The Division 2 was released on March 12, 2019, making it just over two years old this week. In that time a lot has happened. Multiple updates, changes, bugs, controversies, teasers, puzzles, and more. Here’s what happened since The Division 2 came out.
- Even before The Division 2's 2019 release, it started to stir up controversy when Ubisoft tried to position the game as non-political. Yet the game was set in Washington D.C. and would market itself using political imagery and messages. (And the game featured tons of political storylines and lore.) All of this made the promises of it being not political feel like a strange lie Ubisoft was selling to a specific group of players.
- On March 12, 2019, The Division 2 launched on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. It featured a huge map that was satisfying to explore, including museums based on real-world locations found in DC. Our initial impressions of the game were positive and our review came away impressed.
- The launch of The Division 2 wasn’t perfect. An annoying bug caused special abilities, like assault drones, to not work consistently. It was eventually patched soon after it appeared. Less annoying issues were found too, like a totally glitched staircase and NPCs that behaved like they were possessed by demons.
- A few weeks after release, Ubisoft updated the game and changed a bunch of stuff. It also added a new endgame mission.
- As players continued to explore the game’s world, they found secrets. One, in particular, seemed to point towards a Vikings-themed Assassin’s Creed game. Of course today, in 2021, we know that hint was accurate as in 2020 Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was released. Other secrets were found by players, including hidden messages that needed to be decoded. Many of these secrets were added without everyone in the studio aware of them or how they work.
- Players also spotted a hidden detail that wasn’t funny or cool. A piece of artwork found on a building contained a slur. Ubisoft apologized for the art and removed the word quickly with a patch.
- In May 2019, Ubisoft added two new missions to the game. These weren’t focused only on combat. Instead, they featured new lore, new areas to explore, and some puzzle solving. They were only available to Season 1 pass holders.
- Later in May, The Division 2's first raid was added to the game. Controversially, it launched without matchmaking support after it was implied by Ubisoft that it would have it. It was also really hard, taking the first team to beat over 5 hours. Console players struggled to beat it, but eventually a few days after it was released a few teams on Xbox and PS4 took it down.
- In June 2019, during E3, Ubisoft revealed that a later expansion for the game would let players return to New York City, the setting of the first game. Around this time Ubisoft spoke to Kotaku
and explained how they planned to fight backlash to the game.
- Also in June, a strange but let players kill animals to earn special ammo. Ubisoft quickly patched this after it was discovered.
- In July 2019, one of the biggest updates in Division 2's history went live. It added flashlights, something players had been asking for since the game launched. It also added new missions and a new way to play the raid. Players could now choose an easier difficulty and matchmake with others. This would reward players with less powerful and rare loot, but would give more people a chance to play the endgame activity.
- In August we looked into statues fucking. It’s weird. Also around that time, Ubisoft challenged players to find a cop car sporting a typo. They found it quickly, but only after fans learned it was in the game at all. Before that, it had remained hidden for months.
- In October, fans found a secret boss in the game. It had been in there for months, like the cop car secret, but only was found after Ubisoft teased it.
- Later in October, Ubisoft updated the game and overhauled the way loot and gear worked. It became easier to hunt for the gear you wanted and to modify loot you already had. While not the most exciting update, it was a great step forward for the loot shooter.
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- In December 2019, Ubisoft added some more tactical-themed clothing, after some fans complained that most apparel in the game was too silly or goofy. Also that month, Ubisoft added a gun that shoots snowballs.
- On March 2nd, 2020, after a bit of drought of new content and updates, Ubisoft released Warlords of New York City. First teased back in E3 2019, this expansion was massive and saw players return to NYC. It shook up the way the game handled leveling up, loot and it also modified how the endgame progression worked.
- A few days after release, we reviewed the new expansion and were happy about most of the changes and the new world to explore. Alongside the new DLC, Ubisoft began Season 1 of Division 2, adding a battle pass system to the game and new enemy targets to hunt down over the course of a few weeks.
- Later in March, players spent hours and hours tracking down and finding all the hidden bosses in the game. It took some work, but over a weekend they came together via Discord and solved all the puzzles and killed all the secret enemies.
- As March turned to April in 2020, the covid-19 pandemic began to take hold of the world. A doctor explained for Kotaku his experience in New York City fighting the virus, while at the same time playing The Division 2, a game about a deadly virus that has killed millions around the world.
- In May 2020, fans datamined The Division 2 after an update and discovered a series of files and audio clips which appeared to spoil the next year of content. It also hinted at a new mode.
- The second Division 2 raid was added in July 2020. However, the race to be the first team to complete the new activity was spoiled by accusations of cheating.
- In September, the leaked files found in May were proven to be accurate. A new game mode was added to the game. This new mode, Summit, tasked players with fighting their way up 100 floors, each filled with different enemies and challenges. In October, the mode was updated to make it a bit easier for folks to actually finish.
- In December 2020, The Division 2 developers shared bad news about a planned event. Due to covid-19 the event, which was set to reuse an older area from the game, was canceled. Instead, some of its assets would be reworked into a smaller-scale apparel event. Later we learned this was planned to be a big crossover event with Resident Evil.
- January 2021 started with some big news. The developers behind The Division 1 and 2 were going to be working on a Star Wars game. At the time, players weren’t sure what this meant The Division 2 going forward.
- On February 2, a new Resident Evil crossover event went live. It included outfits and gear based on characters from the popular Capcom horror franchise. The event was... meh. But the update that added the new clothes also unlocked the framerate on PS5 and Xbox Series X, letting the game hit 60 fps.
- In February 2021, as the fourth season of The Division 2 was wrapping up, it felt like the game was ending. But Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot announced otherwise during a call with investors that month, explaining the game had more updates coming. This seemed to surprise Massive, who put out a statement confirming that they had initially planned to wind things down after Season four but would now continue to work on the game, adding more content. No specifics plans were given at that time.
- Finally, earlier this month Massive laid out some plans for how The Division 2 will continue. While the game will receive a new mode and some big content updates, Massive warned that players shouldn’t expect this content until late 2021 at the earliest. In the meantime, old seasons will be rerun for players who missed them. It’s not the most exciting way to keep the game alive, but it’s better than nothing.
And there’s where things are at. It’s now been just over two years since The Division 2 released. A lot has happened, with some big ups and some big downs.
Now though the popular game seems to be on life support while Massive and Ubisoft shift focus to other things. But with promises of more content at a later date, it seems likely I’ll be booting up The Division 2 a few more times before it’s all over.