As a Lead Level Designer on Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, I was responsible for leading the open world design teams across two studios based in Reflections and Ubisoft Leamington. Working closely with Environment Artists, my teams undertook the design and implementation of five named zones in our representation of post-outbreak Washington D.C.
My specific responsibilities as Lead Level Designer of two teams constructing these areas were as follows:
The first explorable area in the game once players leave the White House Base of Operations. This once financial and technological business area is now ruled by the Hyenas, save for The Theatre Settlement which barely holds out amidst the carnage.
Home to a number of federal institutions, the zone is bisected by the long Pennsylvania Avenue running towards the Capitol Building. This road was the route of intense protest during the early stages of the outbreak, but now marks the border of conflict between the Hyenas and the True Sons factions in the area.
The verdant lawns of the Mall were repurposed by the JTF as a logistics centre for bringing supplies and coordinating evacuation during the outbreak. Flanked by the famous Smithsonian museums and cultural heritage sites, the area is now a constant reminder of the failed attempts to contain the outbreak, patrolled by ruthless True Sons.
The rail infrastructure that runs through this area was initially repurposed to handle the relocation of those affected by the outbreak. When an unfortunate train derailment shutdown the network, those stranded were forced to reside in the vacant federal offices. There they waited for the winter to pass and the arrival of further promised relief that would never actually come.
Bordering the DZ East and home of the Hyena Stronghold in the District Union Arena, this dangerous area still bears the scars of huge fires that raged around the judicial buildings in the wake of arson attacks.
The design and creation of the Murray Hill area of Manhattan as represented in The Division was one of my primary responsibilities during the project’s development. Working closely with an Environment Artist, I contributed to the following throughout the area;
My main ambition with the Murray Hill area was to convey a sense of chaos vs order in this slice of The Division’s Manhattan. This was primarily represented by the large Last Man Battalion (LMB) fortifications that split the area in two, with the chaos and lawlessness of the Riker controlled areas to the south of the wall in conflict with the totalitarian control of the LMB areas north of the divide.
The Queens Tunnel entrance provided a perfect pre-built defence for the LMB to establish their barricades that reminded me of a medieval moat which would serve to reinforce the walls of the LMB’s fortress! Penetrating the walls would throw players into the midst of the LMB forces, ultimately leading to their castle in the north, the UN Building.
As well as working on the Murray Hill area, I also designed and created the majority of the Hell’s Kitchen playable space in collaboration with a team of Environment Artists which included;
Although I was not initially in a position to contribute to the conceptualisation of Hell’s Kitchen in The Division, I was still able to incorporate a lot of ideas throughout in my level design of the area. This included the design of two separate, thrilling, assault based side missions inside landmark buildings in the region, as well as an encounter situated on the open-air rail tracks nestled between the buildings designed to shift the power balance and surprise players.
Stuyvesant was the first entire region of the open world in The Division that I was personally responsible for, and working in collaboration with a team of Environment Artists I contributed to the following throughout the area;
Despite only working on the Stuyvesant region in its early stages of development, the area still remains one of my favourite level design challenges to date. Tonally, it was completely different to any of the other open world areas of The Division with its dense parkland, rolling landscaping and not a hint of the street grid layout that permeates throughout Manhattan. Not to mention the unique challenge this presented to convert the area into a compelling, beautiful space for cover-based shooting that still believably conveyed the real-world location.
I’m pleased to say that the majority of my initial level design and conceptualisation of the area remains in the final version of the game. What’s more, the team that took over from me did a brilliant job in creating what I still consider to be the most beautiful and visually interesting area of The Division!