When the reclusive film director Stanley Kubrick was prepping Eyes Wide Shut, he sent his nephew, Manuel Harlan, on a research mission to photograph London, armed with a camera and a stepladder. From these 30,000 or so pictures, Kubrick was able to recreate vast chunks of West London as a photographic collage.
Ubisoft Massive did something similar to make The Division. They just didn’t take a step ladder. (Not to my knowledge.)
But thousands upon thousands of reference photographs were taken by Ubisoft’s World Texture Facility Team, which were painstakingly tagged and indexed, serving as the reference point for realising its bleak version of New York. The level of detail is immense, and having spent two days with the game, here are some of the most impressive little details I noticed.