PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, a title that caused the battle royale boom that’s still relevant today, has been doing fairly well for itself lately. After numerous issues before and after launch, PUBG Corp has settled into a groove with its seasonal cycle. Season 4 started recently with a remaster of Erangel among other new features.
But whatever happened to the team’s weekly update cycle? Speaking to PCGamesN, studio director Brian Corrigan talked about how the development team initially aimed for the same before settling into something more stable. “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.
“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.”
As such, both titles fulfill different purposes in today’s market. Corrigan notes that, “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.” PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds earned $310 million in revenue last year so it’s clearly catering to its audience.
Corrigan isn’t above taking aspects from other games that could work for his studio’s title. At the end day though, PUBG’s formula is “unique.” “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.”
The development team is working on improving its communication with players. Corrigan believes the change is already visible. “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 is currently available for Xbox One, PS4, PC, iOS, and Android.