During Russia’s ongoing and horrific invasion of Ukraine, Russian military forces have taken over and held various nuclear power plants located in the country. In what is unfortunate but likely unintentional timing, Ubisoft has revealed that the new mode coming in loot shooter The Division 2’s upcoming Year 4 update is about hostile military forces taking over a nuclear power plant.
Your first question about all of this might be, hey, wait… isn’t The Division 2 like, uh, dead? 2019’s The Division 2 has been in a weird place for over a year now. The game was never shut down even after it seemed to be winding down. Instead, Ubisoft delayed updates and new content, while promising they had plans and would eventually add more to the game…one day! In the meantime, Division 2 has operated as a weird zombified version of a live service game, repeating old seasons and events, leaving many in the community bored.
So, it might seem odd that Ubisoft isn’t shouting from the rooftops about this new mode and a long-awaited Division 2 update. Even when it first started releasing details about the update, Ubisoft seemed careful about how it was framing things, mentioning in a community update posted March 30 that “in light of current world events” it wasn’t going to share any details at that time. Yesterday, Ubisoft did finally reveal specific details for the Year 4 update, explaining that it will introduce a new mode, Countdown. Countdown will see eight players working together to help take back control of a nuclear power plant by completing objectives and killing enemies in a limited amount of time. But if you didn’t hear about it in spite of this more specific announcement, it’s likely because the mode hits a little too close to reality at the moment.
Less than 48 hours ago, Russian forces finally left the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after invading it on February 24. And meanwhile, two other nuclear power plants have been seized by Russian forces since the invasion began, including the Zaporizhzhia power plant. As intense fighting continues in parts of Ukraine, Russia continues to bomb and destroy civillian buildings. Last week, a large computer museum in Ukraine was destroyed, leaving its owner homeless, too. While all of this happens, the death toll continues to rise and millions of folks have fled the country, leading to a growing refugee crisis.
All this means that, after delays and long periods of radio silence, Ubisoft hasn’t made a big deal out of its attempts to revive Division 2, like you might expect, even as the public test server on PC lets fans jump in and try the new mode out.
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“The new mode, titled Countdown, in The Division 2 had been in development since early 2021,” Ubisoft told Kotaku in a statement earlier today. “Similar to the base game, the mode is a work of fiction and is unintentional to today’s current events.”
Ubisoft has always struggled trying to market Division 2 as a serious game about war and power, while also trying to (paradoxically) keep it mostly separate from politics. The apolitical angle is presented to the public even though the game itself is set in the United States capital of Washington, DC, and features a uber-powerful secret police force using military hardware to protect national interests and assets.
While the new update is currently playable on the Division 2 test servers for select players, Ubisoft has yet to share a release date for when the update will go live for all players on both console and PC.