The Division 2 private beta is in full swing, throwing players into a mid-apocalyptic world of Washington D.C. Early on, the beta asks players to reach the lawn of the White House and take it over as the new Base of Operations for Division agents, where players can craft weapons and get sent on missions — just so we all know what we’re dealing with here.
A few hours into the beta’s content, you come across a side quest inside D.C.’s National Archives building. Here, the Division agents are sent on a deeply important mission to … steal the Declaration of Independence.
Players enter the Archive, shoot a bunch of guys who are basically part of a prepper group, shove the entire document into their backpacks (filled with grenades, useless guns, purple knee-pads, etc.), and haul it back to the nearby settlement.
This seemingly serious mission evokes something familiar — something that happens as friends are chatting about the changes from Division 1 to Division 2 that makes everyone stop for a moment. “Did … did they say we need to go steal the Declaration of Independence?” They did, and we do. Just like American hero Nicolas Cage did in National Treasure.
In 2019, Nicolas Cage’s National Treasure isn’t exactly on the tip of everyone’s tongues (although perhaps it should be) — but it’s hard to forget the Ghost Rider himself bumbling his way through a D.C. party and narrowly escaping Sean Bean, as he uses one of our nation’s most sacred documents as a bullet shield.
But The Division 2 is pretty quick to rationalize this Nicolas Cage-like hook. Instead of looking for an ancient map on the back of the Declaration of Independence using lemon juice and a blow dryer, Division agents are sent in to pick it up for sentimental reasons. In this version of D.C., sometimes symbols like that are more important than ever — which an NPC throws at the player, giving them a poorly reasoned excuse to live out the completely normal childhood fantasy of being Nicolas Cage.
The quest still stands out as one of the beta’s most memorable thus far, though. The best is that it’s in one of the two lowest-level areas in the game. This is how The Division 2 starts: First, claim the White House as your new home base; then, steal the Declaration of Independence; God only knows where it will finish. All we can do now is collectively hope that Ubisoft has never seen National Treasure: Book of Secrets.
Read more: Polygon