The Division's next major expansion, Survival, has launched on the game's public test server, giving PC season-pass holders a look at its new gameplay.

Survival turns the open-world shooter into a battle royale-style survival game, with cooperative PvE and co-op/competitive PvP options.

Players crash into a blizzard-stricken version of New York with up to 24 players, are stripped of their vanilla-game gear and skills, and asked to reach the centre of the city - the Dark Zone - to retrieve some antiviral drugs.

The blizzard brings with it new survival mechanics including hunger, cold, thirst, and sickness; players can use (scarce) medicine, food, drinks, and warm clothing to stave off the effects, but will eventually become resistant to medicine.

Cold protection actually - and finally - gives a practical use to formerly cosmetic-only clothing items like hats and scarves.

Visibility is decreased in multiple ways, from the snow itself to disabled minimaps.

No safehouses exist in Survival, per se, but temporary hideouts will include crafting tables - an important part of the game, given the lack of gear as it opens.

Matches can last up to two hours, or until players butt up against the mode's permanent death mechanic.

This expansion comes just after the long-awaited launch of the game's 1.4 update, which improves upon basic gameplay elements like difficulty and character progression.

Survival has no release date, but has been pegged for early 2017 alongside version 1.5 of the game, coming to Xbox One and PC before PlayStation 4.