“A Matter Of Pride” – Massive Talk PC Development, And The Setting And Structure Of The Division

Last week, I spent a few hours playing The Division [official site] in Malmö, hometown of developers Ubisoft Massive. After the play session, I sat down with Creative Director Magnus Jansén to talk about the game’s mechanics and setting, but we also discussed the studio’s history as a PC developer. The latter topic came up because The Division has one of the finest PC-specific version I’ve seen in recent times.

Before jumping into the interview, here’s a quick run-down of what you can expect from the PC version of the game. It’s unusual to see such a marked difference between PC and console at a preview event, but the version that we four PC-dedicated journalists played was splendid. I usually jump into the menu screens to invert my y-axis and then hop out immediately. The Division has so many options to play with though.

At the base, there are strong keyboard and mouse controls, which make inventory management a drag-and-drop joy in comparison to the controller equivalent. Those go hand in hand with extensive customisation options. Those include a wealth of visual settings (you can turn ambient occlusion off, should you wish) and a fully customisable HUD. Windows and other elements can be resized and shifted around the screen (or screens; up to three are supported as are multiple GPUs) as you desire.

All of that and no framerate locks. Right. On with the interview.

RPS: At what point in development did the game take on its current shape?

Jansén: Because of the enormity of the game, in every single dimension – scope, size, single- and multi-player, an open world – there are many answers to that question. I’ll cover the two biggest ones.

The very earliest thing we knew the game would be is “A Clancy RPG”. The Clancy games had always been the more tactical shooter, the thinking man’s shooter, when the games started with Red Storm, who are part of the team making this game. Computer role playing games tend to have tactical combat, much more so than shooters do, and to reward thinking more than traditional action games do. So Clancy and RPGs seem like a natural fit.

Then there were challenges of course. But that was at the very beginning, the inception. That’s what we set out to do, not too long after we joined Ubisoft, because they had the Tom Clancy umbrella.

The other thing where it clicked was when we were looking into the kind of universe we wanted. What kind of world we wanted. We didn’t know whether it would be best to attach it to an existing universe. And when we came up with the idea of a pandemic-stricken that is mid-crisis. A little later than mid-crisis actually – it’s the aftermath but it’s not the post-apocalypse.

When we came up with that setting, with the lawlessness and everything else that comes with it, we also came up with the embedded unit, the Strategic Homeland Division, which is their proper name. They’re trained, they’re embedded among the civilian population. They’re out on their own, without the support of military infrastructure like air support, guns and gear. They start from nothing almost and live off the land. That fits with how RPGs work, having players start with nothing.

The scavenging, crafting and looting make so much more sense in this setting and in this scenario with these people, rather than in a strict military setting.

RPS: Was it always New York?

Jansén: No. There is never one day when something like that falls into place. New York came quite early. It was after we came up with the pandemic and the fall of society. That’s the answer right there, really. Nothing says civilisation as much as New York. That’s why when aliens attack they always go for New York. It’s the peak of culture.

RPS: It’s also very recognisable...

Jansén: Yes, it needs to be iconic. We weren’t going to pick…well, I won’t say.

RPS: Malmo?

Jansén: (laughs) For sure. New York, though, is one of the pinnacles of where we have come as a species. It’s the peak of civilisation this time around so to show how and when society has stumbled, it’s perfect. And ‘stumbled’ is an important word because society hasn’t fallen yet. It’s your job to make sure that doesn’t happen and that everyone isn’t left in the mud.

The city that never sleeps is the perfect place to show the impact of this disaster.

RPS: I was reminded of Spec Ops: The Line, which used Dubai for thematic as well as aesthetic reasons. Very different reasons, but a similar desire to have the city form part of the narrative. Dubai represented something new, whereas NYC, even though it’s relatively new in the grand scheme of things, has endured.

Jansén: Of course. That’s another side of the story. New Yorkers have suffered terrible blows, in just the past fifteen years, with 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. The story of the New Yorkers, that they’re a tough bunch, is something we can draw on as well.

RPS: The Christmas setting struck me as well. It reminded me of Die Hard. I always like it when people say Die Hard is the best Christmas film because it isn’t actually a Chritmas film. But it sort of is. Just enough. And The Division, I guess, isn’t a Christmas game, but the setting adds something, even if it’s just colour and flavour. But why did you pick that time of year?

Jansén: First of all, I completely agree with you. If we’re talking about New York as the symbol and pinnacle of society, then what is better to show chaos, evil and mayhem than to take Christmas and ruin it. Nothing is sadder than an unopened Christmas present. So, for sure, that’s absolutely one of the extra layers that it adds – a melancholy and sadness, as well as a sense of spectacle. Completely tricked-out department stores abandoned and on fire.

I’m going to be careful about spoilers now but the virus was released on Black Friday and that’s definitely a commentary on the hedonism and consumerism. The excess. I can’t say too much without giving details away but Christmas is suitable because it’s a number of weeks after Black Friday but it’s also a perfect setting in other ways, so there’s a wonderful serendipity.

RPS: Switching to the actual game mechanics. My favourite thing in what I’ve played so far is loot collection and salvaging in the Dark Zone. Before we discuss that could you explain what the Dark Zone is and when you decided to include it as an entity in the game?

Jansén: I’ll start with how it functions.

The Dark Zone is a large physical space in the centre of our open world map. It’s also at the centre of our narrative in some sense. In our narrative, and mechanically, it’s a place where The Division agents can choose to prey on each other. All of the rules of engagement are perverted and nobody is checking on them. That’s because there are jammers in place so communications are offline.

RPS: The UI glitches out to show that as you enter, right?

Jansén: Exactly. And there are story reasons for that and implications on the narrative as a whole about going rogue, but I’ll talk in terms of gameplay mechanics. First of all, there are no loading screens. You can go through a gate or climb over a fence and you’re inside, without a loading transition. And once you’re in there you can see strangers, other players.

There are also enemies, regular NPCs, and you can take them out and get rewards. But the core of the experience is the ambiguity of interaction with other players. You can walk up to them and use an emote and wave or use proximity VOIP to discuss what to do, maybe even team up to take on enemies, who are pretty tough in the Dark Zone.

But you can also just open fire. And if the other players are carrying things that they’ve picked up in the Dark Zone, they drop it when you kill them. And you drop your things if you’re shot. If somebody then picks it up and steals it, that loot is lost for good. The only way to collect loot there and then recover it is to call in an extraction by helicopter. Then it is decontaminated back at base and placed in your stash there.

RPS: That extraction mechanic is the thing I was going to talk about. It makes you feel cut off and panicked. The further into the Dark Zone you push, the tougher it is to fight back to an extraction zone and when you don’t know if the person next to you is going to shoot you in the back as soon as you call the helicopter, it’s very tense.

Jansén: We try to keep the population density in the Dark Zone at a level where it’s fairly rare to see somebody. When you see someone, it should feel like an event. You’re not just tripping over mobs of players all the time. But when you fire up a flare to all in extraction, that can be seen over quite a large radius so you’re giving yourself away. NPCs will see it and move toward your position, and friendly or neutral players might well move in to piggyback on your extraction, attaching their loot to the helicopter as well.

And less benign players now know where you are AND that you most likely have something valuable. So you can prepare to defend the area, or hide yourself nearby, or even use an extraction as a decoy while you make your escape.

I’ll move on to the second part of your question now. At Massive, we have an incredible server infrastructure, which goes right back to the time of World in Conflict, which was the first RTS that wasn’t a peer-to-peer service. IT was true servers, with drop-in and drop-out so if you lost connection, it wasn’t the end of the world. That’s normal now but we were among the first.

All that expertise is part of our studio, and the power that you get when you invest in all that back-end magic and develop it yourselves rather than relying on third parties is incredible. We put people on those servers to play The Division, very early on, and we realised that we could make this adversarial, PVP-based space. Technically, it was possible, to have it as a seamless part of the wider world. After that realisation, we started seeing that the ambiguity as to player intentions and roles in some PC indie titles was very gripping. We were strengthened in our beliefs, a few years ago, that such a space would work.

Then the extraction mechanic came and then we started to think about griefing. Would people camp around the entrances and how could we deal with that? So we added safe rooms, which are mini safehouses inside the Dark Zone, and then we added a bounty system. When you’re rogue, people are informed. And if you go really rogue, then there’s a bounty attached to you and that is communicated to other players. They start policing the game.

The inception of the Dark Zone was realising that we could do it technically. There was a lot of work in the match-making and ensuring that level 25 people weren’t getting matched with low level players, lots of details to work out, but as soon as we knew that we could technically do it, that was when we started to figure the rest out.

RPS: I like that you can see the contaminated gear on the characters’ backs – you know that they have loot as soon as you look at them. That seems to be something that runs through the game. You can visually read the skills that people have equipped and other details just by glancing at the screen. Could you talk about the importance of the UI and those other details?

Jansén: I’ll be uncharacteristically bold and proud here! Our UI is pretty frigging awesome. It’s a very light, very 3d, very world-space based UI. It’s light rather than heavy, it’s not static. And it’s absolutely vital to our game.

In terms of the world’s visuals we’re making something super-realistic even though we elaborate on reality. When you do that, and now that rendering is at a point where we’re recreading the real world to a tremendous degree, it’s important to have a UI that provides information that the real world doesn’t provide. We don’t have the luxury to do these exaggerated shapes, in the enemies or in the world. We can’t show, on another agent, that he has a certain skill by making him bigger or taller or giving in a nine foot sword. So our UI does all of that work.

What I’m really proud of is how we tie that in. At the beginning of development, we were looking at fighter planes and how they display information with minimalist lines. And this is the military, this is how they do things. So what would a future military look like? Well, the infantry now have a lens that displays information, an augmented reality, that shows what you need on demand. That’s what fighter planes already have and we’re just shifting it to street level. It’s legible for the player but also fits into our depiction of this possible future military.

Real life is difficult to read and that’s why fighter pilots have what are essentially augmented reality devices to help them to navigate that world. We’re bringing in those same tools.

RPS: That conflict between high fidelity realism and the legibility requirements of a game are one of the biggest challenges you must face making a game like this. Your UI reminds me of an elaboration on Dead Space’s in-world third-person UI. And on the PC version, you go even further by making the whole thing fully customisable. Elements can be repositioned, resized, completely eliminated. Almost every developer tells us that they care about PC but most don’t go this far. How important was all of the customisation in the PC version for you?

Jansén: PC is incredibly important to us. There are plenty of incentives to do a good PC version. Personally it’s important – a I play on PC whenever I can and I want the thing they play at home to be the best possible version. That is not to be underestimated as a driving force. Secondly, both of the studios, Massive and Red Storm started out on PC so it’s a matter of pride, or heritage and pedigree if you will. We feel kind of ashamed if we don’t do the PC version really well. It really is something that we care about.

We’re a very technical studio as well. Sweden is a very technical country – we’re good at infrastructure and design, and a lot of our staff come from the old demoscene as well. There’s a lot of that heritage in the Swedish dev community and that is true here at Massive as well. It comes very natural to us. The engine, Snowdrop, enables the artists to do all of that great UI work and makes it relatively easy to expose all of those options on PC.

RPS: When you start development on a game like this and it starts to take shape, from Tom Clancy RPG to The Division, how do you make sure that all of the features overlap and feed into one another. Is there a point when there can be too much stuff to do – crafting, looting, shooting, and so on.

Jansén: We could talk about that for hours. It’s essentially what the job of design is, on a game like this, in one question. It’s what the most senior staff – creative directors, game directors, lead designers and so on – spend their time thinking about. What I’ll say is that when you get into the incredible scope of a game like this, where you can miss out on huge parts of the game and entire systems even if you’ve played for hours, the most important thing is that you can get into the game and that it makes sense. Can players successfully resolve combat, using cover and shooting, and can they pick up and equip the tools they need to improve? If so, where do they go from there.

Those initial steps should be intuitive and natural and comfortable. We have the luxury of allowing people to figure out the rest at their own pace. Take the base of operations, which is central to the game in so many ways. We chose to have so many of your skills and the things that you collect and unlock within that base rather than tucked away on menu screens as is often the case in RPGs.

By placing a lot of that development and the things you collect in a physical space within the world, we have players walk through an actual wing in the base and to see how they are expanding and growing. Medical skills are found in the medical wing and you can see the place improving and changing as you unlock those skills.

RPS: The base is a secondary character that you’re levelling up and customising.

Jansén: Exactly. By having everything imprinted in the world like that, skills are presented to players in a way that gives them a better understanding of the process of levelling up. If everything is hidden in menus and you don’t have to actively gather resources to activate new skills, people are more likely to ignore those skills. They’re invested in the base structure and that gives them investment in their character and their skills.

Before we inish, I’d like to mention one other aspect of design. It might seem like a small thing but it’s an important part of the way I think about the design of such a huge game.

Many games have loading tips when you fast travel or whatever. We have hundreds of them but we don’t throw them at you randomly. Instead, we’re checking to see if you’ve been crafting and if you haven’t, we’ll point you toward it. You won’t have to read about things you’ve done a thousand times already, we’ll direct you toward the things that maybe you haven’t discovered or don’t fully understand.

Using a similar system, we direct you toward things within the game world, not only during loading – and for loading screens, I include fast travel screens – but when you’re actually interacting with the world. So if you’re near a ladder and maybe you’ve never climbed a ladder before, the instructions explaining how do to that will pop up in the UI. Or maybe you have climbed ladders but not for a long time, so we taught you that but you haven’t really started to look for ladders in the world or to treat them as pathways, we’ll remind you.

RPS: You’re always watching us!

Jansén: These are just little checkpoints and toggles. Well, much more complicated than that. The coders will kill me! (laughs) They work very hard to make sure all of this works well. Those pointers are the things we do to make sure people realise the full scope of what’s on offer.

RPS: Thanks for your time.

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61 Comments

  1. BrickedKeyboard says:

    What this interview doesn’t address is the fault mentioned in the previous article on this game. It looks like “Tom Clancy” realism but if it plays like a knockoff of world of warcraft, with bullet sponge enemies and a rotating hotbar of special ability spam, that’s no good.

    Gameplay trumps aesthetics. If the gameplay is bad, it doesn’t matter how awesome the city looks or how slick the UI is, or how well the game is customized for PC.

    • internisus says:

      It’s an RPG before it’s a shooter. None of what you’re describing is necessarily problematic; it’s just a matter of preference and expectation.

      • Love Albatross says:

        Being an RPG doesn’t excuse limp, unsatisfying combat.

      • LexW1 says:

        Being an RPG does not necessitate a single one of those things. Especially as a shooter-RPG. We’re talking TTK significantly higher than the Borderlands games, for god’s sake. Entire clips emptied into the heads of what are supposedly normal humans.

        They’ve gone with a very lazy MMO design, frankly, pretty much “WoW but with guns”, and it looks like it will be visually impressive but utterly tedious to play.

        • Geki says:

          Couldn’t agree more. I was really looking forward to a Clancy-style open-world game with realistic physics and gunplay. This bullet-sponge shit has killed it for me.

    • brucethemoose says:

      MMO =\= WoW-style hotbar gameplay.

      That is the trend with MMOs these days, but Planetside 2 is living proof that you can have an MMO with real shooter mechanics.

    • airknots says:

      I would be satisfied if they add specific part targeting ala VATS in Fallout, and add status effects like cripple, blind, etc. depending on the damaged part of the body.

      • mechabuddha says:

        That would be awesome! Unfortunately, it looks like all we’ll get is slightly higher damage on a headshot.

    • crazyd says:

      Yeah, it reads like the soft-balliest of fluff pieces when there’s 0 mention of what was previously discussed as the biggest flaw of what we’ve seen.

    • Talonvor says:

      Have you not watched any of the game play previews that have been done by the various YouTube gamers like Angry Joe? I have watched a few of them and didn’t see any of the WoW style hotbar stuff that you’re complaining about. No, you are not getting a one shot one kill CoD or Battlefield type game, but an RPG. That requires you to shoot a target with more than a single bullet to put the mob down!

      Not to worry, there are none of the 6 hour fights with zero rewards like you see in Destiny. Plus, buy it and play it before you start complaining. That’s the only way you will know whether its a game you can enjoy for years or one that you play through once because you purchased it.

  2. Runty McTall says:

    Windows and other elements can be resized and shifted around the screen (or screens; up to three are supported as are multiple GPUs)

    I haven’t even got past this bit and I’m already excited! A game that makes use of my extra monitor for once!!

    • Runty McTall says:

      Great interview, thanks Adam.

      I’m pretty interested to try this game albeit, as people have noted above, the “30 rounds to kill a youth in a hoodie” aspect of it being an RPG could kill the tone pretty quickly. It’s a deviation from the usual Clancy approach of relatively high lethality and, I dunno, I was just keen on the concept of sneaking around a realistic city and taking down enemy gunmen with a few well placed rounds.

      Still, one I’m keeping my eye on.

  3. haldolium says:

    “and a fully customisable HUD. Windows and other elements can be resized and shifted around the screen (or screens; up to three are supported as are multiple GPUs) as you desire.”

    Thats too vague. What exactly can be done? Why are there no videos or screenshots of all of this?

    The AC-Interface is fully customizable as well, but the game itself isn’t enjoyable with 95% of the elements, so the are getting turned off. And while AC is usually playable without a HUD, most games are not. Especially not “RPG”likes. Like The Witcher 3. Everything can be turned off, but the game doesn’t compensate for the lack of information that is soley gained through UI elements.

    Also safe areas. The worst nightmare for every PC UI.

    What about interface speed and precision? Many of those fancy animated flash interfaces we see in most modern games are sluggish, have precision issues and often slow transmitions for the sake of some effects.

    All that is what matters truly.

  4. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Fantastic screenshots that the game will never look like.

  5. BobbyDylan says:

    Yeah, never mind how broken R6 is, please preorder our next game.

    Sure, ubi.

  6. Synesthesia says:

    “You can walk up to them and use an emote and wave or use proximity VOIP to discuss what to do, maybe even team up to take on enemies, who are pretty tough in the Dark Zone.

    But you can also just open fire. And if the other players are carrying things that they’ve picked up in the Dark Zone, they drop it when you kill them. ”

    So it will be shoot on sight, then? It’s like DayZ never happenned.

    There is a real need for mechanics to foster actual cooperation, or it instantly becomes a douchebag murderfest. What a crying shame.

    • Siimon says:

      100% agree.

    • crazyd says:

      To be fair, it’s only open murder season in The Dark Zone, a specific area in the game. It also takes 45 minutes of sustained fire to the face to actually kill anything, so you’ll have plenty of time to leave the zone if you are attacked.

      • Synesthesia says:

        it’s just sad to see that problem still ignored by devs. I would love to see at least a single proper implementation of those mechanics. The very first days of dayZ, before powergaming ruined it, are one of the best gaming experiences of my life. I want that rush again.

      • JRGDAG88 says:

        Have you actually played the Beta? Because as someone that HAS i can assure you that most of the complaining on here is from people who are either butthurt about not getting into the beta because they didnt sign up in time or pick up a pre-order copy… or the usual group of people that read too much in to what other people say that also have not played/tested it. The game is visually stunning (if your pc cant handle it then maybe you should upgrade or play something else) if you are on a console then thats your fault. The gameplay is solid. You guys complaining about how it takes sooooooo many bullets to kill stuff are either hip firing WAY too much or are trying to go balls deep in dark zone with starter gear. Does it take a few well placed shots to take someone down? yeah. reason? because if someone goes rogue there is a timer that they have to remain alive and out of combat to get that to go away. if u could simply camp on a rooftop somewhere and 1 shot everyone that passed by… then it would be horrible for both sides. Ive played as a friendly and a rogue to check out both sides of it. During that time it was honestly harder to become rogue/activate a ManHunt and survive than it is to extract gear as a friendly. So if it was one shot one kill nobody would ever get loot from dark zone and it wouldnt be fun at all. Those of you complaining about people killing you for your loot… theres strength in numbers. They added teams/groups in the game for a reason. Gather your friends and check out the game. if u dont have any then stop being antisocial and make some friends in game and play together. For those of u saying “nice screen shots too bad the game will never look anything like that…” what are u playing on? a potato?!?! The game is gorgeous.

  7. korefuji says:

    great interview – couldn’t tell if you were brown nosing him or he was brown nosing you.

  8. 321 says:

    Yes. Strong mouse and keyboard controls, fully configurable keyboard layout, drag n drop interface for inventory and management, extensive interface tweaking for mouse. Someone finally understands in the modern age what PC gaming actually means. Fucking god damn console controllers, the cancer of pc gaming.

    • mrvega says:

      A controller is perfectly suitable to all kinds of Pc games. All manner of racing games? Platformers?

      Cancer is a bit dramatic.

      • 321 says:

        Console controllers are only better when the game is actually designed to need analog controlls, to really need them. Yes, a racing game, some platformer. But thats about it. Everything else is vastly better with M/KB. The illusion that controllers work well is because most big budget games today are console games, designed around them. Real, actual PC designed games shouldn’t work on them.

        FPS games should be too fast, the AI too agressive and the enemies too numerous for the genre to work on pads. But because everything is console today, it’s not. They’re slow and mellow so they can be played optimally on pads.

        RPG’s should be complex, layered affairs. Baldurs’s Gate, Eternity, Ultima 7. Instead we have Skyrim and Fallout 4. Why do you think the dialogue wheels purpose is? So it can fit on the dpad. You can’t have console players browse through 20 choices of dialogue like it’s Planescape Torment. We can click them instantly. They need to navigate through each line. Better ditch complex systems and dialogues, make them fit the dpad.

        And so on. Gimping and feature removal happens in every game today so it can fit and play whell on pads, but most people have become accustomed to it and don’t realise that a PC, mouse and keyboard designed game could be so much more.

        • Synesthesia says:

          I’ve played the entirety of XCOM with a pad, with no problems. Same with Fallout 4. Downwell. Many racing games. BoI. Helldivers. Metal Gear. Bastion. Mark of the Ninja. Any and all fighting games. Monaco. Renegade Ops. Cave Story. Spelunky. VVVVV. Every single resident evil.

          Some cancer!

          • Synesthesia says:

            *whoops! Was meant as a reply to OP. Can we please change this joke of a commenting system yesterday?

          • 321 says:

            You don’t seem to habe understood a single thing from my post. You played XCom with a pad (disgusting) because it was a very gimped version of the original. A fairly good game nonetheless, but it could have been more. Fallout 4, no comment. Better ask someone with better undertanding to explain what my post is about.

        • Seafort says:

          I understand your post.

          You’re a PC elitist who talks shit to anyone that uses a gamepad instead of KB/M with a PC game.

          Guess what? PC gaming is about choice. I use whatever controls I’m comfortable with in whatever game I’m playing.

          Sometimes it’s KB/M sometimes gamepad. It’s my choice not yours so STFU :)

        • LexW1 says:

          “RPG’s should be complex, layered affairs. Baldurs’s Gate, Eternity, Ultima 7. Instead we have Skyrim and Fallout 4. Why do you think the dialogue wheels purpose is? So it can fit on the dpad. You can’t have console players browse through 20 choices of dialogue like it’s Planescape Torment. We can click them instantly. They need to navigate through each line. Better ditch complex systems and dialogues, make them fit the dpad.”

          This is utter rubbish.

          Pillars could easily be played with a controller – some people do with a Steam Controller.

          Ultima 7 has only one controller-unfriendly element – the utterly crap inventory system. That shit was unfriendly to humans. Everything important about the game could easily be handled with a controller.

          BG1/2 can easily be played with a touch-pad and aren’t hard to control with a Steam Controller. Same for Torment.

          Divinity: Original Sin’s Enhanced Edition shows controllers aren’t an issue with complex RPGs.

          I could go on.

          Anyway, I’ve been playing CRPGs since 1987, thanks, and I know you don’t need to use a mouse/keyboard combo. It works for some games, but it doesn’t for others, and you can have a lot of dialogue choices selected easily with a controller too. The lack of dialogue is an entirely different issue.

          • 321 says:

            You’ve given me the steam controller example to all the games or touchpads. rofl. You say you play games, but you don’t seem to understand how gamedesign intertwines with the control scheme.

            You only think those games could run on a pad. Touchpad is very similar to how you use a mouse, i don’t know why you have that as an example. You press with your finger as you would with a mouse pointer. Has nothing to do with actual controllers that lack that and only have thumbsticks.

            Steam controller emulates the mouse and keyboard setup, so no surprise people can use it for mouse and keyboard games. Again, its not an argument in favor of pads.

            No, pads cant easily select anything at all. Technically, you can browse through 30 dialogue choices, one by one. But would that be optimal? Fun to play? Would console people accept it? No. You have to design in a way that feels good on a pad. Small dialogue selection that is.

            Original Sin shows that a game with a simplistic interface that was probably designed from the start with future console port in mind can somewhat work, in a TURN BASED game. Eternity, Baldurs Gate, Neverwinter Nights and other real time games would never work. In an optimal way. Wasteland 2 shows that it doesn’t work all that well.

            There are far more nuances to how games are made, which unfortunatelly most people don’t understand. They think everything works on a pad. They work because they design everything today for them.

    • derbefrier says:

      Lol I guess this guy thinks no other pc games other than baudlers gate and doom existed in the glory days of pc gaming. I think he would be hard prested to explain how whacky wheels duke nukem or many of the other gamepad friendly pc games in the 90s would have been so much more complex had controllers not existed back then.some people seem to forget other pc games existed other than Diablo and baudders gate and doom in the 90s many of them perfectly playable with a controller and this was pc gaming’s glory days.

      • 321 says:

        Why do you have Duke Nukem as a pad friendly game? It wasn’t. It was a PC game forced on consoles. It was a lesser game because of that on consoles and didn’t play that well. Thats why Halo or Goldeneye are felated daily by console fans. Because those were console designed shooters. Slow moving speed, enemies that shoot besides you and do little damage, slow reactions and so on. Console and PC games are different beasts entirely, if they are made to take proper advantage of each platform.

        • horrorgasm says:

          Awww look. He doesn’t even know there was Duke Nukem before Duke Nukem 3d. What an adorable child!

          • thebigJ_A says:

            Yep.
            He’s demonstrated he’s a little kid who’s in the wrong place.

            Kid, PC games have had controllers since day one. Before you were born. And your childish pc vs console attitude isn’t really a thing around here. This site has a better community than that, one that’s got people who’ve been playing games for ages.

            So maybe talk less and learn, then pipe back in when you’re more mature and open-minded. Just a thought.

        • Imbecile says:

          Its nice to see the m + k elitism nonsense given the short shrift it deserves.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      @321 Let me guess, you must be a younger gamer or fairly new to PC gaming? Now you feel compelled to signal your PC credentials to everyone with complete and utter baseless bullshit about control pads, LOL.
      Joysticks and control pads were used for PC gaming since the beginning, now GTFO of here and let the grown ups talk.

  9. gbrading says:

    I’m glad to hear the PC version is seemingly decent. Ubisoft Massive and Red Storm have a history of great PC games, so I’m glad they appear to be living up to that. I’m interested in The Division but have no compulsion to play it now; I can wait until it goes on sale.

  10. Cinek says:

    I don’t know why, but The Division always looks as if the 3D models would be made of plasteline that’s slowly melting…

    • Pulstar says:

      At least be glad that UE3’s oversized, hormoned geezers are a thing of the past.

  11. Boomerang says:

    Not a lot of PC-specific stuff, bar the opening few paragraphs. All very promising though, very excited for this.

  12. Pulstar says:

    I still wonder why you can’t crouch unless you stick to cover? It’s 2016 for feck’s sake!

    • KenTWOu says:

      Even in 2016, gamepads don’t have enough buttons.

      • Imbecile says:

        Its clearly not a gamepad issue. I cant think of any other games that do crouching and cover that haven’t combined them both successfully. Hell, even clunky old heard of war could do it.

        • Imbecile says:

          Gears dammit. Gears of war

          • KenTWOu says:

            Look, I know games which combined covers and crouching. It doesn’t prove anything, because those games didn’t have exactly the same complexity The Division has. Besides they did that at the expense of something else, because gamepads don’t have enough buttons, doesn’t matter what year it is.

  13. Lucid Spleen says:

    Well, that’s all very interesting and quite a lot of it seems promising, I particularly like the post-crisis NY setting. I just can’t get past the videos that I’ve seen of this game: the ones where it takes a full clip, or more, to kill a single enemy.
    Lethality is fun. Make your guns feel, at least, a little like, well, guns IRL. Make me think twice about getting into a fight. Suppose it might be to do with the leveling system but it’s really putting me off something that’s been on my radar for years. Millenium hand and shrimp buggrit.

    • TormDK says:

      It’s a MMO light, not a real tom clancy shooter. (Which I have no problem with, already preordered gold edition).

      We’re been missing a decent MMO “shooter” since Tabula Rasa.

  14. UncleLou says:

    Again with the kb/m elitism. You can’t possibly misunderstand PC gaming more than insist on kb/m as the only valid control option. Your condescending tone is all the more embarrassing as you’re obviously ignorant of the history of PC gaming.

    • UncleLou says:

      That was a reply to 321, not RPS.

      • polecat says:

        Also why are people so cross and shouty about other people’s controller choices? This feels like a total non-problem and I don’t know why anyone would take to the forums and start throwing words like cancer around. If it does bother you I recommend more tolerance of difference, plus a lovely candlelit bath with one of those fizzy Lush balls.

        • Boomerang says:

          As someone who has cancer and plays PC games with a controller, I find his whole bullshit stance intolerable and pointless.

          • polecat says:

            Quite. Best of luck to you (on both counts) and fingers crossed for less aggravating BS on here in the future.

        • Raoul Duke says:

          I don’t thing it’s other players choices so much as game designers gimping UI design to accommodate the limitations of controllers. There was a nasty phase from around 2008 onwards where many PC games had horrible control schemes for kb/m users due to a focus on console friendliness. Thankfully it seems to be ending now.

          None of which excuses being a dick about it.

  15. NephilimNexus says:

    Dear Adam,

    Civilization is spelt with a “z,” not an “s.”

    You’re welcome.

  16. Slackar says:

    One of the gameplay videos they released recently showed clearly downgraded graphics from E3. Not that it’s any surprise nowadays. But I am still hoping that gameplay was taken from a console.

    • Boomerang says:

      Everything out there has been predominantly Xbone footage. PC-specific footage and screenshots are starting to appear now. And the beta is only a few days away.

      Here’s some PC screenies: link to flickr.com

      Looks ok to me.

  17. Unsheep says:

    A pretty game does not make a fun game, let alone a good one.
    So don’t be blinded by the superficial stuff.
    Look at the content first before you start praising a game.

    I heard other PC gamers who tried the Division describe it as ‘very buggy’, and not looking as good as the initial videos.

  18. vegeta1998 says:

    The interviewee drips with the usual AAA hubris. The check box of dejour features. This kind of corporate ivory tower game design is what eventually spoiled DayZ and made Fallout 4 so contrived.