Update, October 15th: We now know a lot more about Battlegrounds' new desert-themed map and the future of the game as a whole, after PC Gamer got to try out the new movement system on it.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' first (free) major expansion feels all the more tantalisingly close now, after PC Gamer got to run around the new environment, reporting extensively on all the gritty details.
Check out our PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds guide for all you chicken dinner needs.
First and foremost, they report that the desert environment - based on Mexico, as opposed to the Russian island we're so familiar with - is more busy and cluttered than you'd expect from a desert map. It's full of trees, boulders, debris and abandoned buildings to put between you and incoming fire, and there's no shortage of hills, dunes and flat-roofed buildings to climb around on.
What they played wasn't complete by any means, with one of the larger towns and the military base zone being just empty plots of land at present, but they'll be fully populated in the final release. It sounds like a welcome change of pace from the familiar environments of the original island, at the very least.
The new map is only half of the reason to get excited. In the preview build they tried, PC Gamer also got to play around with the new movement system, allowing for characters to vault, dive and climb over and through appropriate obstacles. Open windows are now valid points of entry and exit for any building, which should hopefully allow for a few more last-second grenade escapes.
It's reported that the new movement options feel smooth and intuitive, which would be a definite step up from Arma's stiff fence-hopping animations. Once finished, the new map and movement options should go a long way to refreshing the appeal of the game for some, although given its soaring, record-breaking player counts, it hardly seems necessary at present.
Update, September 22nd: Three new vehicles are coming to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and developer Brendan Greene has announced the first of them via Twitter. In an AMA on Reddit earlier this week, he hinted towards the new vehicles, officially revealing the first of them this morning.
During the AMA, a Reddit user asked PlayerUnknown whether the game’s upcoming desert map would have vehicles more suited to hotter climes. As in much of the rest of the AMA, Greene was unwilling to say much of any substance, but he did say “we have new vehicles planned for the new map!”
Two days later, Greene tweeted some more concrete information on the new vehicles, confirming that his team are “working on 3 new vehicles” for the game, and revealing the first of those to be the camper van shown above.
You may have noticed one or two differences between the new vehicle and the classic VW campervan it’s obviously based on. Most notable of those changes is the lack of enormous Volkswagen logo that would normally emblazon the front of the vehicle, but it should be reasonably obvious why that’s missing.
Elsewhere in the AMA, Greene pointed towards some upcoming changes to the game. Those included mentions of a night-time map, changes to the Blue Zone, and a third map, based around the Adriatic Sea. Most of these seemed to be early in development, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll ever make their way to the full game.
Update September 12, 2017: Datamining has revealed the likely layout of PUBG’s upcoming desert map.
The September update for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds just went live, and it’s brought along a preview of what’s to come. VG247 have clued us into some datamining that’s hit Reddit, and it looks as if we’ve got a full view of the layout for PUBG’s forthcoming desert map.
Check out our PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds guide.
This appears to be a full view of the new location’s minimap, so you can start planning your routes now. Of course, you should bear in mind the caveats that this is still in development, elements could be placeholder, et cetera. But who has time to be tepid when we’re looking at the new PUBG map?
Notably, there appears to not be a drop of water here, which I guess is appropriate with the whole ‘desert’ thing. Also, if this map is indeed the same scale as the existing island, it looks like city labeled Hard Luck will be quadruple the size of Pochinki, making it one of the biggest, densest urban areas in the game.
Update August 29, 2017: The next PUBG map won't be 4x4km after all. Brendan Greene says the new desert map will be the same size as the game's currently existing map.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ new map will be 8km by 8km. Brendan ‘PlayerUnknown’ Greene has confirmed that the 64 kmsq map will be roughly the same size as the game’s current map.
Erangel, which is currently the game’s only map, is 8x8km, give or take the intricacies of the map’s coastline. The new desert map will be roughly the same size, according to the game’s developer. In an interview with Eurogamer, he says that “for 100 players an 8x8 just makes more sense and it gives more flexibility when we move onto custom games and things like that."
There were rumours that the new map would be a quarter of the size of the existing map - 4x4km rather than 8x8, or 16 kmsq. This would have made for a much more condensed experience, but might have lacked the scope for exploration that Erangel provided, which would have put paid to the winning tactic from last week’s Gamescom invitational.
While Erangel seems to have been based off an Eastern European climate, the new map seems to take players to a new part of the world. Images of the new PUBG map released by PlayerUnknown would seem to suggest that it’s inspired by North African or Middle Eastern countries instead.
Update August 23, 2017: We're not just getting details, as now, PlayerUnknown (Brendan Greene to his buddies) has tweeted out a new teaser for one of PUBG's new maps.
Caught by Dot Esports, he's showing off the desert map, four square km of sand atop a buried city. Or, it turns out, not that buried - the new teaser screenshot suggests those buildings are more dusty than buried, and you'll be able to loot them.
— PLAYER @ GAMESCOM (@PLAYERUNKNOWN) August 23, 2017
In more PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds news: the team are, unsurprisingly, doing rather well. In a stream on Mixer, it was revealed that the team has grown to over 120 people, and they're looking to expand. Maybe you could help make PUBG one day?
Update July 14, 2017: Some more details have released for PUBG's upcoming maps. In fact, they were right in front of us all along, like a dude crouched in a bush with a frying pan.
The new information is actually hiding in the game's FAQ - via Reddit - and it tells us a fair bit about what to expect from the upcoming maps.
Some of the information we knew already, such as the fact there will be two new maps: a 4x4 desert map and an 8x8 Mediterranean battleground. We also knew the desert one would likely come first, being a quarter the size of the game's first map and with all the teases we've already had.
There are some more details about these maps that wasn't clear, however - right down to specific features. The desert map will have slums, villages, and a canyon with a river running through it. The second map will contain a dense forest, a Mediterranean coastline, a snowy mountain located in the center of the map.
As for the future, we also know that there are no plans for a nighttime map. No doubt because it would just be a battle of whose monitor goes brightest. There could be a full snow map, but the devs are uncertain at the moment.
More environmental destruction will be coming, too, but optiomisation comes first.
Update July 3, 2017: Mr. PlayerUnknown himself just tweeted out some screens of PUBG's upcoming desert map, showing off a dusty battlefield filled with cacti and sand. Lots of sand.
In the two screenshots we can see a broken down train, ramshackle buildings, and lots of post-apocalyptic props. It might not be the end of the world, but it sure looks like it. Keep an eye on that hill in the distance, yeah?
Here's the tweet with the screens:
As he says, it's a work-in-progress, but it's still looking rather nice, in the depressing way PUBG looks.
Update June 23, 2017: We've been chatting to Mr Unknown himself (or Brendan Greene, if you prefer) about his Battlegrounds' new maps.
Early designs on PUBG's coming maps included a cosmodrome with several massive buildings full of loot, Brendan 'PlayerUnknown' Greene tells us, but they've had to be scaled down.
“I see [a level designer] work on the cosmodrome, and the guy who’s working on the buildings - the first round of buildings he did were massive. You could host two or three whole battle royales within these buildings. They had 50 floors, they were gigantic, but they made the area look super cool. We did have to cut them down and make them more manageable so people didn’t run into a building and go ‘Fuck’. So much loot, so little time.”
Sounds exciting, but Greene is keen to emphasise that “it’s still very early” and the maps are continually changing. “We’re still blocking out where towns will be, what the various points of interest will be. On the Adriatic map, we have this really cool cosmodrome in mind, with a ruined shuttle half-falling.
“The Peru map will be the same, a ruined city after a sandstorm, this kind of stuff. We’re trying to give as much variety to our terrains as we can. We’re building a map for game modes. The more variety of content you give modders and creators, the better it’ll be for the game, in the long run.”
It was first announced last month that two new maps for PUBG were in the works - if you missed those details, check out our original coverage below.
Original story May 16, 2017: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), the much-streamed battle royale shooter currently in early access, is getting two new maps. They're both still in development, so are subject to change, and we don't have a release date yet, but there's plenty to discuss anyway.
The first is an island in the Adriatic Sea. The north side of the island is blanketed in thick forest, the south side is a Mediterranean coastline, and there are snowy mountains in the centre. The island will be 8x8km in size and will feature varying architecture.
The second map is 4x4km and is located in a desert city. Once beautiful, it has since been ravaged by war and buried by a sandstorm. A river runs through its south and eastern areas, while the hills to the northwest of the town shelter a number of slums.
Thanks, GameInformer. In related news, PUBG's week eight update (on Steam here) announces a new patch to be applied today. The headlines are that, to prevent cheating by means of lag switches, players will be frozen in place if their ping exceeds a certain value, and you'll no longer be able to remove the game's foliage by editing the .ini file.
PUBG is on Steam early access here for £26.99 ($29.99).