Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – Rooftop Gardens

My main responsibility on the base game of The Division 2 was being the designer for one of the open world zones, researching, planning and implementing activities within that zone, including side missions. These are small linear missions, usually set inside one building or block, intending to provide around ten minutes of gameplay. In this video, I walkthrough one of these side missions, Rooftop Gardens, and provide some insight into the intentions behind the design:

Thanks to environment artist for this mission, Patrick Metz.

Side missions like this were only a part of my responsibility on The Division 2 – for a more general insight into my role at Ubisoft Leamington, please visit this page.

Summary

For convenience, here is a summary of the video’s contents:

  • Choosing the Location (00:13)
    • Upon joining the project, I was assigned a chunk of the Washington DC open world, responsible for researching, planning and implementing activities within that area
    • While researching my assigned zone of Washington DC, I found an apartment block with a set of open rooftops, and knew I wanted to set a mission in a building like this
  • Designing the Mission (00:47)
    • Once the mission was signed off, I had to figure out an optimal route for the player
    • I wanted to capitalise on the opportunity this cascading set of rooftops presented, getting players up to them as soon as possible
    • I figured I could have the mission spiral through the block, dipping into the interior of the complex to get to my chosen rooftops (the route is outlined in the maps below)
  • Beat 01 – Courtyard (01:13)
    • The mission starts when the player enters the central courtyard, from the North
    • There are three other entrances to this courtyard, which open up after the mission is complete, but they are initially locked so that players may only enter at the best angle
    • Players have a commanding view of the battlefield, and the progression to the next beat is visible directly opposite
    • Once the Hyenas in the courtyard have been defeated, the ones in the complex activate the power, opening the store shutters and turning on the lights as a side effect – this draws players to that corner, from which the mission will continue
  • Beat 02 – Apartments #1 (02:17)
    • Players head up via a liftshaft
    • There’s a very light combat on the bridge, to encourage players to stop, look back on the courtyard, and appreciate the sense of journey
    • When players enter the apartments, they are greeted with a scripted sequence of a bomb trap firing prematurely – this reinforces the Hyenas as wily but disorganised, and foreshadows a successful trap later in the mission
  • Beat 03 – Rooftops #1 (02:48)
    • Players are alerted to the enemy presence as one is ‘messing around,’ shooting at bottles
    • This beat introduces a layout format used throughout the mission – the combat space is two opposing fronts, separated by negative space, connected by only one flank on the side
    • In this case the flank is a risky approach, but can be a thrilling invasion into enemy territory for shotgunners and groups
    • A portion of the enemy rooftop is a hollowed out interior – this is done throughout the mission to add space to the arena’s footprint, and provide landmarks to each roof
    • The enemy roof is tight, giving players a chance to effectively use their gadgets to control the bottlenecks – the mission is early in the game’s progression, so these easy-wins are not discouraged
  • Beat 04 – Rooftops #2/Apartments #2 (03:57)
    • A couple of goons immediately outside the door draw the players onto the roof, where they find enemies shooting at them from the opposite rooftop
    • Players can either camp on this roof or flank into the apartments to the right
    • Camping affords a good view of the opposing roof, but without a view into the apartments and at the risk of being flanked
    • Pushing into the apartments allows new angles on the enemy roof and allows players to take on enemies up close, but at the risk of being overwhelmed
    • Apartment combat is close quarters and intense, but breached walls allow players to push, retreat and flank
    • At one point, a wall is breached in front of the player – a Hyena trap sprung successfully this time – guaranteeing that players experience some combat in the apartments, even if they camped on the roof previously
    • This beat shines in multiplayer, where players can split up and take both approaches simultaneously
  • Beat 05 – Rooftops #3 (05:09)
    • Snipers spawn on the distant rooftops opposite – at this point, players know the formula, and can choose to fight here at long range or close in through the building
    • Upon reaching the distant rooftops, the final wave of enemies spawn, including an elite thrower opposite and snipers above to provide pressure and keep players moving
    • The roofs have interior and exterior sections – the interior providing shelter, the exterior providing a better shot
    • There’s a flank on the right, but the route is risky, requiring a climb on both sides
    • Again, this beat works especially well in multiplayer, where players can hang all the way back on the initial rooftop to provide covering fire
  • Conclusion (06:25)
    • With all the Hyenas dead, the mission is over
    • Players descend via a rappel rope straight into the courtyard below
    • From here they can use any of the four exits to leave the block and return to the open world
    • For any questions, feel free to contact me