Dynamic weather is no stranger to video games. It seems you can't really have an open world game without it. However weather rarely affects the way you play a game other than aesthetically. Sure, in games like Grand Theft Auto or Watch_Dogs the roads would get a bit slippery when it would rain, but that was really where the line ended. Well Ubisoft hope to up the ante as far as weather effects go in The Division.
On the official Division developer's blog they discussed the work they have put into the ways that weather would change the way that not only you interact with the world around you, but also how NPCs would as well. Adverse weather can lead to better cover against your enemies, but also lends itself to making movement and aiming much more difficult. A sharp wind could pick up and throw off your shot. A blizzard could make it hard to see or move, causing you to have to seek shelter until it blows over. It seems the weather of this post-disaster Manhattan will play just as important a role as the enemies themselves.
From sunny and bright to dark and stormy, we as agents will experience the full range of weather and time of day, which naturally plays a much larger role than just a cool visual effect. [Senior Game Designer Fredrik Thylander] says that “when in a full storm, visibility is hindered, both for NPCs and the agent. Our worst storm conditions that can hit will affect aim assist and detection ranges for both players and NPCs.” I was also able to find out that the agents will adjust themselves in order avoid a face full of frost. However, the agents aren’t the only ones who react to weather. Based on the time of day and certain weather conditions, we will experience civilians and wildlife differently, and in some cases, not at all.
These are the kinds of things I like to see going into the new generation of games. Sure, well polished and shiny new graphics can get you immersed. But if you see a storm rolling in on the horizon and you know you've got a mission to get done before the blizzard hits, talk about adding that extra breath of realism! Not to mention, if Ubisoft's seamless street-to-interior exploration works like they say it will, then it will be pretty cool ducking in and out of abandoned buildings to hide from the storm and get a better angle of your opponents!
The Division is slated to launch on March 8th, 2016. It will be available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.