I’ve kept an eye on The Division since footage of the closed beta started being posted to YouTube and I have to say, it’s definitely piqued my interest. I had a bit of hope that it would create a compelling MMO-like experience like the one that Destiny had attempted to create—even though it’s a third-person cover-shooter and is practically doomed to fail—but after a certain developer gaffe, I’m not so sure that Ubisoft’s development studio is even sold on the idea of their Tom Clancy-branded iteration on Destiny.Most recently, an interview done by Team Epiphany with unidentified developers of the game revealed that the consoles ports may not see parity with the superior PC version. Some publications jumped to the conclusion from these comments that the more capable PC version of the game was being held back by console version that couldn’t keep up.
A console version of a game not being able to keep up with its PC counterpart? Unheard of.
Today, Ubisoft fired back with, what I’m assuming is, an intentionally vague statement about the quality differences between PC hardware and current generation console. PCGamesN published this comment from Ubisoft as an update to their original writeup:
It has come to our attention that a comment from one of our team members has been perceived by some members of the community to imply the PC version of The Division was ‘held back’ and this is simply not true. From the beginning, the PC version of The Division was developed from the ground up and we’re confident players will enjoy the game and the features this version has to offer. And the feedback from PC players who participated in the recent closed beta supports this.
So, a few things off of the top of my head:
- Ubisoft’s standard misdirection PR doublespeak is on display here. The statement seems more as if it was aimed at putting PCGamesN on notice instead of offering details that would prove the PC version was not lowered to a console level of parity.
- “[F]eatures this version has to offer” implies that the PC version of the game is actually meant to have a superior feature set to the console version. What are they going to make available on PC that they won’t allow for console platforms? A first-person mode? VR support? Additional premium content?
- If other features are available for the PC version or are being A/B tested on (even if I refuse to give Ubisoft that much credit), why haven’t any of the closed beta testers figured out the differences between their version of the game and the console edition given how long the closed beta test ran? I’d imagine that a whole week would have been long enough for the likelihood of someone being able to take part in the test for both versions of the game to be more of a certainty than a chance.
- Is the original developer quote a case of Ubisoft lowering expectations in the case that the reviews of the game label it as a third-person iteration of Destiny? If that’s the case, does today’s statement mean that Ubisoft wants to lower the standards even more?
Ultimately, I’m not sure I will be paying to find out. Destiny’s grind and lack of value made me feel like a worthless player if I didn’t put fifteen or twenty hours into the game every week, in the end, and I imagine that The Division is ultimately going to demand that same level of commitment to feel any sort of confidence in the game. With the scope of The Division’s playable area unclear before its release, and probably unknown until a couple of weeks after launch, it’s not really possible to judge the game pre-release unless a games journalist wants to break some Ubisoft-imposed embargoes.
It’s too bad, though. I wanted to get into another MMO-ish game.
I suppose I’ll just play one of my classic PS1/PS2 RPGs wait for Fire Emblem Fates to launch. Or try to get out of Silver in CS:GO. One or the other.