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Ubisoft cancels free-to-play spinoff The Division Heartland

The Division franchise is no longer jumping to free-to-play.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

May 15, 2024

2 Min Read
Characters from The Division Heartland stand in front of sandbags in a small town.
Image via Ubisoft.

At a Glance

  • Ubisoft revealed in its full-year 2023-2024 financial results that it has cancelled The Division Heartland.
  • The game was a spinoff of Ubisoft Massive's The Division series.
  • The company is "redeploying resources" to "bigger opportunities" in its XDefiant and Rainbow Six franchises.

Ubisoft's free-to-play spinoff of Tom Clancy's The Division 2 is no more. The company's full-year 2023-2024 financial results stated that The Division Heartland was canceled as part of its "cost reduction" plan, and resources from that game will be distributed to develop the upcoming XDefiant and upcoming Rainbow Six Projects.

No other information was offered on the cancellation. The game was in development at Ubisoft's North Carolina-based branch Red Storm Entertainment. This would be the fourth project Ubisoft has publicly canceled since the beginning of 2023.

The Division Heartland was meant to bring the looting-and-shooting of the Division franchise to a games-as-a-service (GaaS) model. The Division 2 is arguably already a "live service" game, with frequent content updates and microtransactions but players who want to jump in have to pay $40 for the base game.

No faith in the heartland

Ubisoft had begun promoting The Division Heartland in 2023, and the game was on track to launch in 2024.

A promotional video from 2023 showed gameplay that seemed similar to both prior games in The Division series. The major difference was that instead of being set inside a major metropolitan area, players would explore an American small town neglected in the wake of the massive pandemic that kicked off the series' story.

If Ubisoft says "GaaS" games are a core pillar of its business model, why was the game canceled? It's possible development wasn't proceeding as smoothly as hoped, but it's not unlikely that Ubisoft was not projecting strong revenue or monthly average users for the game.

Live service games took a pounding in 2023, with many publishers retreating from efforts to expand their franchises on mobile devices, and experienced studios like Bungie and Epic Games seeing declines on popular titles like Destiny 2 and Fortnite. (Epic Games CEO Sweeney reported that Fortnite's revenue has begun to rebound after rolling out its UEFN ecosystem, but payments to other developers reduce how much revenue Epic takes in.)

That video of The Division Heartland's development team is heartbreaking to watch a year later, as workers from all disciplines were shown working hard on a game that won't see the light of day.

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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