, and surviving, all while avoiding the most aggressive and unpredictable virus contamination The Division has ever seen." Sounds a bit like Scavengers, potentially.
Ironically, the video ends with Epperly reminding the viewer that beta testers are under NDA, and shouldn't share any of this information.
Based on these leaks, it seems like Heartland is expanding on The Division's PvP Dark Zone, perhaps with eyes on games like Escape from Tarkov. And maybe it'll be another swing at the battle royale genre: Ubisoft's last attempt, Hyper Scape, released last year to little fanfare.