PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is bringing 2020 to a close with its upcoming 10th season. Season 10 of PUBG will feature a brand new map called Haven, which has AI enemies, and is the smallest map the game has ever had. But according to Dave Curd, PUBG’s creative director, small isn’t the direction the team is looking to move in 2021. In fact, PUBG’s maps might get bigger than ever next year.
In a recent interview with Polygon, Curd, who recently took over the role of creative director on PUBG from Brendan Greene, explained that 2020 was a year of experimenting for the PUBG team.
“2020 has been kind of all about experimentation,” Curd explained. “You don’t want to try wild stuff on an 8-by-8 square kilometer map. They take a year to make. So this has been a year of trying the stuff we always wondered and [have] always been curious about.”
These experiments came mostly in the form of smaller maps. Karakin, which was released in early 2020 and introduced destructible environments to the game was just 2 km by 2 km. Meanwhile, Haven the latest map is only 1-by-1. While this year’s maps introduced new and interesting mechanics, they may not have been what everyone was expecting given the size of some of PUBG’s first few maps.
For Curd, part of what these experiments have helped teach him and the studio is that PUBG is a survival game at its core, and the most interesting survival phases often happen on big maps, since there is more downtime for players to loot and explore.
One of the ways that the PUBG team can highlight this survival element is by building larger maps, Curd said.
“That’s where PUBG separates itself from all the other great games out there is the downtime. The tension between the survival phase and the gunfights,” said Curd. “Whether you guys are kind of getting into shenanigans and doing bike jumps, or kind of stoically looting a field in the middle of nowhere. Larger worlds is what provides that.”
As for what exactly “larger” means, Curd had some thoughts on that too.
“I think that Erangel/Miramar 8-by-8, perhaps even larger, that seems to really be the sweet spot. So that’s something that we’re really looking forward to bringing back to players next year.”
The prospect of even bigger maps showing up next year should be exciting news for most PUBG players, especially those who first fell in love with the game exploring Erangel in the quiet moments between shootouts. Unfortunately, Curd wasn’t able to get into the specifics of what these maps could look like, or when they might be released, but whenever they arrive, it seems like 2021 will be a big year for PUBG ... and its maps.