While Fortnite may have dominated the conversation in 2018, the original PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (or PUBG for short) has continued to chug along as one of the best destinations for gamers looking to get their fix of competitive battle royale gameplay. PUBG was essentially the creator of the battle royale genre, but now that the space has become incredibly competitive with the likes of H1Z1, Fortnite, and Call of Duty: Blackout, the pressure is on PUBG to raise the stakes or get lost in the shuffle.
At The Game Awards 2018, the latest expansion for the blockbuster online game (not including that Joker and Harley Quinn nonsense) was announced, and it's available now for players on the PC test server, with an Xbox One and PlayStation 4 release scheduled for January 2019.
The new map, Vikendi, is introduced via a cinematic trailer which follows an inquisitive little bird who comes across a slain fighter and nearly blows itself up with a grenade. It's a jolly little piece with a fun dose of dark humor, but hardcore fans would surely prefer a more in-depth look at the new map, or at least a little bit of gameplay footage. Nevertheless, the teaser confirms the map's location to be a snowy tundra.
This snow-covered setting offers a visually distinct look from other maps, but also opens up new tactical strategies. The snow in the map isn't just for show, since players will leave footprints in the cold powder, allowing for observant hunters to track their prey, and for quick-witted prey to turn the tables on their would-be predators.
In terms of size, Vikendi is a six-by-six map, making it bigger than Sanhok, but smaller than Erangel, and this balance in scale should draw fans of both maps to this new locale. Vikendi releases alongside a new weapon, the G36 assault rifle, and a new vehicle; considering the setting, a snowmobile is a natural fit, and should have distinct handling compared to the other vehicles present in the game.
Best of all, Vikendi is available now for users on the PC test servers, and will receive a proper launch later in December. Console players will have to wait a bit longer, but not too long: Vikendi is coming to Xbox and PlayStation 4 in January.
The Xbox One port of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds was initially criticized for its numerous technical issues, including server instability, frame-rate issues, and glitches, but the experience is somewhat smoother after months of patches. The PlayStation 4 version of the game is finally due out on December 7, and will hopefully be more stable at launch.
- PlayerUnknown's BATTLEGROUNDS (2017) release date: Mar 23, 2017