Ubisoft has revealed more details about the upcoming spin-off game in its Tom Clancy’s The Division franchise. The Division Heartland is a free-to-play multiplayer survival game that takes many of the concepts that originated in the mainline game’s ‘Dark Zone’ territories, and imagines them as the entirety of the experience.
As a result, The Division Heartland has a lot in common with games like DayZ or Rust, where dozens of players explore an environment to scavenge for resources, while battling computer-controlled enemies, as well as other players.
Given the Dark Zone portions of the mainline Division games made for some of the most interesting set pieces, there’s a good chance that Heartland can deliver the same kind of high-tension experience, where your ability to trust your fellow players is constantly tested.
Here’s what we’ve learned about The Division Heartland so far.
The Division Heartland: Everything We Know So Far
The Division Heartland takes place in the American Midwest, in a town called Silver Creek. This is unlike the two mainline Division games, which take place in densely populated urban centres. Heartland will feature several areas that are more open and feature the natural environment, as well as farms, and small townships.
The Division franchise revolves around the idea of a pandemic that wipes out millions of people, and the chaos that ensues in the aftermath – a novel idea, pre-COVID. In the wake of the event, many ordinary citizens were ‘activated’ as special agents of The Division to attempt to restore order to society. Heartland tells the story of a ‘different’ kind of virus that has mutated as it made its way into the more rural areas of the country.
Key to the grander narrative is Killian Creed, a former Division agent who went rogue, killed his squad, and fled to Silver Creek to ally with one of the enemy factions there.
Division Agent Mackenzie Reed, a former subordinate of Creed, is on his tail, and needs your help to find out just what he has planned.
The Division Heartland adopts the core mechanics of the Division series, and features third-person gunplay using contemporary military weapons and gear. Weapons will adopt an RPG-like power system, meaning there will be a constant hunt for more damaging weapons in order to survive.
Players will start in a central base, fashioned from a roller-skating rink, which will act as a shared social space.
As you head out to explore the world, you’ll scavenge for new gear and crafting materials, kill computer-controlled enemies, attempt to complete some story-based quests and challenges, and return to base. Gear you collect can be stashed for use on future runs.
The Division Heartland will have three classes that players can choose from when they reach a certain threshold.
- Weapons Expert – This class has access to a tracking shot that marks enemies after they’re shot, as well as an assault turret which automatically target enemies.
- Medic – This class presumably will have healing capabilities, though no specifics were shared.
- Survivalist – This class can detect nearby unopened loot crates, and scan for enemies with a UAV drone.
Like the Dark Zone of The Division 1 and 2, players have the option ‘Go Rogue’ upon encountering another player character, and attempt to sabotage or simply gun them down in order to steal everything they’ve collected.
In the past, this has typically come with consequences, like all other agents in the area being able to see you, and a bounty being placed on your head.
The map will also feature ‘Contamination Zones’, which appear to move around. Contamination Zones will require the use of consumable gasmask filters, but high-value rewards can be found within.
Heartland will also introduce a new survival element in the form of thirst, requiring the regular consumption of water to stay out in the world. Becoming dehydrated will slow down your movement. Thankfully, if you’re playing in a group, you can share your water.
About the Developer
The Division Heartland‘s development is being led by Red Storm Entertainment, a game development studio founded by author, Tom Clancy. It was responsible for developing the original Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon games, and several sequels.
The creative director of The Division Heartland is Keith Evans, who was also the lead designer of The Division 2. Associate Game Director Taylor Epperly was also a Designer on The Division 2. We can assume the two teams have a lot of crossover.
Will there be a beta?
Red Storm has been running regular playtests for The Division Heartland. Those interested in applying to become a playtester for The Division Heartland, and providing feedback to help shape the game, can apply on the official website.
No news of a more open beta has been announced at the time of writing.
What platforms is The Division Heartland on?
The Division Heartland will be available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One.