When Destiny was first revealed, I got the impression that players would be able to stroll over to a multiplayer section of the world, hop into a PvP situation and duke it out in real time. Whether or not this misinformed view was due to my own ignorance or to the admittedly bizarre information push coming out of Bungie and Activision (let’s face it, Destiny wasn’t, and still isn’t, what we thought it would be), the fact of the matter is that this dream multiplayer scenario hasn’t been truly accomplished yet in any title. After spending enough time with Destiny to know that it isn’t nearly what I want in a multiplayer action-RPG experience, I can only hope that the footage of Tom Clancy’s The Division‘s The Dark Zone area will bring my dream multiplayer mode into reality.
So what exactly is The Dark Zone? From what we understand from the admittedly confusing messaging coming out of Ubisoft, this area is going to be a specific sector of post-apocalyptic New York that players are free to engage in PvP combat in. Squads will have the ability to enter from different sides of The Dark Zone in order to fight for a central container carrying the best loot in the game world. In order to get the loot, players will have to extract it via airlift after firing a massive signal flare that lets everyone inside of the area know exactly what’s going on. While few details have been given as to their extent, we do know that betrayals will be possible, potentially meaning that players can eliminate their own teammates in order to get better rewards. Ubisoft has gone on the record indicating that it’s entirely possible that betrayals can be curbed if it turns out that the community goes too far with this feature, as fun is ultimately the end-goal here.
What makes this idea special, if and only if it is what it’s being reported to be, is the fact that The Dark Zone could make The Division the most seamless multiplayer experience the industry has ever seen. Not only will this version of New York City exist as its own separate universe, but the fact that players won’t have to leave the game itself to play multiplayer could change the way online open-world titles are built forever. Let’s hope that the information coming out of Ubisoft isn’t false, as this could be the biggest, most “next-gen” feature the industry has seen thus far in the new console cycle.