Ubisoft’s new The Division game isn’t even out yet, as it’s still in beta testing and won’t launch officially until 2024. But after trying the beta, I already want one feature from the upcoming game to become standard in every video game I play in the future.
For the last few days, I’ve been playing the beta for Ubisoft’s upcoming mobile looter shooter, The Division Resurgence. As a fan of the previous games, I was curious to see if the excellent cover-based shooter action was still fun on a phone. Turns out, it mostly is, with combat in Resurgence feeling familiar to The Division 2’s albeit with some changes that make it more playable on a touchscreen device. But the thing I loved the most about this new Division game is the ability to fast-forward cutscenes with the touch of a finger.
Before we go any further: Yes, I know Ubisoft didn’t invent the concept of fast-forwarding cutscenes. Some JRPGs have included similar features, or let you do this after beating the game once. But fast forwarding is still so rarely seen in games in 2023 that its inclusion in Division Resurgence was a nice surprise, that not only bears mentioning but prompts me to ask: Why isn’t this standard in most games?
A wonderful surprise
I actually discovered the ability to fast-forward cutscenes in The Division Resurgence by accident. During a longer cutscene early in the game’s introduction sequence, I touched the screen to wipe away a smudge and suddenly the cutscene started playing twice as quickly.
Since that moment, I’ve been employing Resurgence’s fast-forward feature quite often. If a cutscene includes a scene of someone walking around silently, I tap the screen for a few seconds and buzz through it. If a character starts blabbering on about a mission that I already understand, I tap the screen and speed things up for a few seconds. It’s very funny to speed up dialogue, as they start sounding a bit like Alvin and the Chipmunks. You can also tap it randomly to sort of remix cutscenes, too. I’ve…probably been having too much fun with this minor feature.
Of course, you can also skip cutscenes completely in The Division Resurgence, just like most games in 2023 let you. But I usually don’t want to skip a cutscene entirely, even if drags or characters start going on about something that has been thoroughly covered already. You never know when a new bit of lore might drop, or a character might reveal more about who they are, etc. But being able to easily and selectively speed through parts of cutscenes has been a godsend in Resurgence. It’s also a smart feature to include in a mobile game, as you never know if the person playing might need to wrap up quickly to catch a bus or whatever.
So yeah, Ubisoft, you’ve spoiled me. I want this fast-forward option in every video game you make in the future. I definitely want it in The Division 3 and The Division Heartland, at least. Now that I’ve had a taste, I don’t want to go back.