Our first look at The Division: Heartland has arrived, through ever-reliable leaks.
Over the weekend, the first footage of The Division: Heartland popped up online from some of the players invited to the game’s closed test. All participants in the test should be under NDA, but leakers clearly don’t care.
Because players aren’t yet allowed to share gameplay, all leaks come with a big watermark featuring a unique code, which is how Ubisoft will track down and ban those players. Many of the original mirrors of the footage have been removed, as Ubisoft continues to crack down on leaks.
Although the videos are no longer live to embed, the footage was sadly low resolution. Beyond that, the players behind the leaks don’t make Heartland look very exciting.
The footage showed about 20 minutes of gameplay, though most of it is the leaker trying out the emotes, tweaking settings and getting a feel for controls. But, it did give us a fairly good idea of what to expect.
Heartland’s gameplay is mostly based around the mechanics of The Division games, with a few tweaks that put more emphasis on survival. Movement appears slightly faster, and there’s a new slide mechanic. The tutorial advises the player to keep a healthy stock of filters, as they are needed to survive Silver Lake – the town where the game takes place. Outside of that, much of The Division’s looting and shooting mechanics remain.
The main enemy faction shown is called Pilgrims, which look to be a cross from the first game’s looters and the sequel’s more militarised factions. There’s a hub area where players can shop, talk to NPCs, and presumably meet other players. The footage also shows a brief video introducing a battle pass, which isn’t a new concept to The Division, of course, but it’s nonetheless there.
yeah yeah nda and stuff blah blah who cares pic.twitter.com/rStfrRo6fD
— SkyLeaks (@SkyLeax) May 15, 2021
A separate leak from Twitter user SkyLeaks shows an introductory video by lead game designer Taylor Epperly. In the briefing, Epperly revealed that Heartland has two main modes: a purely PvE co-op mode called Expedition, and 45-player PvEvP mode named Storm.
Epperly also reminded players of the NDA, asking them not to share gameplay or impressions outside of closed test forums. “Please don’t be the one who ruins the surprise for the larger Division community,” Epperly said, not knowing that this footage will find its way online anyway.
Heartland headlines Ubisoft’s big foray into free-to-play, something the publisher wants to make a staple of its catalogue. The game is set for release later this year or early next year.