Helping out your buddies as an aerial drone in Tom Clancy's The Division (opens in new tab) seemed poised to be that rarest of achievements: a worthwhile video game companion app. In fact, it was actually too worthwhile, and that's why it's been cut from the game.
Aside from being able to do aerial reconnaissance and report back on distant threats, drone players would have several other ways to help their allies and hinder their foes. It was an impressive concept, letting mobile players make a substantial and immediate impact in their friends' campaigns.
Players spend much of their time in The Division traversing the dangerous streets of post-apocalyptic New York City, searching for supplies and survivors. Having an eye in the sky from a friendly mobile player could make a big difference.
But Ubisoft found drone teammates gave players in The Division's PvP-optional Dark Zones an unfair advantage. The developers decided they'd rather lose the app entirely than make Dark Zones feel different from the rest of the game by putting arbitrary limits on drones.
"It was proving to be too much of an advantage in PvP [so] we decided to level the playing field," associate creative director Julian Gerighty told me. "We couldn't have some groups with and some groups without.
"Difficult decisions, but I think focus is definitely essential in production and this was a necessary decision."
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