The Division is probably the most exciting Tom Clancy outing in yonks (sorry, Splinter Cell), a higher-tech riff on the guiding principles of Day Z, in which you battle to save or destroy a plague-ridden city. It's one of a handful of games that are trying to make narrative and multiplayer cohere - material scarcity in the "campaign" world is also the reason players and player factions fight one another online.
Game director Ryan Bernard feels that developer Massive Entertainment's handling of Player versus Player is The Division's key "differentiator". "The players want big, open worlds, they want online," he told us. "You know, everyone's like, hitting these buttons with the different games that are coming out now - I'm sure you're talking to those guys as well. And so, you've got to have a hook for your game, and how we're handling PvP is ours."
Ubisoft has yet to explain how The Division handles equipment at length, but we know that you'll be able to trade with other players and craft your own items, cue talk of "thousands" of weapon, gear and skill combinations. According to Bernard, the prospect of losing your gear is what makes confrontation so thrilling.
"We want player versus player to be meaningful," he said. "And the way player versus player gets meaningful is you need to have something to lose - it's not just a scorecard in a multiplayer map."
It's hoped that exploration will be all the tenser as a consequence. "This is a world that's coming apart so even though you're a member of the Division, it's a scary place. I think another part of doing PvP well is not knowing where the threat is coming from, not knowing who is the threat necessarily. We really want to play with that, to enhance the experience."
There is, however, a "mechanic" which allows you to keep your items when you die, though it's implied this won't be as easy as ticking a box. It's not clear whether characters will need to worry about food or water, but Massive's designers have taken part in survival training exercises to develop "first hand experience of living without the things we all take for granted", per this report.
Colour this speculation for the moment, but I wouldn't be surprised if Ubisoft introduced a Hardcore Mode in the vein of Fallout: New Vegas. Read more about The Division in the latest issue of OXM, which is on sale now. Why not watch the E3 footage again, while you're at it?