PUBG's latest patch adds an Apex Legends-style respawn system

(Image credit: PUBG Corporation)

Battle royales have come a long way since PUBG's initial release in 2017, with each new release attempting quality-of-life improvements to iron out pain points in the genre. Dying in group play has always been a design challenge: while it's fun to cheer on your friends from the sidelines, you'll be left twiddling your thumbs while they run, gun, and scavenge. 

Apex Legends tackled this sore spot via a respawn beacon, and PUBG is following its example in update 23.2. Death boxes—self–descriptive containers that drop upon death—will now contain Blue Chips on the maps Erangel, Miramar, and Deston.

Once you've swiped a Blue Chip, you'll need to either take it to a Blue Chip Tower— generators spread throughout the map—or use a Blue Chip Transmitter, which can be obtained during play. Doing so takes 10 seconds, during which you'll be completely immobile and vulnerable.

There's no stealthy way to pull this off: both the tower and transmitter produce a loud noise that will let your enemies know you're trying to replenish your ranks. The idea is to preserve the impact of death that's core to the battle royale experience while providing a sliver of hope for lone survivors. 

The system has a few other limitations. Firstly, the Blue Chip system is limited to larger maps, as it's designed to curb frustrating early deaths in longer games. It also becomes unavailable after Phase 7, so there'll be no surprise deployments ruining the last few minutes of a match. Additionally, it's not an immediate resurrection, you'll have to wait for your friends to drop in at the start of a new phase.

This isn't the first return system PUBG's attempted. Comeback BR, introduced in update 12.2, is a map–specific system that drops players into a second arena to fight for their lives again, as long as they can duke it out for long enough. It'll still be present in this update, just limited to smaller maps according to the dev statement: "But why limit it to Erangel, Miramar, and Deston? Smaller maps have shorter play times, making it faster to start a new game upon death. And we've decided to add the Recall system exclusively to maps without the existing Comeback BR."

The patch also includes a map icon for recently–exited vehicles, updates to the Down But Not Out mechanic, and a long–awaited clan system with its own progression system and rewards. Update 23.2 is scheduled to drop on  May 16/17 for PC and May 24/25 on consoles. 

Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.