PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has gone from the biggest video game in the world to an afterthought. The publisher behind the series is looking to change that.
A new PUBG game has been announced in PUBG: New State. The mobile shooter looks to be taking the franchise in a new direction, with faster gameplay mechanics and a more modern edge to its environments than the rundown Cold War-era locales of the original PUBG.
A trailer dropped to show off what fans can look forward to from PUBG: New State:
“Coming in 2021, players will be able to drop in and explore a new map that expands the lore, experience graphics that push the limits of mobile gaming, master the best and most dynamic gunplay on the market, and enjoy next generation survival features that evolve the battlegrounds,” the description reads.
The trailer shows more fast-paced gameplay with a run-and-gun style more similar to modern battle royale titles such as Call of Duty Warzone and Apex Legends. This is quite different from the previous entries in the PUBG series, which were slower and more focused on tactics and positioning.
It also teases a big shift in terms of the playing environments of PUBG. PUBG’s lore revolves around war-torn areas that have been abandoned for decades and the environments, weapons, and vehicles all reflect that. By comparison, PUBG: New State has a number of modern and even futuristic touches, with glowing motorcycles and vehicles reminscent of Cybertrucks. A deployable barricade was also shown, with a shield being erected in front of players as a means of providing cover in an instant, something commonly seen in Warzone.
PUBG: New State is available for pre-order on Android devices. The game’s official Twitter account says that iOS users will be able to pre-purchase the game “at a later date.”
One of the most interesting aspects to PUBG: New State is that it doesn’t seem to involve Tencent. The game is listed as “the latest title by KRAFTON, Inc. and PUBG Studio,” with no mention of Tencent anywhere.
Tencent, a massive Chinese tech conglomerate, developed and launched all mobile versions of PUBG in the past, including the wildly successful PUBG Mobile. PUBG Mobile boasted tens of millions of active players and was popular to the point where it was a hot-button issue across parts of Asia, particularly India.
Over the last year, governments around the world have become leery of mobile apps made in China. The most notable example was former United States President Donald Trump’s attempt to either ban social media platform TikTok or force it to be sold to an American company, all due to alleged cybersecurity concerns. Tencent’s own app WeChat also came under fire during that time. Courts have since struck down the ruling as a potential violation of freedom of speech. Tencent also allegedly plays an active role in human rights abuses in China, according to advocacy groups.
Late last year, heightened tensions between India and China led to a slew of mobile games being banned in the country, including PUBG Mobile. Though Tencent remains one of the world’s largest mobile game developers, increased scrutiny of the company may be prompting PUBG’s publishers to create their mobile version of the game.
As of this writing, PUBG Mobile remains banned in India due to its development by LightSpeed and Quantum Studios, a subsidiary of Chinese tech company Tencent. The game was banned as part of an effort to purge Chinese apps from stores in the country. PUBG’s publisher has been looking to launch a new version of the game, developed outside of China.
It is unclear whether development of a retooled PUBG Mobile is underway, or if the PUBG: New State is meant to be the game’s replacement.
PUBG: New State is “coming in 2021.” No exact release date has been given, but the game is available for preorder on Android devices.