Ubisoft heard the criticisms about the first Division game. So for Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, you could say the company over-prepared for the endgame and post-launch content in the hope that gamers will be playing the sequel for years — perhaps indefinitely.
One of these strategies is including a “game-changer” to the story after players finish the main narrative: The Black Tusks.
Fans speculated online about what this new faction means for The Division 2 since the black-clad militia were glimpsed in the story trailers. Terry Spier, the game’s creative director from Red Storm Entertainment, went into more detail during a presentation in New York last week.
The Biggest Challenge Yet
The Black Tusks aren’t hunters, as some predicted, but are “a heavily equipped paramilitary faction.”
“After certain key narrative events take place in the endgame, a new faction will come into play in Washington, D.C., a faction that has never been seen before,” Spier explains. “This new unforeseen enemy changes the rules even further for the player. We’re going to challenge players to rethink all the tactics and habits that they’ve learned up to that point.”
The Division 2 begins its main “40-hour story campaign” seven months after the events of the first game, which saw a mysterious outbreak ravage a harsh New York City. The Division agents are now called to defend a crumbling Washington in the wake of three rival factions looking to horde the resources: The Hyenas, The True Sons, and the Outcasts.
The main story will see you grappling with these groups in the main game, but if you truly wish to rid the city of these threats, you’ll have to attack their strongholds, which Spier says are only revealed once endgame content begins.
The Black Tusks, which include eight new character archetypes, “have their own agenda, their own needs, and their own objectives just like the other factions, only The Black Tusks are far more organized and much more deadly,” Spier notes.
He says these foes will mark the most challenging faction for the game “because The Black Tusks invade the entire world. Imagine they’re filling th e power vacuum left behind after you’ve dismantled the other factions. They’re playing the opportunists and swoop in to get the resources they need.”
Their presence will unlock new features like more blockaded settlements, aerial drone patrols, new control points, the occupied Dark Zones, and renewed faction fighting. “Because even the bad guys don’t like these bad guys,” Spier says.
Ubisoft is already planning to offer players three “specializations” at launch — the crossbow-wielding Survivalist, the Sharpshooter, and the grande launcher-packing Demolitionist — but there will be three more specializations coming in the endgame to help you deal with these Black Tusks. That’s how powerful Ubisoft believes them to be.
We’re In the Endgame Now
The Black Tusks are part of an “endgame first philosophy,” which seems to arise from player feedback surrounding the content released for when gamers reached max level in the first game.
“We have hundreds, if not thousands of hours of meaningful content in the single player and in the multiplayer and the endgame,” Spier promises. “And there’s even more with post-launch because launch is only the beginning for The Division 2. We’re making a longterm commitment to our players. We’re building on three years of live learning and development in the original game.”
According to Spier, The Division 2’s “post-launch plans already include an entire year of free content for all players.”
When asked by EW how the Ubisoft team delegated certain narrative choices to the endgame as opposed to the main story campaign, Spier says they specifically asked the writers for “a punch” in order to have an “impactful endgame” that isn’t a “regrind” of the whole game. Hence the Black Tusks element.
“We want to make sure that it’s integrated and that it’s going to matter to all people, not just the people who want to get the coolest gear,” he says. “So it was absolutely intentional.”
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
In The Division 2, Division agents head to Washington to restore order to a city torn apart by the three rival factions.
“Your first priority is to make contact with the base of operations and defend it from heavy attack,” Spier points out. That base — which will be “the ultimate tool box” for unlocking skills, handling inventory, crafting and modifying gear, and the like — is the White House.
Despite all the patriotic apocalypse imagery of the nation’s capital in ruin — due to over vegetation, there’s a literal swamp on The Hill in this game — Spier clarifies The Division 2 was being developed before the rise of Trumpism in America.
“When we thought about where to go next, there were a number of things in mind,” Spier explains. “First is, how do you top Manhattan. We knew we needed to embrace a city that could stand on its own. Clearly, D.C. can do that. But narratively it was much more engaging for us. The Strategic Homeland Division, it’s a fictional organization within a fictional government that’s predicated upon an actual presidential directive, Directive 51… That’s a government agency. The idea that we would go to the seat of power where the government of the United States exists and it’s collapsing, that means the SHD network is in itself collapsing. So what an engaging story to tell. We got all these fantastic elements almost for free.”
Civilians in this game have banded together in various settlements, described as “special pockets of safety surrounded by chaos on all sides.” Each come with their own unique characters and characteristics, and aiding the settlements will have an impact on the world by giving you access to more activities.
Friendly factions will work towards the betterment of society by constructing settlements, trading with other groups, and training new recruits. At a certain level, players will also be able to call upon members of these settlements to “help you clear the streets,” Spier says. “You can actually summon them in difficult combat situations.”
All of that, he adds, “is just the beginning” for what awaits players in The Division 2. So, maybe we all will still be playing this by 2024.