The Division 2’s new season comes with a genius triple plot twist

The Division 2’s new season comes with a genius triple plot twist

The Division franchise is best known for being a post-apocalyptic looter shooter, set in an alternate timeline where society collapsed due to a large-scale biological attack. Since The Division’s launch in 2016, Ubisoft’s developers have been telling a long-running story around a mysterious rogue agent. The Division 2’s most recent update includes a twist that is so implausible and goofy that it wraps all the way back around to being a work of genius.

In these games, the Strategic Homeland Division is a government agency that is embedded in society until times of great catastrophe, in which case its members are activated as super-cops aided by ISAC, a state-of-the-art AI. In the first game, the player meets with local Division leader Faye Lau, the two of them nearly get murdered, and then the player is authorized to start shooting and subsequently looting their way through New York City.

In between boss fights and collectible hunting, the player is introduced to the narrative thread that the Division is actually a bad idea for a crisis response team. A bunch of them have gone rogue, and the worst of them all is a real bad egg called Aaron Keener. Keener remains a background presence in the game’s lore for a while, only emerging to tell us about the recent bioterrorism he planned or all the good schemes he was enjoying.

The mystery mounted over years. I played through The Division 2’s campaign looking out for any sign of him among my new Division colleagues. One character, Agent Kelso, really seemed like she was going to betray me. She even disappeared for a long time during a crucial mission and reemerged with suspicious timing. But none of my suspicions immediately paid off, and the Black Tusk paramilitary group became the primary threat.

It wasn’t until the 2020 expansion Warlords of New York that players were finally able to confront Keener. The expansion was full of twists and turns, like Faye Lau murdering the president and framing the Division for the crime in a shocking double-cross. But players finally got to fight Keener as a boss, so that’s over with, right?

It’s not over with. You’ve fallen right into Aaron Keener’s trap, you gullible rube. He’s alive and kicking ass.

[embedded content]

Ubisoft helpfully explained the new status quo in a blog post, which reads in part:

Year 5 Season 3 ended with a shocking revelation, Rogue agent number one and sworn nemesis of The Division, Aaron Keener is alive. In her hunt for truth, Agent Kelso located him and decided to join forces with him.

The line between light and dark, agent and rogue, keeps blurring as we learned that Keener was working with Faye Lau to undermine the Black Tusk and neutralize the Hunter threat during the events of Warlords of New York.

Keener is coming to Washington, D.C. and he has sent us an invitation to parley, but first we will need to pass his twisted trials and prove our worth. An alliance with Keener and his Rogues could be the key to stopping Natalya Sokolova and the Black Tusk. But what will the cost be?

Can Keener be trusted? Is the enemy of our enemy truly our friend?

As someone who had kept abreast of The Division 2’s developing story, my reaction to reading this missive and learning this information was “I’m sorry, what?” There’s a lot of double-crosses to sort through, especially since the line between light and dark keeps blurring!

I hear you asking: “Wait, if Keener’s a boss in the game who players murder, didn’t players see him die?” You fool. You absolute buffoon. Keener hacked ISAC so it just looked like he was dead. But he’s alive, and now he wants to tell you his real agenda, as long as you can survive his Joker traps…

Sir, I have been trying to find you and have a conversation for many years straight, so I’m starting to think you’re just a messy bitch who loves the drama. On the other hand, the audacity of this creative choice wins me over. Of course Keener is a super-genius who faked his own death by hacking your brain. Otherwise, he’d just be a guy in a hoodie recording brooding monologues for colleagues to find, and that’s not very fun.

The Division 2’s next update includes other content and tweaks, as well as allowing players to access the endgame without purchasing Warlords of New York. Many fans seem surprised to see that The Division 2 is still receiving updates, but Ubisoft has been supporting the game — as well as many of its other titles — with years of post-launch support. When that strategy leads to story beats this brilliant, I definitely support it.