Tom Clancy’s The Division was an ambitious release that had a ton of hype surrounding its March 8, 2016 launch date. Now over a full year later, the game doesn’t seem to have lived up to its lofty full potential (in the months after the initial release, it was reported that over 90 percent of the fanbase had left). However, in an attempt to bring players back into the fold and entice new customers to travel through post-apocalyptic New York, The Division is free to play until May 7 at 11:59 pm.
Ubisoft announced the news on their website that The Division would be available to gamers all weekend for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. However, there are some caveats.
The trial allows players to experience The Division only until they reach level 8 or have played six hours of game time. While significant, it’s not unlimited. If people like what they experienced, they can then buy the game for 50 percent off this weekend on Steam, as well as receive discounts on PSN and Xbox Live. Lucky for the gamers who decide to invest, their experience will carry over to the full game.
Originally, The Division was announced at E3 in 2013 and built up quite a bit of anticipation over the next few years until it finally launched. However, the reviews weren’t overwhelmingly positive. While some publications like Game Informer gave it a positive 8 out of 10 rating, many major video game review sites ranked it in the 6-range. After some patches and additional content were released, it’s currently sitting with an 80 percent on Metacritic. Solid, but not spectacular.
While trying something for free is almost always a good thing, the move may be too late. Ubisoft had long-term plans in place to support the game upon its launch, but this year their “Year Two” plan was announced and it immediately began worrying some players who were hoping to stay invested in the world of The Division for the long-haul.
Creative Director Julian Gerighty recently raised some eyebrows after his declaration of what the upcoming additions will entail. Gamers were hoping to experience more story-based content, which would allow them to potentially sink dozens of more hours into the world. Other similar games, like Destiny, have taken this approach and achieved a great amount of success because of it. It’s a massive undertaking, but Ubisoft wasn’t interested in the effort. Instead, The Division is strangely going another route, as Gerighty noted.
“We can’t really deliver story missions that will fit into the RPG aspects of the game in a simple way. So we’re not going to be doing the classic main mission type of thing, but narrative content is something that we are definitely looking at.”
This news led Tim Clark, a writer at PC Gamer, to declare that The Division would experience a “slow death.” He also detailed what one of the updates would entail.
“The first expansion, which is due this summer, will be focused on an event system that uses modifiers to play the existing content in different ways. Or, in other words, grinding the same missions for cosmetic rewards and achievements. It will also introduces a ‘loadout’ system, which will be hugely welcome given what a pain in the hole it is to swap builds in which all of your weapons and armour have multiple mods attached.”
It will be interesting to see whether this trial brings a host of new players into the fold, or if it only delays the inevitable of fans losing interest entirely for a bit longer. Either way, happy free gaming this weekend! And hey, if nothing else, there’s always The Division movie to look forward to.
[Featured Image by Ubisoft]