There is a road in Beirut.
It cuts into, wraps, the heart of the city.
It’s elevated. The Mediterranean shimmers in front of it.
It melts downtown. Chokes on smog.
This city is proud, broken, laid out in front of it.
A sunbather in boiling light.
The circular theater still hollow concrete.
The unfinished tower too large to destroy.
The curve by the shore where the Prime Minister was assassinated.
The Virgin Megastore. The rotten parliament.
Hezbollah slums. Refugee camps.
A place that never recovers, but always comes back.
More resilient than NYC.
Wilder than LA.
More expensive than Paris.
The birthplace of the modern suicide bomb.
Scarred by the most complicated, brutal civil war in modern history.
Thousands of refugees massacred in camps.
Families incinerated at checkpoints.
Hundreds of US Marines ripped apart.
A war of 18 religions.
A war of psychopaths.
In a city that remains broken to survive, people break.
Become husks of selfish ideology.
Hollow ghosts haunting screens.
Unrelatable to the first world.
A sheared mass getting its picture taken.
A generation of Manhunt executions devoured by technological and spiritual adolescence.
Everyone The Plague.
But beauty endures in this hole.
The world doesn’t forget.
Tracers at sunset.
Old men at backgammon beneath street lights.
Silhouette ships stoic on the horizon.
Throwing food to the gutter cats.
Coffee and hookah by the shore.
This dread is compelling.
A resigned immediacy focuses the landscape.
On the precipice of every frayed nerve, the heart unravels.
This is where The Division functions.
It rips NYC open, exposes it to the developing world.
It is a reimagining of DMZ with less character and more violence.
The Division’s NYC doesn’t feel apocalyptic.
It is not a wasteland.
It is frozen and lush.
A thorough contemplation of adorned repulsion.
Garbage stacked high on every street.
Holographic memories of people burned alive.
Civilians fighting over food in the cold.
But there’s the sunlight. The fog. The snow. The night.
Piss Christ reconstructed as a city.
And the days seep into each other.
NYC via Beirut.
Extremist ideology in rational abandonment.
The Division is criticized for espousing a fascist world view.
The player is a federal agent assisting in the violent restoration of this city.
The player’s main interaction is shooting at those who hinder this restoration.
The Division is one gang among many.
The player exists in this world like the Cleaners and the Rikers.
Living weapons moving through the world.
Explosive noise echoing down.
Violence is the coalescing force.
The shared experience.
To say The Division is fascist is to never live through conflict.
To never witness a complex, living system unravel around you.
To never hear a car bomb detonate a block away.
To never have a relative gunned down at an arbitrary checkpoint in the middle of the night.
Labeling it as fascist is to misunderstand the mechanics of prolonged, uncontrolled conflict.
Everyone seeks to exert their order, but no one succeeds.
Wills stagnate. Violence drones on.
It becomes ‘the way it is’.
The Division is absurd hyper-realism.
In the Dark Zone, the game takes the equanimity of its violence to its logical extreme: everyone can kill and steal from everyone.
There is a constant immediacy.
This is the fiction.
Conflict isn’t bound by self-preservation and stagnation, but a rapid calculus of greed.
The Division can be interpreted as a companion to This War of Mine.
Where TWoM is a personal view of surviving conflict, The Division is about exploring the raw, ridiculous heart of it.
About examining failure through density.
About the futility of will filtered through factional violence.
About watching the sun light up bodies by the shore.