Matt Higby resigned from Sony Online Entertainment and from Planetside 2 during the transition to Daybreak Entertainment. In the months since then, he’s been mostly silent on the game design from, but he had to land somewhere at some point. That somewhere, as it turns out, is The Division developer, Ubisoft Massive.
I'm excited to finally announce that I've signed on as a Game Director with @UbiMassive! Feels nice to be bombarded by email lists again!
— Matthew Higby (@mhigby) May 2, 2016
Of course the first inclination is to assume that Higby and his luscious locks are climbing aboard The Division train, but that would be a bit too presumptuous. We don’t know what Higby is doing at Massive. Since he hasn’t said, there’s a chance he’s working on something else entirely. Still, The Division is tantamount to an MMO and like most other live products, it requires constant upkeep. It seems unlikely that Ubisoft Massive would be gearing up for their next endeavor so soon. They’re likely focusing all their efforts on The Division. So let’s assume that Higby is now involved with the game – at least until we learn otherwise.
Maybe Ubisoft doesn’t want him saying he’s working on The Division for whatever reason; it would explain why he hasn’t responded to the many tweets referencing the game. It’s also true that between the hacking, the exploits, and the disappointing Incursion Update, public opinion on The Division has been steadily declining in the last few weeks. They may just want him quiet to temper expectations which could just as easily blow up in their face.
As most publishers and developers have learned – mostly the hard way – it’s far easier to not say anything at all than to say something and regret it. We’ll probably learn either way soon enough. Higby was always a public face when he was involved with Planetside 2. I can only hope that Ubisoft would allow him the same level of freedom at Massive.
That, and a load of polish, would do The Division a world of good.