Is Massive large enough to develop Avatar, Star Wars, and The Division?
Tom Clancy's The Division 2 is one of the best third-person shooters I have ever played. With satisfying gunplay and fantastic levels based on the man...
Tom Clancy's The Division 2 is one of the best third-person shooters I have ever played. With satisfying gunplay and fantastic levels based on the many museums of Washington DC (both real and fictional), the shooter from Massive Entertainment stands out as one of the top live-service titles of the last console generation. When Ubisoft unceremoniously announced this week that a sequel titled - as you may have guessed - Tom Clancy's The Division 3 is in the works, I was extremely excited.
The previous game had a strong start with a stable launch and enough endgame content, but quickly encountered the typical complaints that most live-service games face: there is nothing to do. A sequel seemed like a coin toss, especially with two free-to-play spin-offs in the works from different teams: The Division Heartland by Red Storm Entertainment and The Division Resurgence (for which no specific team has been announced yet).
It seemed particularly unlikely as Massive is already busy with two massive games. Firstly, there's Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, set to release in December, and then there's Star Wars Outlaws, scheduled for release next year. This is a team that has traditionally developed one game at a time, usually with several years in between. But now they're working on three games simultaneously? And these aren't just three games, but three large open-world games, all within major franchises. It doesn't get much bigger than Star Wars or Avatar, and The Division is an established brand within the well-established Tom Clancy brand - an IP turducken.
Part of this is made possible by the unique way Ubisoft develops games. None of their releases are created exclusively within a single studio. For example, while the development of Assassin's Creed Valhalla was led by Ubisoft Montreal, this studio received support from 12 other Ubisoft teams and external assistance from Sperasoft. This is one of the reasons why Ubisoft can consistently deliver huge open-world games to the market. Ubisoft studios worldwide collaborate and utilize shared tools to develop these gigantic games.
At this point, we do not know which studios will support Massive in The Division 3, but several others worked on The Division 2, and even more are currently involved in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and Star Wars Outlaws. As of April 2020, Massive alone employed 650 staff members. The company's website currently states that it employs over 750 people, suggesting that it has expanded its workforce in recent years to handle the workload of developing three major games while also maintaining and improving its own engine, Snowdrop.
The answer could be as simple as this: Massive is, well, massive. When you consider the nine teams working on Star Wars Outlaws, the seven teams working on Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, and factor in the likelihood that development on The Division 3 has just begun, it sounds a bit less wild than it initially seems to hear that one studio is working on three huge and highly anticipated open-world games.