Fortnite is a massively successful game, but that success came at a price. Its frantic pace of updates keeps players engaged but it also reportedly keeps employees locked in a state of brutal crunch to keep up with the demand for a constant flow of new content. In an interview with PCGamesN, PUBG Corp studio director Brian Corrigan said that the team actually took a shot at maintaining a similar pace with the PUBG update schedule, but found that it just couldn't keep it up.
"Last fall—and I said this before, publicly—but we were trying for this weekly update cadence. And it was one of those things where a bunch of us were like, look, we want to improve things as fast as possible. There’s some stuff that drives us crazy as players, and who’s going to fix it? Us! We’re the developers, we’ve got to go fix it, just because we ourselves want to play the fixed version," Corrigan said.
"So we tried to crank out these patches on a weekly cycle last year, and it just really didn’t work out. If you’ve been on this side of game development before, that’s a pretty hard pace to keep to. So we slowed it down a little this year, and we’ve been doing smaller patches every month, and a bigger season schedule."
Corrigan doesn't see that as a problem, though, because he considers PUBG and Fortnite to be very different sorts of games. "We have a more high-intensity competitive game, we’ve got a functional esports program that we’re putting a lot of time into right now," he said.
"If there’s pieces [of Fortnite] that work for us, that’s great, because we should learn from the best teachers across a lot of different games, but our formula is unique. That’s something we understand, and we have to always remember: this PUBG formula is unique, there really is nothing else out there like it."
While PUBG Corp is no longer trying to keep up with Epic's breakneck pace, Corrigan said the studio wants to do a better job of communicating with its players what it's actually getting up to—and that members of the community are already "seeing a different voice of the company this year."
"There’s a thing in design development that nobody wants design by committee, because usually you get the lowest common denominator of everything, and that’s not a good idea. But you also want to share intent, I guess, and explain why things sometimes are the way they are," he said.
"Hopefully people are seeing us do a bit of a better job on that—this year we’ve started to do more detailed patch notes, we started to have these dev letters coming out. Some of us, including me, are trying to do more community podcasts and interviews, things like that, and just, you know, tell people, 'We're human, and we care about the game as much as you'."
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds set up its fourth season last week with a surprise story trailer, something we haven't seen in PUBG previously but will likely encounter more of in the future.
Corrigan said the developers "have all these stories that we want to tell," and that "this is the first little nip of what we’re planning. Definitely keep an eye out for a lot more in the future."