Like a sandstorm looming on the horizon, preparing to throw sand in your eyes and fill your mouth with cacti and turn you into a tumbleweed (note: I have never been in a sandstorm so that depiction may not be strictly accurate) PUBG's new desert map is headed our way. But while the map should be here by year's end (we were recently teased with some new images), it's never too early to start getting impatient for the next next PUBG map.
What other settings would we like to see brought to the popular battle royale shooter? Here's a list of my dream locations.
I mean, yeah, PUBG already has a post-apocalypse vibe to it: an island stripped of its population, abandoned buildings, merciless gangs of horn-honkers, and so forth. Something apocalyptic, to some degree, has definitely happened in the world of PUBG, but it can't have been all that cataclysmic. There's still a lot of organization: there must be an entire staff arranging flights and air drops and red-zone bombings, not to mention the dozens of people who stuff the island's buildings with pristine weapons and gear and pants and who carefully park cars before a match.
I'm talking about a proper post-apocalypse, like from Mad Max. Humanity on the brink of extinction. Toxic swamps and mountains of bleached bones and pillars of oily, black smoke. A world where even a sane person would be just like, "Yeah, I'll fight 99 people for the chance at a chicken dinner, it's way better than eating the remains of this inbred mutant warlord I just beat to death with the club made from my father's femur."
A frozen world
Snow is cool in games, but it's usually almost entirely cosmetic. I played the Frostpunk demo recently (speaking of the post-apocalypse), and loved that the snow felt more real than in most games, even though it's a city-builder and not an FPS.
My favorite detail was the way the snow would pile in drifts, and my collection of starving, occasionally cannibalistic workers would have to push their way through it to gather coal and wood. Their shivering bodies would leave grooves through the snow behind them, which would then fill up again as more snow fell. Imagine in PUBG being able to track enemy players through footprints in the frost (as you can in battle royale game The Darwin Project), or spotting a puff of condensation rising from a bush, indicating someone is hiding there. Snow doesn't need to just be pretty, it can actually change the world it falls on.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
"Verticality" gets tossed around a lot when devs talk about maps, though It's not something I myself have felt a strong desire for very often. I prefer to have my enemies aiming at me from as few directions as possible, and it's rare that I find myself thinking, "You know, instead of getting shot in the back of the head, I wish I could get shot in the top of the head."
But fine, let's do it! Let's get vertical. Screw buildings, though, they're frame rate killers: let's just rely on nature. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China is vertical as fuck (don't complain to me about the f-bomb, that's the park's actual tourism slogan). Throw in some of those wobbly rope-n-plank bridges, some ziplines, hang gliders, and maybe a grappling hook, and you've got yourself a beautiful and picturesque place to get shot in the top of the head.
If you're wondering on a map without buildings where you'd find all that great PUBG gear, it's simple. Bird nests.
A lavishly furnished underground missile silo
Prepping for the end of the world is a popular pastime, and no one preps more lavishly than the super rich. Forget backyard bunkers and a few crates of canned meals, the hot ticket for people with gobs of cash is buying decommissioned missile silos that have been transformed into multi-million dollar condominiums.
This is, like, a real thing, apparently. For it to work with PUBG it would need to be a really massive silo, like something from Hugh Howey's Silo books. Instead of a circle closing from the sides, it would close from the top and bottom, forcing players onto a final, specific floor of the silo. Where will this match end? The movie theater? The gym? The nightclub? The golf course? (I assume there will be a golf course down there somewhere.)
A space station—let me finish!—in space
Games have a storied history of worlds built inside rings, from Halo to Planescape to, well, Ringworld. I think some sort of space-station ringworld would be a killer place for PUBG. It being in space and all, I don't see why you couldn't walk off the edge of the ring (while wearing a space suit) and then onto to underside of it and run around down there, too. Space lets you do stuff like that.
Plus, imagine the sniping! Shooting from your location, through outer space, to hit some dude running around on another part of the ring. It also would give you a nice view of the earth during your long minutes spent hiding in a bush and waiting for everyone else to kill each other (this is how I play).
A rat map
When I was a kid there was a company that made oversized items, like a giant pencils. You could buy them and put them in your house. I'm currently struggling to understand why I wanted a giant pencil in my room so much as a kid, but I definitely, definitely did. More than anything, I wanted a giant pencil. I think there's maybe some weird appeal in feeling like you've been hit by a shrink ray and all the tiny things are now huge?
It could explain rat maps. There are lots of them for CS:GO and I recall playing a few in TF2. Why not PUBG? Players would start spread all over the map of the house, fight their way through garages and bathrooms and those areas behind the wall accessed through mouse holes, for a climactic showdown on top of the bureau or under the fridge or among magazines and beer bottles on the coffee table. Winner winner simply enormous chicken dinner.
This is my dream list, so why not Skyrim? Players are dropped (from dragons) onto the map, and must loot weapons and gear (marked in red when it's considered stealing) and then are pursued by a shrinking circle of mudcrabs (or even worse, a shrinking circle of NPCs talking about mudcrabs).
Okay, maybe not actually Skyrim, but a fantasy setting would be a fun place for battle royale. Ruins are more interesting than ruined buildings. Castles are more interesting to loot than warehouses and airplane hangars. Runes carved into stone walls are better than the typical end-of-days graffiti we're used to seeing. And riding horses or wargs is better than driving cars. You can't do sick flips onto houses, but they also don't explode.