Ubisoft Quietly Cancelled Its Division Spinoff And That's Probably A Good Thing

How many Divisions did we really need?

Amid all the excitement around Assassin’s Creed Shadows’ reveal Wednesday, publisher Ubisoft announced that it would cancel the next game in the company’s shooter-RPG hybrid series, The Division. While the cancellation is a surprise, the publisher might be the latest gaming company to dodge a financial bullet by abandoning this industry trend.

During its annual earnings call, Ubisoft revealed that Tom Clancy’s The Division: Heartland, a free-to-play extraction shooter spin-off, will not continue development.

"After careful consideration, we have made the tough call to halt development on Tom Clancy’s The Division Heartland, effective immediately," the publisher told IGN. Ubisoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Division: Heartland was going to be a free-to-play extraction shooter set in a small, middle-American town.


Thankfully, the sudden cancellation will not result in any layoffs at developer Red Storm Entertainment, as has become all too common in the last year.

“Our priority now is to support the talented team members at our Red Storm Entertainment studio, who will be transitioning to new projects within our company, including XDefiant and Rainbow Six,” the company said.

First announced in 2021, The Division: Heartland was set to be a frictionless entry point into the series taking place in a small town in middle America. Unlike the rest of the series, Heartland wasn’t a looter-shooter. It instead would focus on a Player vs Environment vs Player gameplay loot similar to the first and second game’s “Dark Zone” areas. The game had several closed beta tests for players, including one last June.

As unfortunate as it is to have at least three years' worth of work never see the light of day, Ubisoft’s decision may have been for the best. When Heartland was announced, the gaming landscape looked much different than it does today. Service games were very much all the rage, with the 2020-era gaming boom deceptively providing plenty of runway for success in the industry.

Since then, however, things have changed drastically. Live service games are struggling to retain players when trying to co-exist with huge mainstays like Fortnite, Call Of Duty, and Grand Theft Auto Online.

Ubisoft is luckily one of the few companies that have managed to find a foothold in the ever-dwindling club of successful live service games. Both Rainbow Six: Siege and The Division 2 have maintained core audiences despite strong competition. In the case of the most recent Rainbow Six, the competitive tactical shooter has managed to hang on more than eight years after its infamously messy launch.

Despite a shaking launch in 2015, Rainbox Six: Siege has retained a dedicated player base.


Moving forward with another service game would have likely been an unnecessary risk for the company at an already tumultuous time. Last year, Ubisoft scrambled to revive dwindling profits, forging deals with Xbox and canceling seven projects in two years to make up the difference.

Putting out another service game with the lofty expectation that players would be willing to buy more loot, skins, and other add-ons risks cannibalizing the publisher’s own miraculous success, or worse, dooming the extraction shooter to languish in the ocean that the genre has become.

There’s also the matter of franchise fatigue. Heartland was just one of several Division-related projects in the works. There’s the mobile game, The Division Resurgence, and a traditional big-budget sequel that Ubisoft nonchalantly announced last September. There’s even a Division film allegedly in the works starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

XDefiant is a six-on-six free-to-play arena shooter from Ubisoft set to launch later this month.


Giving the series some time to breathe with one fewer release may do wonders for building hype among fans. It will also give Ubisoft room to focus on other big bets, like its free-to-play Call Of Duty competitor XDefiant, which will launch into preseason on May 21.

Red Storm Entertainment is the latest developer to cancel a live service project amid industry headwinds. Earlier this year, Naughty Dog canceled their multiplayer game based on The Last Of Us franchise. Earlier this month, Remedy Entertainment announced it was moving on from its untitled multiplayer collaboration with Chinese publisher Tencent.

It’s safe to say Ubisoft has more than enough on its plate for the foreseeable future. Any players who were looking forward to Heartland are likely to get their military shooter fill from at least one of Ubisoft’s other upcoming games.

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