Video games are packed with symbols, all of them evoking different thoughts in players. A withered White House viewed through the eyes of a 2018 gamer might remind them of grift and corruption. It might pluck at patriotic heartstrings. Spier might want nothing more than a fun new city to explore, but every street corner holds potential meaning. This was true of The Division, which had missions tasking the player to restore power to Times Square, New York’s capitalist and tourist center, while also having them fight off prisoners from Riker’s Island. The game’s action and the context it occurred in revealed political messages. What is The Division saving? Government, commercial interests, and infrastructure. Who is the enemy? Convicts, industrial workers, and “rioters.” How do we save the country? By firing enough 5.56 ammo. The Division 2 will have its own set of answers to these questions.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t load up The Division 2, zone out, complete a raid, and call it a night. You can definitely do that, and you’ll probably have a lot of fun. For all its dissonance, I enjoyed playing The Division with my friends and had a ton of fun in the Dark Zone. But games can’t pretend not to have politics, that The Division 2’s D.C. setting has no implications to players, that the corpses you leave behind don’t say anything at all.

At the end of the day, The Division 2 will be a game about government agents banding together to revive America’s capital. We will fight in the downed wreckage of Air Force One, in the shadow of the Washington Monument, and possibly in the actual halls where political power rests. What The Division 2's team decides to put in their game will speak to their values and beliefs. It will be affected by their biases and blindspots. Passing on the responsibility of that, as Spier did, disrespects the intelligence of the players, who will bring their own interpretations to the setting whether the developers want them to or not.