Ooh! Did you hear that? Just now, carried on the wind. It sounded like... clearly scripted banter from an Ubisoft gameplay demonstration. We've barely heard from Tom Clancy's The Division [official site] since its showing at E3 last year, and I'd half-wondered if it might be mired in development hell. It'd been delayed once before, and was awfully quiet for a game supposedly due this year.
Well, with E3 nearing (just over a month until I start drinking at my desk), Ubisoft have announced that another studio joined in to help out development. Ubisoft Annecy are the fourth lot working on The Division, and I'd wager they're working on its unlockable, upgradeable persistent bases.
It's standard Ubisoft practice to have multiple studios working on games, of course (they had ten on Assassin's Creed Unity). Annecy are joining Red Storm Entertainment, Ubisoft Massive, and Ubisoft Reflections on The Division. I'm glad to hear rumbles of life from the game again, as I quite dig the sound of co-op tactical action-RPG-ish shooty shoots.
Ubisoft's blog post announcing Annecy joining in makes heavy mention of the studio's work on upgradeable base bits in the Assassin's Creed series. They were behind Assassin's Creed II's Villa, and most recently AC Unity's Café Théâtre. Given that building up a base and unlocking bits by completing quests is part of The Division, yeah, probably that. I'm a sucker for upgrading bases, wanting the coolest tree house, so that sounds good to me.
We still don't have a release date, though Ubi said last last that it'd arrive in 2015. I suspect we'll hear a lot more, and possibly a new release date, at E3 this June. Here's E3 2014's gameplay trailer again, bants and all: