Having dominated PC for months it's time to see if PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds can match that success on Xbox One. As the game launches on Microsoft's console we speak to creative director Brendan Greene, and Bluehole CEO/executive producer Chang Han Kim about bringing the PC hit to Xbox One.
OXM: For Xbox owners who somehow haven’t heard of PUBG, what do you think makes it so popular?
Brendan Greene: Well for me it’s a very simple concept: it’s land, loot and survive. There’s not much to it, but what I think separates it from other shooters is that every single round is unique. You never know what you’re going to come across in regards to weapons or items, you never really know where the zone’s going to finish.
OXM: You’ve been testing first-person servers recently – are they coming to Xbox as well?
BG: Hopefully in the future, yeah, but at launch we won’t have them, we’ll only have third-person servers, just because we want to focus on getting the game stable, getting the server system stable. We still want to add first-person servers to the Xbox of course, but right now we kind of want of focus on the build.
OXM: Have you had to make any changes specifically for the fact players will be using Xbox controllers?
BG: The guys have been really great at getting the inventory and weapons systems mapped to the controller, so much so that most people I’ve talked to say it feels really natural, and they’ve done a really good job. Now of course we’ll have to work with the community, and it’s why we’re doing Game Preview, as it allows us to work with real players and get their feedback on how the controls feel.
OXM: PC players get updates all the time. Can Xbox One players expect the same kind of thing?
Chang Han Kim: Yes, we see Xbox Game Preview very much like Early Access on Steam, so we are trying to evolve the game more with the feedback of the users. We want to push out as many updates as we can, but it’s very difficult to do frequent updates when it comes to the console platform, so on this we’re currently consulting with the Xbox team on how to make this happen more quickly.
OXM: Fans are understandably excited about the new maps. Will these be coming to Xbox One as well, around the same time as on PC?
BG: We’re going to be showcasing the new desert map on the PC 1.0 version first, and it will eventually come to the Xbox version but we’ve no timeline as to when that might happen yet.
OXM: What other updates and changes do you have planned for the near future? Is there anything you really want to add?
BG: No, I mean with the PC 1.0 release, we feel that the game is kind of feature complete at that stage – you know, we’ll have the vaulting in (vaulting will also be coming to the Xbox Game Preview version at launch) and we have our 3D replay version that we’re working on. And once that’s added to the system along with real bullet ballistics and penetration, that’s kind of where we see the game being feature complete. After that we’re not going to finish development, we see it as a kind of permanent beta which we’ll also we be improving, tuning and upgrading the game over the coming years.
OXM: Do you have any really cool ideas that you’d like to include further down the road?
BG: Just some really obvious things, like character levelling systems and stuff like that to give a bit more depth to the character system. Apart from that it’s really just that we want to focus on optimising and upgrading the game over the coming years. I always look at it like CS:GO, you know? Dust is on its fourth version, right? So I’m hoping that in the next five to ten years, Erangel will be on its fourth version and we’re constantly going back and improving and updating it.
OXM: One of the things you announced at Gamescom was a loot-box style system for unlocking outfits. There was quite a fan backlash – how did that make you feel?
BG: I honestly feel that having a strong skin economy is really good for the game going forward. These are cosmetic items, it’s an optional system. We really believe that in order to maintain the servers and give ourselves a revenue stream over the coming five to ten years where we plan to support PUBG, we need some kind of ongoing revenue stream. We feel that cosmetic loot boxes are the way to do this.
The full version of this interview originally appeared in Xbox: The Official Magazine. For more great Xbox coverage, you can subscribe here.