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Ubisoft's free-to-play Division Heartland still coming, but more player testing to be done

While The Division 2 lets you dress as Sam Fisher.

Tonight brings a dollop of news from Ubisoft's The Division franchise, which will soon be extended by the arrival of free-to-play spin-off The Division Heartland.

Originally announced in May 2021, Heartland has now been in closed testing for over a year already - but there's evidently still more to be done before it gets a final launch date.

Tonight, Ubisoft directed interested players and their parties to register for access (at in a fresh round of testing, ahead of "more news this summer".

The Division Heartland's cinematic introduction.Watch on YouTube

Heartland moves the series' city-based action to a rural small town America setting, and is described as a survival action PVEVP shooter where you fight AI factions and other players. You play as a Division agent looking to secure the town from other rogue agents, as well as the virus itself.

The game's opening sees you aiding Boston agent Mackenzie Reed, who has come to Heartland's setting of Silver Creek in search of a former boss turned "rogue agent" who murdered the team he commanded.

Heartland begins with you helping Reed set up a base of operations. You'll also have to get used to a day/night cycle, where after dark you can encounter enemy players and the game's focus on survival is increased. Even during the day, it sounds like you'll need to scrounge water and other resources.

The Division Heartland developer deep dive.Watch on YouTube

The franchise's pandemic virus is different here, apparently, and it's up to you to help Reed and find out why. Changing areas of infection will move across the town every day, and require you to use masks (with consumable filters you must acquire) to explore within its bounds.

Ubisoft also provided an update on The Division 2 Year 5, which starts in June and brings a new game mode named Descent, a free roguelite mode you won't need the Warlords of New York expansion for. The game's Castle will also be rebuilt, while later seasons bring a fresh Incursion and - later this year - more (what sounds like paid) DLC. You can dress up as Sam Fisher if you purchase the first of Year 5's premium passes, while the outfit themed around Resident Evil's Leon S. Kennedy will be back free to claim in the coming days.

The Division Resurgence, a free-to-play mobile game which bridges the gap between The Division 1 and 2, is also a thing.

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