Vikendi, the much anticipated fourth map for PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, launches on PC test servers today before a full launch on 19th December, with a console release set for January. Based on a series of short preview videos I was shown earlier in the week and the following interview with Dave Curd, world art director at PUBG Corporation, I can safely say it's the battle royale's most creative and ambitious map yet.
Every year, some of the best drivers in the world - champions from F1, the WEC, NASCAR and the WRC amongst other disciplines - get together to work towards the answer of that perennial motorsport fan's pint-fuelled topic: what if you could put every driver in identical machinery? What if you could strip away the technical side of the sport and find out, once and for all, who's the fastest driver of them all?
The first thing that strikes you about Blackout, Call of Duty's take on the phenomenally popular battle royale genre, is how smooth it all feels.
Well, that was Amazon Prime Day 2018. The summer sales festivities are now over - if you managed to grab some bargains, good on you - but if not, fear not - Black Friday 2018 is just around the corner, like it or not. We've already got our guide to the best Black Friday gaming deals up and running, ready to update with all the latest deals and discounts as and when they arrive, so be sure to bookmark that one.
It's the weekend, which of course means many things - a chance to bask in the sun and/or mourn the loss of it, a little bit of extra time to catch up on games, books or that Westworld finale and, most importantly, a brand new roundup of the very best deals from the week. That last one is the very article you're reading, so let's cut to the chase and check out some of the fun things you can treat yourself to this week.
There's never really been an easy time to debut an online-focussed multiplayer game on Steam, but the past few months have suggested there's never really been a more brutal one. PUBG and Fortnite rule all, leaving high profile casualties such as Lawbreakers in their wake while many more smaller games have suffered. And into that, roll7 - the developer of the brilliant OlliOlli, its sequel and Not a Hero - has made its first ever multiplayer game in the future sports title Laser League.
PUBG is in a weird place right now. It's still hugely popular, still hugely well-played, still, by some way, the biggest game on Steam - and somehow it's become something of the underdog.
When Bluehole first announced it was adding a new Event Mode to PUBG I curled my lip at the idea. If you've invested as much of your time into a game as I have with PUBG, it's easy to fear change.
It's been over three months since Playerunknown's Battlegrounds arrived on Xbox One and Xbox One X. Released as an early access 'game preview', what was immediately clear was that PUBG's console implementation had profound issues in nearly all areas: presentation was lacking, textures possessed severe streaming problems and frame-rate was sub-optimal, to put it generously. Three months on and there have been a range of improvements, but performance, key to the PUBG experience, is still lacking - and the developers agree with us.
Few settings have captured the imaginations of game developers and players like Chernobyl, the site of a reactor explosion in 1986 that created one of the world's few actual nuclear wastelands. The legendary Exclusion Zone - now, would you believe, something of a tourist attraction - has provided the stage for countless virtual conflicts and survival stories. There are the indirect recreations, such as Big Robot's bleached starship graveyard The Signal From Tölva, or the Erangel island map from PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds - an abandoned Soviet testing facilty in which the wanderer is forced towards rather than away from the centre by an ever-encroaching sea of blue energy. And there are truer-to-life portrayals like Call of Duty 4's "All Ghillied Up" mission or GSC World's STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, which gives you the run of an Exclusion Zone in which space-time is starting to fall apart like overcooked pasta.
When Epic added a battle royale mode to Fortnite in September last year, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds publisher Bluehole was pretty upset.
Leather coat, hockey mask, need the rest - m4w (Erangel)
One week on from its controversial launch, the Xbox One version of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has been patched, featuring a range of bugfixes and what the patch notes describe as a 'first pass' at visual and performance improvements, along with 'slightly improved' anti-aliasing. So what's actually changed? From our perspective, this patch is definitely a case of two steps forward, one step back.
PUBG is an inherently dynamic game, which makes like-for-like performance analysis from one version of the game to the next practically impossible, so all we can offer are some more general observations. As with our first test, we played the game simultaneously on Xbox One and Xbox One X, buddying up in the lobby area and negotiating various games as a team, capturing our progress in tandem. The truth is, the variable nature of PUBG changes from game to game, from moment to moment, but at least using this technique, we have both consoles running from the same server, usually rendering very similar workloads.
One thing that does stand out straight away is that while the visual quality is still poor, the vast gulf in texture quality between the standard and X units seems to have lessened this time around, though bad quality art is still in abundance on both systems with incidental detail - like ground debris - reduced to a cluster of barely filtered pixels. Anti-aliasing does look different - most notably on the base Xbox One - where the blurry nature of the filter has been dialled back, giving a crisper look.
You've read Eurogamer's games of 2017 list, but how did we settle on the top 10? A mixture of science and alcohol, it turns out.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds on Xbox One continues to throw up some fascinating discoveries, including the inclusion of a PC-style settings screen that displays resolution and graphics options. The menu itself is non-functional, but suggests that the base Xbox One version of the game runs at 1080p on PC's very low settings. Meanwhile, accessing the same menu on Xbox One X gives a different outlook, with 4K resolution and medium settings dialled in. But is this an accurate representation of the game's visual make-up? We decided to find out.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is - without question - the biggest game in the world right now, so Microsoft's current console exclusivity for the title is obviously a big deal. Equally without question is that the PC game is notorious for its work-in-progress visuals and wobbly performance. With that in mind, some might say that it's somewhat miraculous that any playable version of PUBG is possible on a console right now. From another perspective though, what's clear is that the current build of the game is a long way short of the standards expected from a polished console release.
As if we're already living inside of a William Gibson novel, the sun is slowly setting on Cyber Monday 2017. Don't be alarmed, though, the deals will live on. At least until later this week. The titular shopping event is a follow-up to last week's Black Friday sales bonanza with a mission to continue the vast array of discounts, price cuts and special offers. Previously, Cyber Monday was the internet's answer to the in-store-only price cuts of Black Friday but now that we're living in a fully digital age, the lines are blurred to the point where most of November is now about deals. Long may the deals live.
A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. Look out for the Jelly Deals roundup of reduced-price games and kit every Saturday on Eurogamer.
Update 8:36 pm: Looks like ShopTo has now raised the price of this one back up to a much more regular Ł24.85 price. It was nice while it lasted, though!
Original Story: If you've not been keeping up with things recently, you may have missed the fact that the international sensation of the year that is PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds will finally be released on console next month, specifically arriving on Xbox's Game Preview program on December 12th.
The day has finally come. Black Friday 2017 is finally upon us and with it has come an almost frightening level of discounts, special offers, bundles and limited-time deals on various bits of PC hardware and games both boxed and digital.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds will launch for Xbox One via Xbox Game Preview on 12th December, Microsoft has announced. The game will play on Xbox One X with HDR enhancements, while 4K support is due to be added further down the road.
Today's announcement was made during Microsoft's presentation at Paris Games Week, where PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds stars as a console launch exclusive on Xbox One.
Eurogamer caught up with the man himself, Brendan 'PlayerUnknown' Greene, and Battlegrounds' executive producer, Chang-Han Kim, to chat about the game's console launch, its battle royale genre copy cats and the differences between the Xbox One and PC versions.
26 years on, the opening ditty to Dyna Blaster on the Amiga is still seared into my memory, a perfect, personal time capsule that exists nowhere else but my brain. I only need to hum the first 10 seconds of that jingle and suddenly I'm transported back in time to 1991. 12 years old and huddled around an Amiga 500+ with four of my friends in a tiny bedroom in Garsington, Oxford.
Video games are guilty of reflecting humanity's more violent nature at times - and it's easy to see why when our screens are filled with nameless marines and musclebound maniacs eager to destroy every living thing in their path. As in reality, the virtual worlds we inhabit contain a wide array of human expression, ranging from violent combat to peaceful cooperation. Some players are taking things a step further though, opting to lay down their computerised weapons and adopt a nonviolent, pacifist approach to their virtual endeavours.
A few weeks ago, Shroud - a competitive Counter-Striker-turned-electrifying Playerunknown's Battlegrounds streamer - found himself, as you so often do, between the blue and a hard place. With the deadly boundary of the Battle Royale game's infamous shockfield crawling closer to him, and only 20 players to go, he darted from cover to cover, looking for a respite from its ever-tightening grasp. Soon, he found it: one of the island's cavernous warehouses near the Mylta power plant, though probably bereft of its vital loot, enjoyed the advantage of position dead in the center of the fresh circle.
In the days before it was decided that open world games should be called open world games, they were called all kinds of things. Things like sandbox games, or toybox games.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds finally pushed it's latest update to the Public Test Servers, and with it introduced the long-awaited first-person only servers. Battlegrounds was - and still is - playable in first-person on the game's standard servers. But now there are first-person only servers as well, and they make all the difference. This is my experience after a handful of games on those first-person servers.
"Let's face it, no one likes losing. Even sat at traffic lights in your car, you never want the car who pulls up next to you to beat you off the line."
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has taken the world by storm. Since its release on Steam Early Access in March, the title has sold an incredible 6m copies. It recently hit 422,618 simultaneous players on Steam.
After 20-something hours of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, my Steam recommendations are a wasteland. I've sunk a meaningful amount of time into a game with the words 'early access', 'survival', and 'shooter' in its tag cloud, and Valve's algorithm knows something about those. The earliest manifestations of that 'what if DayZ but dinosaurs' phenomena occupy three slots in a row in my 'you may also like' queue; an age gate indicates that we've arrived in 'what if DayZ but penises'. Zombies fill the gaps.
Sometimes I wonder what the games industry would look like had Bohemia Interactive focussed on polishing and finishing their official version of DayZ, rather than vanishing down a rabbit-hole of granularity from which they never resurfaced. Imagine if players could experience its unique PvP of tense human encounters in a zombie-strewn wilderness, of fragile alliances and galling betrayals, without having to deal with a skipful of clunk and half-baked features for almost four years.
In its first three days in Early Access, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds made over $11m. That's a staggering figure for what technically amounts to an unfinished game. Such is the power of "Battle Royale" - an emerging breed of massively multiplayer action gaming based on the Japanese book and film of the same name, in which scores of players fight for the title of last person standing on a single map. It's an enormously popular subgenre, and it's almost entirely the work of one man - a modder whose online moniker is now synonymous with the game mode.