I guess this is what you do when you’re Jonathan Frakes. You come off Star Trek Picard and narrate a faux Unsolved Mysteries ad for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegounds. It’s another convoluted backstory for the battle royale genre. This time, it’s an attempt to explain how and why people are killing each other on the island of Vikendi, home to the Dinoland theme park. Something, something, cursed family or some-such. Here’s a simple solution. Don’t bother. Players spawn in and they shoot each other. The end.
The student is now the master, or something. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will offer 8v8 team deathmatch in a new mode. Seven small chunks of its gargantuan maps will host a very Call of Duty-ish experience, for those players that want it. The mode even mandates first-person view, so the only things you’ll miss are the guitar riffs and napalm strikes. Team deathmatch is “coming soon” to PUGB, presumably when its next season launches.
A new game with a narrative in the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds setting is in development. You might’ve thought the story of PUBG was simply “I got shot by someone I didn’t even see while fumbling with my inventory,” but PUBG Corporation and Striking Distance think differently. In fact, the companies think the time is right for an “original narrative experience” in the PUBG universe. We could learn the secret drama behind the frying pan, or the tragic irony of the chicken dinner.
“As a creative, the freedom to explore the PUBG universe has me excited about the possibilities, which I view as beyond the battle royale genre.”
Striking Distance is a new studio from Glen Schofield, one of the original co-founders of Sledgehammer Games. He also served as vice president and general manager at Visceral where he oversaw the development of Dead Space.
Tencent has pulled the mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds from the Chinese market and replaced it with Game for Peace. The new game is a somewhat sanitized reimagining of PUBG that swaps blood with sparks, death animations with a jaunty hand-wave, and supplies a patriotic backstory honoring the Chinese military as an anti-terrorism force. You can check out the zaniness in this video.
Reuters reports that the publisher made the changes based on PUBG failing to get approval for in-app purchases in the country due to objectionable content, as judged by the Chinese government’s censors. The publisher announced that Game for Peace has already secured the clearance to collect in-app revenue. While the changes may seem silly, the ability to actually make money seems to be the concern for the company.
Vikendi, the new wintery snow-covered map in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, is live for all players. It’s not just a white-painted version of another map, a common cost-cutting technique in games, but an actual new island with unique points of interest. There’s a decrepit dinosaur park, a rickety roller coaster, and a rusting cosmodrome with a rocket. Snowmobiles are the vehicle du jour in Vikendi, and daring players are already breaking the physics to see how far they can ride on the roller coaster tracks. Is the chicken dinner best served cold?
“Fix PUBG.” That’s the motto of the new push from Bluehole and PUBG Corp. Acknowledging that the community of players has been urging developers to do the hard work of actually addressing the numerous performance, balance, and quality-of-life issues plaguing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the developers have promised to work on a “months-long campaign” to essentially “fix PUBG.” It’s a stunning public admission that the studio for too long was focused on revenue generation instead of basics like security and engine optimization.
“The bottom line is, you’re the reason for our success. You’ve stuck with us, and now it’s time for us to deliver the fixes you’ve been asking for.”
The campaign started with a live update that launched yesterday.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is rolling out a time-limited season pass system for unlocks along with the addition of the Sanhok map to the public game. In a lengthy announcement, the PUBG Corp explained that the Event Pass will be progression-based and will dole out rewards to players as they complete missions and achieve level milestones. Players that do not buy immediately, can still participate and track their progress, then purchase the pass before it ends and all previously attained rewards will be unlocked at that time. A rather generous proposition for hesitant players.
Savvy battle royale players have noted the broad similarities to the way Fortnite handles its Battle Pass system, with most applauding the change. Sanhok and the Event Pass launches on June 22nd.
The CEO of PUBG Corporation, would like to see PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds made into a movie someday. Not only that, Chang Han Kim told Inven Global that he can imagine a whole cross-media universe of Battlegrounds.
“We want to take part in diverse industries including Esports, movies, drama, cartoons, animation, and more. In fact, we received a couple of love calls from a number of developers in Hollywood and Netflix.”
It may sound silly to think about a movie or multiple-part series based on the basically plot-free Battlegrounds, but that never stopped Hollywood when enough money is on the line. If they can turn Battleship or emojis into movies, why not a rip off of Battle Royale?
Microsoft is bundling PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds with the Xbox One X. The hot as fire battle royale multiplayer game just launched as an Xbox exclusive and racked up over 1 million players in 48 hours. That’s a million players without a demo version. To celebrate, Microsoft is offering the game as a free bonus to all Xbox One X buyers until the end of the year.
Despite some widely reported technical issues, it appears Battlegrounds will be as big of a hit on consoles as it is on the PC. That’s a lot of chicken dinners.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is facing an uphill fight in China thanks to a negative recommendation from a leading censorship advisory group. The China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association, working in conjunction with the official Chinese government’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television issued a statement on Battlegrounds that accuses the game of being too violent and “deviates from the values of socialism” according to a translation from Bloomberg. It is an early sign that the game will not likely get an official license for sale in China.
“This basically spells the death sentence for PUBG in China,” said Benjamin Wu, an analyst at Shanghai-based consultancy Pacific Epoch.
The SAPPRFT previously recommended that lone survivor multiplayer games not be allowed in China and discourages local development of such games. Honour of Kings, a Korean multiplayer survival game published by Tencent, is the most popular game in the genre in China. It slipped into the country before the SAPPRFT ruling and remains on sale with little to no competition in the country.
Bluehole, the publisher of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, is not pleased with Epic’s foray into the same arena. While Fortnite Battle Royale is going free-to-play, Bluehole is pondering their relationship with Epic’s Unreal Engine 4. In an interview with GamesIndustry, Bluehole’s Chang Han Kim pointed out that while they pay Epic for their UE4 engine license, Epic has suddenly become a competitor, including the use of Battlegrounds in their marketing.
“We have also noticed that Epic Games references PUBG in the promotion of Fortnite to their community and in communications with the press. This was never discussed with us and we don’t feel that it’s right.”
Whatever the outcome, it’s likely that Fortnite won’t be the last copycat of Battlegrounds. To date, Bluehole’s multiplayer phenomenon has sold over 11 million units on PC alone.
Are you one of the 10 million people playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds? Despite still being in early access on Steam, the Battle Royale multiplayer game from independent developer Bluehole is a sales hit. It’s a darling of streamers and YouTube gaming. In fact, Battlegrounds recently surpassed Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 as the most played games on Steam. It is a growth phenomenon. One can only wonder how much more it will sell when it launches on Xbox One by the end of the year.
If you want to watch Tom Chick and Jason McMaster help others get their chicken dinner, you can check out their play here.