PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has earned a chicken dinner of its own by launching out of the Early Access portal for unfinished games and onto “big boy” Steam with its 1.0 update. This jump introduces a number of obvious improvements and subtle polish, but is it enough to call this a “finished” game? Well, I think so, but I asked Brendan Greene, PlayerUnknown himself, just to make sure.
“We get to go to 1.0, which is incredibly exciting,” Greene told GamesBeat. “It’s been a long road. It’s like a milestone — and yeah, we got there.”
And, most important, The PUBG Corporation passed that milestone before the end of 2017, which is something Greene promised earlier this year. In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, he called it a “matter of honor.” Greene kept his word and launched a PUBG with a new, excellent map set in Latin America. It also has improved physics for shooting, traversing, and driving. And, of course, you can now leap over walls and other obstacles. All of that is on top of a slicker, more professional-looking user interface that does a lot to improve the quality-of-life for players.
You can listen to my interview with Greene right here or in the video above:
This is a significant improvement over the Early Access version that players have spent the last several months with, and a big reason for that is because The PUBG Corp switched to a newer version of Unreal in the middle of production. So as it was preparing its 1.0 launch, it focused efforts into improving and optimizing that game while putting fewer resources into a fork of PUBG that it was about to leave behind.
“Pushing the improved game live, which everyone internally was working on, just wasn’t an option because of crashes and stability,” said Greene. “The live version was relatively stable. It’s lacking features, obviously — but it’s stable. And with over 3 million concurrent players, the game on live has to be stable.”
But now the new version is stable, and it does run great. Beyond any additional content or UX shine, PUBG just runs so much better than before. And all of that adds up to a game that looks and feels like it really is finished.
So yeah, that question — is this thing done now? Well, the answer to that is no. Of course not. Greene and his crew are only just getting started.
“This is not the end of development,” said Greene. “Over the next year, we’re going to be polishing the systems and look how we can improve character movement, weather effects, and terrain to really round it out. But with 1.0, it’s about getting to feature complete. We’ve got everything that we said we want into the game. Now, we get a chance to round it out and polish it off.”
And that sounds wonderful to me. I’m already feeling a bit nostalgic for the janky, older version of PUBG that I’ve spent the most time with, but the development team is continually making it better. And if it improves at this pace going forward, I’ll keep chasing those chicken dinners.