Will A New Map Be Enough To Save “Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds”?

Matthew Loffhagen
Bluehole
(Photo: Bluehole)

“Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds” is getting a major piece of new content.

An indie title from Bluehole Studios, “PUBG” has been credited with kicking off the current popularity of the Battle Royale game formula – 100 players are thrown into an expansive map, as they fight to the death until a single player remains.

While “PUBG” started this trend in earnest, many of its big ideas have been, shall we say, borrowed by the more popular “Fortnite”, a game that’s winning for several reasons, not least because it provides a far more stable experience for players.

PUBG New Map
Source: Bluehole

Now, in an effort to win back audiences, “PUBG” is releasing a brand new micro map – a smaller play area that will inevitably lead to more hectic, intense firefights that will burn out quicker.

This is a smart move – one big problem with the Battle Royale format in general is the fact that players can spend a long time waiting around without anything actually happening. A smaller map could help to push players to engage each other sooner, creating a lower stakes experience that players can sample and discard in favor of a new match with greater speed.

Essentially, this will provide the best bits of the Battle Royale gameplay experience, without all the waiting around. Sure, this means losing some tension and drama, but that’s a small price to pay for a slightly new twist on this increasingly prevalent gameplay model.

The big question, though, is whether the new map will be enough to save “Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds” from its ongoing slide into obscurity.

The game is by no means unpopular at present, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that it’s losing a lot of the attention that it garnered last year.

Alas, the new map doesn’t fix a lot of the problems that pushed players away from the game to begin with – “PUBG” is still buggy, and it’s artstyle is still fairly bland.

PUBG
Source: Bluehole

These aren’t problems that Bluehole can fix overnight – they’re indicative of the team’s relatively small budget and limited resources. This is, after all, an indie game, rather than a major studio release.

The team do seem to be over-exerting themselves, though, in a rush to try and one-up (or at least keep stride with) “Fortnite” and other competition.

It’s hard to see a new map being enough to fix all of the problems with “Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds”. At the very least, though, this new content could provide the game with a little more goodwill from players at the small studio works to fix everything else that’s currently causing it to struggle.

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