Console players are getting the best new PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds map today. Vikendi, the snowy 6-kilometer-by-6-kilometer mountainous landscape, hit PC in December. It is launching on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 right now. And console players should get excited because Vikendi is everything you want from a battle royale map.
One of the best things about a battle royale is creating attachments to the locations in its world. I have memories of fights throughout PUBG’s original Erangel map. Every time I would return to Zharki, for example, I would recall how I stalked someone through the barn and then took a car down the coast. But Vikendi is special because developer The PUBG Corporation has made it easier than ever to form those attachments.
A real place
Vikendi is so memorable because it feels like a real place. And that comes down to its excellent art direction. The map has a ski-resort theme in general, but nothing about it is generic. Instead, each hamlet has its own look and design. One area might include a small town with homes and a church, while another part of the map includes a dinosaur theme park.
But even in similar spaces, Vikendi has a lot of character. One cottage that isn’t far from the theme park has a stone fence around the edges of its property. It also has a row of derelict cars parked alongside that barrier that you can hide between to ambush someone coming out of the house. And no other Vikendi cottage feels much like it. That’s not just because it has a unique layout. PUBG Corp and art director Dave Curd put a lot of emphasis on visual details.
Gone are the cookie-cutter buildings from earlier PUBG maps. In its place, you get many more bespoke dwellings. That means both unique layouts for a home, but it also means that the snow on the roof looks different than other buildings as well.
I’m bonding with Vikendi’s spaces faster than I ever have with other battle royale maps. And I think that’s a direct result of The PUBG Corporation’s experience. The studio gets a lot of things wrong when it comes to running this game, but it also has a deep understanding of what makes this genre work. It is putting its efforts into creating a memorable world because it knows that is one of the reasons that people keep coming back.
And you should come back to check it out if you’re on PS4 or Xbox One.