Xbox One, PS4 and Windows PC gamers excited to get their hands on Ubisoft’s The Division are getting some bad news this week. The French video game maker has delayed the upcoming The Division beta. In place of it, Ubisoft is offering entry into The Division alpha release, but with some big caveats.
Ubisoft announced that it was delaying the highly anticipated The Division beta this week in a post on the game’s blog. The Division is a massive online role-playing game that takes place in New York City after the fall of the American government. Tasked with protecting what’s left of America by government officials, players are a member of a team sent to New York City to investigate all that’s happened. The game attracted a lot of attention when it was announced because of its graphics and ambitious scope. An original The Division release date was scheduled for sometime in 2014 before being delayed into 2015. Earlier this year Ubisoft revealed March 8, 2016 as the official The Division release date.
The developer now says that The Division Beta that was planned for December will happen sometime in “early 2016.” With the beta moved to 2016 and pre-orders already available, it seems that the company still wants to shoppers to get their hand on the game as early as possible to provide feedback. That’s why it is running The Division alpha test.
Anyone who pre-ordered a copy of The Division already will get first chance at participating in the alpha test that begins this week.
“We’re excited to announce that players who pre-ordered the Xbox One version will have priority access to an exclusive closed Xbox One alpha testing phase, taking place from December 9 to December 12,” Ubisoft says in its blog post.
Anyone that pre-ordered The Division on Sony’s PS4 or for PC can still expect entry into The Division Beta. The company isn’t making anymore promises beyond that. Ubisoft is teasing that more than just the game’s Dark Zones will be available during the alpha testing. Dark Zone is what Ubisoft calls the game’s player versus player experience. The developer showed footage from a Dark Zone off at this year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo in June.
Typically, alpha tests are laser-focused on identifying issues with a game and providing the developer with early feedback. While we’re using to having access to a beta, alphas are something mostly knew for the public at large. Alphas tests have existed for years, but most people never hear about them because developers force testers to sign non-disclosure agreements.
Participation in this week’s The Division alpha test will require that Xbox One owners sign a non-disclosure agreement. They can’t write about the game, talk about what they’ve experienced or show footage from the game to anyone.
The Division alpha test for Xbox One owners will start on December 9th at 10AM. Ubisoft says that it is already in the process of sending out invitations to the test for well-qualified participants. Players can expect a download of 23.2GB, which isn’t that hefty at all considering The Division is a role-playing game. The developer is also warning players that what they see during the alpha test isn’t entirely indicative of what they’ll see when the game launches.
Certainly, providing any early access to a game for those that pre-ordered is a good thing. It gives players time to examine the title’s mechanics and decide whether investing in a particular game at release is a good idea. That’s very important for potential buyers of The Division, which will require a lot of investment in time and attention from players due to its RPG and open world mechanics.