By Blackout62 23 Comments
No, this isn't that Division/Ryckert family crossover you all secretly wanted.
I don't know why I had the idea of the inevitable sequel to The Division being set in Kansas City, Missouri. Certainly, I don't know enough of Kansas City to argue why it would make a good location for US government sleeper agents to sweep through restoring civilization after a infectious disease pandemic. So instead I'm breaking down why I had the idea at all.
But the game isn't even out yet, why would I want to dismiss the locale of The Division when I haven't even played it, especially when I got chewed out the last time I criticized the features of a game that wasn't out yet? And I have my reasons for being dismissive of another game in New York City, the primary of which is that it's another game in New York City. Every generation onward until they find a way to either destroy video games or New York there will be games striving to create the most accurate version of NYC.
This is just a specific example of a common criticism of open world games in the real modern world. Why do they always take place in the same cities? It is always either LA or NY. Somehow Watch_Dogs seemed original by setting itself in Chicago. Why not have an open world setting somewhere less known like Kansas City? Will it be less distinctive and relatable to the player? Why is this hypothetical player expected to relate to various generic fantasy and sci-fi worlds but not a large but little represented city in the US Midwest?
It's likely fine though that The Division is going to New York. I'm going to hazard a guess that it's a reasonable sales move that can be simply put as "a lot of people live in New York City and/or a lot of people like New York city, ergo setting this new franchise will bring in more money". And The Division will likely be a franchise even if it hasn't yet been announced as such. This is Ubisoft we're talking about. So unless the game tanks massively there's going to be a sequel to The Division and since that title refers to a section of the US military activated to restore order when it all goes bad let's assume that unless The Division ends on a cliffhanger or some other sort of sequel hook to keep things in New York its sequel will focus on restoring order to a new US city.
Where do you go from New York though? It's the biggest of the big cities. Ubisoft can't just make an urban open world sequel in a well known major city like LA, Chicago, or SF without it being compared unfavorably to the last. They're doing that already and Assassin's Creed still hasn't found a solution. It seems to me like the only place to go is down to a less known place with more room to surprise the player with how it distinguishes itself. And honestly I love that idea that The Division becomes a franchise of exploring various spaces of the US and how they react to an extremely damaging outbreak of disease. Though I imagine the developers ability to do that or not will be shown by their ability to make their New York distinguishable from a generic cityscape. That was a problem Watch_Dogs ran into.
So Kansas City, Missouri though. It's still just the example. It's a large inland city so there likely would be some interestingly different conundrums in a pandemic compared to New York. It's probably harder to get necessary resources to an inland city than one on the ocean. See, there's room to change the finer scenario even in the geography. Does it snow in Kansas City? I imagine a sequel to The Division would want to move away from snow. Or how about a more rural part of America. What must America's farmlands be like in a pandemic? Would the government seize them to have a safe food stockpile. Would that in addition to the outbreak be enough to cause unrest where The Division needs to be activated? There's opportunities here for originality if Ubisoft wants it.
Also did anyone else realize this game is just DMZ with the player as one of the various intimidating soldiers from the comic? Has Brian Wood worked with Ubisoft before. They might have him doing layout and graphics for the marketing.