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PUBG’s latest test build reveals a draft of the new desert map (update: new, official screenshots)

New vaulting mechanics and weapon ballistics are now on public test servers, could go live as soon as tomorrow

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An early screenshot of the upcoming desert map.
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The latest update to Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is live on public test servers. It adds a new vaulting and climbing system as well as new weapon ballistics. But enterprising players have dug through the data itself, and uncovered what may be a draft version of the upcoming desert map.

That desert map was first revealed in May, with early screenshots dropping in July. Designer Brendan “Playerunknown” Greene has said to expect a smaller environment, around four square kilometers, set in an arid, war-ravaged region. Early sketches show a mix of urban and suburban spaces, and early screenshots show many new types of structures.


The map uncovered today appears to be an early version of the in-game map menu featuring placeholder names like “Hard Luck,” “Murderland” and “Dirtbag.” Redditor bizzfarts says that they used a freely available Unreal Engine viewer to extract the image, along with several new vehicles and one new weapon.

This image, revealed in May, seems to be one of the larger towns on the map above. Given the scale, it’s difficult to find an exact match.

The latest update for Battlegrounds was expected to go up on the test servers last week, but PUBG delayed it. The new vaulting and climbing system will make areas of the map that were previously inaccessible available to players or the first time, and should create many more sniper’s nests than ever before. It will also improve the fluidity of close-quarters engagements. Players will have more options for exiting a building, like leaping through windows.

Ballistics are also being tweaked, with bullet trajectory now being influenced by air resistance. Expect your long-range shots to be much harder to land going forward.

There are, of course, two version of Battlegrounds available on Steam. One is the live, retail version of the game (which is still in early access) and the other, called the test server. This is a subset of servers where the developers at PUBG put the final build of the game to the test before releasing it widely. You can access it by looking at your Steam library. It’s right there in the list of games you own, just below the main entry for Battlegrounds.

If everything goes well, the developer said in its patch notes, this update should be pushed out to all users soon.

Update (Nov. 16): PUBG Corp. has released five new, official screenshots of the upcoming desert map through a new post on the Nvidia blog.

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