In a recent interview with Xbox UK‘s Ellen, Julian Gerighty, Associate Creative Director at Massive, stated that The Division‘s story is split between three threads. When asked about how the narrative would be pushed given that The Division is open world and nonlinear, Gerighty stated,
Our solution here was to split the main story into three story threads. So every mission that you do is going to be linked to one of those story threads and is going to give you a little piece of the puzzle for that story thread. And once you’ve completed all the missions in that story thread you’ll have all the pieces of the puzzle that you’ll put together and get an extra piece that will give you a different perspective on that story.
The three story threads are the virus, who created it, why they created it, and if there is an antidote. One about the factions and their genesis and how you push them back. And the third is about putting the infrastructure back online but also about something else that I can’t talk about too much.
Earlier pieces of the interview, with Magnus Jansen, Creative Director, went over how New York City was chosen due to it being the pinnacle of society and The Division‘s story about the fall of society. The narrative about a virus distributed through money is also based in realism due to it being a Tom Clancy game. The money explanation also is why the game has a Christmas aesthetic to the locations since Black Friday is the largest time of money exchange in the United States.
The Dark Zone, where player vs player battles take place, will not have any loading or matchmaking lobby system, instead being seamless. If you go rogue and kill another player in the Dark Zone you will be marked and have a time limit until that marker is removed. If you continue to kill other agents a bounty will be placed on your head. Jansen also states that the game can be played both in single player and cooperatively with other players online, and also talks about how the classless RPG system they use allows for flexibility whether you are playing by yourself or with a team.