PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) may be a mouthful, but the newcomer in the Battle Royale field has certainly earned its stripes through elegant design.
Every gamer and game developer has fallen victim to it: the notion that “more is better”. Given their nature as entertainment products, it makes sense that many developers would assume that the more bells and whistles that are tacked onto the product, the more distractions the consumer will occupy themselves with. And yet, one of the most successful games to top the Steam charts has been PUBG – by virtue of its simple, elegant design.
— PLAY BATTLEGROUNDS (@PUBATTLEGROUNDS) June 26, 2017
While it is true that more content will give – by its nature – more for the player to do, there is a very real threat that faces many of the most popular games: design bloat.
Take a moment to see what’s happening in nearly every MOBA out on the market. The “content” that is created for the games is primarily delivered to players via an ever-evolving roster of champions/heroes/avatars that can change the way that the game is played.
While new champions can offer a revitalizing surge to current state of the game, they often prove to be a larger balancing issue down the road. It doesn’t take much to figure out how the trickling feed of game-changing content can lead to a design nightmare.
PUBG, in stark contrast, bears an incredibly simple – but not simplistic – design philosophy in nearly all aspects. It’s simple to understand: be the last man standing. Yet, it’s incredibly difficult to master.
There’s an allure to the top percentage of PUBG players in the same fashion as those that ride the top ranks in LoL or Dota2. When a player sits atop the global standings in PUBG, you can be sure they’re worth their weight in gold.
The interplay between the guns, gear, positioning, and timing produces an end product that is not only fun to play, but also incredibly fun to watch.
PUBG is full of “oh shit” moments that punctuate tense moments as all parties scan the horizon for others. PUBG has, in its short time, managed to hit the top of the Twitch streaming charts several times, even appearing to rise dangerously close to the current throne-sitter, League of Legends.
Unlike LoL, however, PUBG doesn’t appear to be too keen on the route of perpetually adding content to throw the game off-balance. Rather, the design philosophy thus far seems far more tuned to the direction of refinement and iteration.
— ESL PUBG (@ESLPUBG) August 10, 2017
The game’s popularity and polish are even more impressive when one stops to consider that its official release date is still several months off.
The dedication that developers BlueHole and original creator PLAYERUNKNOWN have shown, demonstrates to the community that this won’t be a case of an early-access game, reaping in the cash before riding off into the sunset, never to be heard from again.
With a Gamescom tournament on the way and a promise toward ensuring stability and optimization before the official release date, the folks behind PUBG are doing all in their power to ensure that the release of their potential global eSport phenomenon is much more than just a flash in the back-armor frying pan.