PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds creator Bluehole has finally unveiled its long-awaited development roadmap for 2018. It's a big 'un too, promising everything from visual improvements to gameplay additions, including a new map, emotes, and more.
Undoubtedly top of the list in terms of new stuff is a 4x4km tropical-island-style map, which could make its way to test servers as soon as next month. Its reduced size, says Bluehole, is specifically designed to offer an "intense and faster paced Battle Royale experience".
Bluehole also notes that a second, 8x8km, map is in the works. There's no more information on that yet, but it wants "to get this into your hands early in its development".
The developer is looking to offer an enhanced play experience across its map roster by introducing "new and interesting" game modes for Battlegrounds. However, it says its "still early days when it comes to hammering out all the kinks and details", and specific details will come later. It's a fair bet that Bluehole will at least be exploring the kind of regular ruleset refreshes seen in Epic's Fortnite, in an attempt to keep things from growing stale.
Adding some additional meat to the new maps and modes will be new vehicles, new weapons, and new weapons attachments. The former can be expected in the first half of this year, with weapons (such as the one teased below) scheduled to arrive later.
Elsewhere, a new Emote system is already in testing, and will apparently be available for everyone to try out "very soon". Bluehole says it plans to add more emotes throughout the year. That's only the start of Battlegrounds' expanded personalisation options, however, with parachute and weapon customisation, plus better character customisation, due later.
As for upcoming systems overhauls, there's the previously discussed limb and vehicle bullet penetration, as well as a reworking of the game's "entire TPP and FPP animation system" - which should allow for "smoother and more reactive" animations. Currently (and inexplicably) absent visual elements, such as animations for getting into and out of vehicles and changing seats, will hopefully make the cut too.
Bluehole has also offered a quick look at one of the refreshed buildings it's been working on (see above), noting that it plans to "continually upgrade the game's aesthetic side" as development continues throughout the year.
These visual upgrades will be accompanied by a number of audio improvements too, with the first half of the year bringing increased aural detail for vehicles - including suspension and skidding sounds, and rain on vehicle surfaces - and the latter half adding player movement sounds. Expect noises that correspond to items being carried, and a more varied, less repetitive selection of breathy huffs for a broad range of different activities.
Additionally, the developer says its working to improve armed and unarmed melee combat systems, and to make its parachuting system "more responsive and polished".
Last but not least, Bluehole has touched on perhaps the three most sought-after areas of improvement for Battlegrounds: stability, optimisation, and security.
Don't get too excited on that front, however; the developer merely notes that "We are continuing our daily work to combat cheaters, improve server stability and further optimize our servers and clients. It is impossible to solve these problems once and for all, but our goal is to continuously improve in this regard.".
For a few additional details on Bluehole's 2018 plans for Battlegrounds (with accompanying images), head over to the official website and check out the roadmap in full.