The Division Dev Talks Delay, Microtransactions, And Why It's Current-Gen Only

We speak with Ubisoft Massive managing director David Polfeldt about next year's much-anticipated online shooter.

During E3 2014, we got a chance to catch up with Ubisoft Massive managing director David Polfeldt about why their upcoming open-world shooter The Division runs at 30fps. But that's not all we discussed.

We also spoke with the industry veteran about the online-focused game's delay to 2015, what types of microtransactions it might feature, and why it's not coming to past-generation hardware, among other topics.

The Division launches in 2015 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. For more on the game, be sure to check out GameSpot's impressions of a behind-closed-doors presentation earlier this month at E3.

On Making a Console Game After Spending So Many Years In the PC Space:

"We were a very, very hardcore PC gamer studio before. And we never understood the previous generation of consoles very well from a technological standpoint. But then when we saw the specs for this generation consoles... I remember we had a meeting at Massive and we just looked at each other and said 'Is this what I think it is?!' 'Is this our home turf?' Because on this hardware, we can be excellent; we can be one of the best. And as soon as we had that, we just started focusing on this generation of consoles like crazy."

Why The Division Is Not Coming to Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3:

"The specific reason is that we built [the Snowdrop engine, which powers The Division] from scratch. And it's enormously tailored to the current generation of consoles. On the previous generation, the hardware is quite different. And they're also different from each other [PS3 vs. Xbox 360]. So in our case, it would be like having to develop the engine for two more platforms. And it's just a huge job that we could do, but were excited not to."

About The Division's Delay to 2015:

"One thing that I would really like for this industry to be able to talk about is the difficulty of predicting [release dates]. Because we often talk about dates, but the reality--and this is really coming from the trenches--is that if you have a project with say 400 people on it, you're working on a fairly new piece of hardware like the current-gen, and you're trying to be the best game ever, and you want to do 90+ [Metacritic], the reality is it's very hard to do that. It's like if I were to ask you to become a professional athlete. Yeah, you could become an athlete, but when will you be ready? It's a really hard question."

"And I wish that we could speak about that more openly in the industry. It's super difficult to manage a team that big. Any software project that is on that scale, it's incredibly hard for a producer to manage and to accurately predict what's going to happen. And then you add on top of that the discussion about the narrative, about the IP, about the main character, about the features. The real answer, and every developer knows this, is that we don't know when the game will be ready. Every date that has ever been set in this industry is arbitrary at one point, and I wish we could say that more often that it's impossible to know. The closer we get, the more accurate we will be. And I think for us, we were too optimistic when we said 2014. Because our game is ambitious and we feel that we have a fair shot at going over 90 [Metacritic]. So we're gonna keep our ambition level up and we just need the time to make sure that we get there."

On How The Division's Microtransactions Will Be 'Fair':

"What we're looking at, and this is still being developed, but what we're looking at is...we want to have a fair trade, fair transactions. So we want to offer gamers things that they actually feel have value to them. As long as they do that, and you're open with it and up front with 'this is the cost, this is what you get' then I think you can have any type of transaction in the game. What frightens me is manipulative trading, where you pretend that it's a free experience when in fact you're not being truthful because you don't intend it to be free. You're only saying that to draw people in. Your intention is to make people pay. And that's where I think there's an ethical problem with free-to-play games. Charging for content in itself is fair; I don't have any problem with that. So what we're looking at is we don't want to have pay-to-win, but we are definitely looking at things where you can gain time or comfort. Bag slots would be a thing that if you really want to have everything in your bag all of the equipment at all times. Maybe it's not practical, but it doesn't really give you an advantage over other gamers. Some things require time in the game and some people don't want to invest time; they want the shortcut. So we're looking at those types of trades."

A Tease for the Future:

"[The Division is] a very ambitious game. We are saving many of the most interesting parts for later. We have a lot of interesting things in the game that were not shown this year at E3. So there's a lot to come."

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

304 comments
Seifer24
Seifer24

What I like most is that it's current gen only.something that bungie should have consider with destiny.

Let's be done with last gen shall we

KealGSeo
KealGSeo

Micro transactions of anything other than cosmetic items, that can be brought into multiplayer, are BS! Ok let's say it is bag slots. Ok now I can carry more med packs or gas mask filters or ammo or a different gun for another type of engagement or, or, or, or... you see the point here. What about side items like health packs, ammo, batteries etc? How is fair that one player can just spend a few bucks can get them instantly when the 14 year old kid down the street from him can't? Micros for multiplayer are BS unless it is only cosmetic. There are no if, ands or buts about it.

markvons
markvons

This game was looking really good and I was excited to hear more about it, but the inclusion of microtransactions had drained all my enthusiasm.

cjtopspin
cjtopspin

Looks beautiful.  *nerd alert*  The windshield balistics look good...not so much for the side windows (they shatter and fall).  The front of the car should provide you cover (engine block) but doors and the trunk typically won't depending on what you kind of round you shoot at it and what it hits passing though. *end nerd alert*


Regardless this game looks totally rad.

DemoKnight10656
DemoKnight10656

Another problem I have with this transaction thing is once the division does this how many more will I don't want to constantly buy games just to keep paying to play them because more and more kind of games like that will come out maybe like 3 years down the road 15 games get released and are pay to play your not going to buy them all because it would be to really expensive just to keep playing them atleast invest in some kind of free to play premium type membership. like in dc universe it has free then premium then legendary free is limited premium has better benefits but still limited and legendary has them all. my point is if they do this then we are going to pay way more then we thought we would to enjoy a cool game like this and just don't buy the membership or take breaks aren't the answer im ok with paying for dlc but I don't wana pay if im not going to play 24/7 365

dj_jprime
dj_jprime

Still want this game more than any other title announced.  The environment and gameplay look awesome.

BigBadBanther
BigBadBanther

Bag space :( the bane of any MMO RPG/Shooter. 

This is just speculation by me but this is a post viral outbreak survival game??? What if it has the same mechanic as DayZ where you need food/drink to survive on top of a crafting system and an inventory of different guns and ammo to store. This sounds to me like the same old routine where you either drop items you need or buy extra bag space for real money to play the game how it should be played :(

Gutted this game looks great but i will not be forced to buy things that should be there in the first place.

Cheap trick to get more money.

SacredGray
SacredGray

The consistency with which he cited a 90+ Metacritic rating as a reason for major development decisions is alarming and disturbing.

Metacritic should never be a metric for game development. It leads to bad things happening.

jayjay444
jayjay444

"Bag slots would be a thing that if you really want to have everything in your bag all of the equipment at all times. Maybe it's not practical, but it doesn't really give you an advantage over other gamers". 


So say I have a bag after playing for 5 hours and I go in pvp, I can put 2 guns in my bag say a SMG and a Assault rifle, I face someone who has equally played for 5 hours and has bought a bag 4x more room and has a Shotgun, Assault rife,  SMG, grenade launcher, grenades more medics etc? yeah it SURE doesn't sound like pay 2 win to me lmao what a joke, looks like i'm skipping this after wanting this game so badly it's a shame:( 



ACMC85
ACMC85

Who cares, you lost to someone because they bought a bigger and better gun. We all know why they won, so why is this is problem? They can have pay to win if they want, they are still letting people play.

Vodoo
Vodoo

Is this game ftp? Because the way this guys talking, it is.

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

Microtransacions? 50% of my interest in the game is gone already. they better explain soon what they are about.

xxstrghtmnyxx
xxstrghtmnyxx

What microtransactions tell me is that the developer is not confident enough in their game to sell well and instead of making a well-balanced game, they will rely on the impatience of their fans to make their profit. I'll pass.

Raged4Life
Raged4Life

Micro transactions? This game will be talked about for a few weeks after release and slowly fade away.
Any bit of potential this game had just went out the window. How many micro transaction based games exist that people really love? (This excludes all Facebook/mobile games) What games exist that have used this model correctly? Having to spend money (or points) on grenades, guns, armor, and mods is the best way to create a pay to win situation. Does that really sound fun, because thats what this game is going to be? A glorified ghost recon phantoms with door closing mechanics. Micro transactions are slowly killing gaming.

STEAMCAMEL
STEAMCAMEL

It's ubisoft. That tells you everything you need to know: Stay well away from this turd and everything else that they crap out.

tauriqm
tauriqm

Would love to see a character creator trailer 

therealdolemike
therealdolemike

always online and micro transactions are a waste. you put a big dent in your armor. wow i am not as excited now. just fell out of my top 5 games to play. no i will go with destiny,battlefront,no mans sky, batman, and battlefield hardline just moved up. dam ubi i think you will now miss the mark on this one

gunslayer5
gunslayer5

You know times are bad when games without micro-transactions are a rarity. We need more old school publishers/devs like Nintendo and Konami these days. 

Gomtor
Gomtor

Never mind the micro transactions.  Ubisoft always online is a strict no-no in my books.  Experience taught me they have the worst servers possible.  This game was very high on my radar, but after realizing micro transactions and always online; I will give it a pass.

Pewbert
Pewbert

On How The Division's Microtransactions Will Be 'Fair' = LOL

But at least this article shows that consoles are desperately trying to be PCs at last.

Delston
Delston

I was going to preorder this...but when microtransactions start getting mentioned, I believe I'll take the "wait and see" approach.  

deltron77
deltron77

i didnt even know this had microtransactions, gAh!! if they wanted to be "fair" to those who dont have time to grind it, then why not offer the shortcuts for free, i mean since it wont give an "advantage" or anything. so of coarse they're trying to milk money, and this saddens me. its unfortunate that gamers will pay for microtransactions if they are there, this crap will never end unless the majority stops buying them.

ritamray32
ritamray32

I dont know how you thought that there will not be any micro transactions

Its a MMO

They need funds to add to the game and maintain the servers

reborn007
reborn007

@DemoKnight10656 important fact DC universe is a free to play game ...I'm ok with their membership because it is a free to play game...not a $64.64 game

panaicman66
panaicman66

@dj_jprime same here...but this pay-perplay crap could be a real game changer.....i have been saying this would happen for nearly 10 years now.


I play warframe a lot...and i mean a lot!...which you probably know it's free to play...but you can spend your hard earned cash on as much equipment/trade ect as you want.


OR NOT....choice is yours...if you don't, it only means you need a lot of patience to fight and look for all the gear you need, it doesn't really effect you game play....and i hope it's the same for this.

Jkouw
Jkouw

@BigBadBanther He said in the interview that they don't want food/water to be a negative thing. He said "If you don't have them you won't die" they'll likely just be used as health boosters

Vodoo
Vodoo

It does have an advantage though. Say you're in a heated gun battle... The other guy will run out of ammo long before you, because you can carry more stuff.

reborn007
reborn007

@ACMC85 people like you are the reason this is even a topic of discussion -_-

tigzar
tigzar

@Warlord_Irochi can you not read? along with all the others moaning about micro transactions they stated its not game changing transactions ... just cosmetic things such as bag space. (things you can get without paying but takes longer)


so you can buy or you can earn whatever they are putting in the shops ... this is fine..... its if they put things in the shop that you 'cannot' earn when the problems occur but they seem to be avoiding this ... so all good.

DawnBlue
DawnBlue

@Raged4Life You make it sound like this game is F2P with microtransactions...


They are aiming to release a complete AAA game that's much more worth the retail price than, say, The Yearly CoD (most of the recent ones at least are not worth much anything).


Given the nature of the game, it's really hard to say what kind of microtransactions are going to be in the game before they actually tell us, but can you HONESTLY tell me you expect them to sell "grenades, guns, armor and mods" for real money?

killjoi
killjoi

@Raged4Life Micro transactions are fair if they're cosmetic. They're not if they affect gameplay in _any_ way.  I was jazzed about this game until this article; the support and inclusion of gameplay related micro transactions is a major turn off.

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

@STEAMCAMEL calling "turd" a game that has not been released. SURE we are going to listen to you, Mr. Nobody.

DawnBlue
DawnBlue

@therealdolemike Always online? Where you been for the last, I don't know, SINCE THE DIVISION WAS ANNOUNCED?

It has always been "always online", it's an online game.

DawnBlue
DawnBlue

@Gomtor This just in: Gomtor learned about The Division first time today.

On other news, everyone who knew the game was coming knows it was announced to be an Online game from the beginning.

tigzar
tigzar

@Pewbert 'desperately' trying to be pc's ? ... go into more detail on that will you so i can tear your logic up in your face.

deltron77
deltron77

my other issue are these delays, yes we all want the game to be great, but im tired of hearing "take your time so and so, make it great" give me a f*ckin break. these game delays are not "all" a problem of prediction, they are showing the trailers too early, putting up an unrealistic release date and trying to drum up investors, preorders, ect. sh!t some of these games have preorder bonuses before theres a solid release date. are you going to tell me rocksteady didnt know in march when they offered the preorder, a month later they would delay? of coarse they knew! how bout cut the bs, dont put up preorder bonuses, and unrealistic release dates, before you have a clue when it will be released.

stretchnyc
stretchnyc

@ritamray32 As KealGSeo said...if it's only a cosmetic item then nothing wrong, but from what I've read above it's not just cosmetic and will give a person an advantage which in my opinion is BULLSH*T!. Adding microtransactions to a game for elements, items etc that should be added to the game in the first place is simply NO GOOD and trust me this game will suffer for the cell phone app tactics!!!! 

reborn007
reborn007

@ritamray32 people are stupid to think these companies "need" more fund to maintain server, add to the game etc. You believe that ....i'm sure people that work at mcdonalds believe they can't get a quarter raise because the company can not afford it too. That's the reason they released a statement telling their employees if they got two jobs they would be ok included with a example budget for a person working two jobs. smh people!!!

reborn007
reborn007

@panaicman66 @dj_jprime ...but warframe is a free to play ...if the game is free to play micro transactions is understandable. It is nothing but milking when it comes to fully priced games.

jayjay444
jayjay444

@Vodoo Kinda and Kinda not, yes I would have more ammo for my 2 guns vs his 4 but all he needs is one well placed grenade launcher shot for example and I fear this is only a minor transaction he's talking about here. There are certain areas on the map you can't get to without the proper gear and equipment, these areas are heavily infected areas for example, by the sounds of it you will be able to buy these with micro transactions instead of earning them which is majorly disappointing. I hope it's not as bad as that but I have my doubts about this game now, it just went from my number 3 most wanted game to like my 25th. 

jayjay444
jayjay444

@tigzar @Warlord_Irochi That's bs and you know it, I watched alot of E3 footage and you need certain uniforms to go into certain infected areas I guess people with money will just buy the uniforms they need.

jayjay444
jayjay444

@DawnBlue @Raged4Life They will if people buy them and if they put them in the game people will buy them and waste the entire experience, this games just lost me and probably loads more with this microtranaction bs. 

ritamray32
ritamray32

Microtransactions are for people who have the money to waste or people who have the money but no time, so they have to finish the game quickly.

No where its said that you have to pay to play or pay to win. Rather you can get the same stuff for those who pay. Its not like ESO where you have to pay.

Like for example, bag slots, even if you have one extra slot doesn't change the fact you can equip two of them. Seriously read the article.