Ubisoft cancels The Division: Heartland so it can focus on 'bigger opportunities' like XDefiant

 The Division Heartland screen.
The Division Heartland screen.

Three years after announcing it as "an all-new perspective" on its long-running Division series, Ubisoft has quietly pulled the plug on The Division: Heartland, saying it has decided to focus its efforts on other games instead.

Details were scant when The Division: Heartland was first announced beyond that it would be a free-to-play "standalone game that doesn’t require previous experience with the series." We got a closer look in 2023, when it was showcased as an extraction shooter with survival elements, set in a small town in middle America. Ubisoft said at the time that developer Red Storm was "taking a test-and-learn approach to building this game," with player feedback from ongoing closed beta tests guiding development.

We never got a chance to try The Division: Heartland ourselves, and now we never will: Amidst all the hullabaloo of today's big Assassin's Creed Shadows reveal, Ubisoft also revealed in a much more low-key fashion—which is to say, by way of a note in its FY2023-24 earnings report—that it has cancelled the game as part of its ongoing effort to "streamline its operations and adapt to evolving market trends."

"In line with the increased selectivity of its investments, Ubisoft has decided to stop development on The Division Heartland and has redeployed resources to bigger opportunities such as XDefiant and Rainbow Six," the company said.

Rainbow Six Siege is an ongoing winner for Ubisoft, but it's interesting to see it put that kind of weight on XDefiant's shoulders. Despite a rough introduction in 2021, XDefiant looks like it might be pretty good, but whether that will translate into a sustainable long-term audience is a very big open question. On the other hand, XDefiant does have one big advantage over Heartland: It's ready to go, with a pre-season launch set for May 21.

It's also fair to say that the development of Heartland does not appear to have gone especially smoothly—it was originally supposed to be out sometime in 2021-22—and things on The Division front have changed as that target has slipped further and further behind. The Division 2 is still chugging along, The Division Resurgence mobile game is expected to arrive later this year, and a full-scale Division 3 is in the works now, too. Maybe that's just enough Division for now.