How PUBG's Newest, Largest Battleground Learned from the Smallest Map

The newest map to join the PUBG: Battlegrounds lineup is Deston, and it just so happens to be the largest map the developers have ever created. In addition to being the largest, the 8x8 map is also the "tallest and densest map the game has ever seen. Filled with different environments like plains, swamps, and urban settings, it certainly looks like a vast map on paper which might make it even more surprising to learn how the team looked to the game's smallest map, Haven, in order to craft the biggest one.

These 8x8 maps are quite popular with PUBG players, and when creating these maps, PUBG creative director Dave Curd told varied terrain types and plentiful engage opportunities are key components as are ways for players to interact with the map via explorable locations and new mechanics. For Deston in particular, Curd said the team sought a sweet spot between gameplay and the idea that you're in a real-life location.

"With Deston, we really tried to find that sweet spot between fun gameplay and feeling like you're in a real-life place," Curd said. "Full sized buildings, but fewer places to go inside them. Real-world attractions like a golf course and BMX track but still keeping strategic sight lines at the forefront of design."

Haven, a tiny 1x1 map, isn't the only map to feature large buildings, but it's certainly the one best known for it. Curd regarded that small battleground as the first go at this sort of idea with learnings from that one applied to creating the experience on a larger scale.

"This partially flooded, futuristic megacity was built using feedback we received from Haven and the learnings from creating large buildings on other maps" Curd said. "Haven was our first swing at the idea, and I think it gave us a lot of key learnings. The biggest, being it's better to focus/limit the gameplay inside these massive structures, than to offer a totally open, realistic experience. We've learned players need a little funneling – if not the entire encounter turns into near misses and unfriendly surprises."

Some of that necessary funneling mentioned above manifests itself in the buildings found on the Deston map which, unlike those on Haven, are not able to be explored floor by floor. That setup led to many places where players could be and therefore limited encounters despite the small size of the map. Deston looks to resolve that issue by making some floors inaccessible while still providing key points throughout the buildings for players to gain an advantage.

"We listened carefully to all your feedback and analyzed the data from playing Haven," Curd said. "For example, on Haven and Miramar, every room of every floor of the high-rise buildings were traversable, making it difficult for players to find one another. So, in order to keep our Deston cities big without adding stress to combat situations, players will be able to access the ground floor, top floor, and some special areas like sniper nests."

But in such a dense environment like this filled with buildings and sniper nests, what about camping tendencies? When asked about that frustrating tactic, Curd pointed to the multiple playstyles embraced by Deston's diverse layout and suggested that should players find themselves in an advantageous spot while the Blue Zone moves in their favor, that's strategy being employed as opposed to simply camping.

"If players find themselves in an advantageous position in one of the dense urban areas with the Blue Zone, then I consider that strategic positioning instead of 'camping,'" Curd said. "We've always considered PUBG: Battlegrounds to be about survival and not a giant deathmatch map with a constant circle closing in around players."

PUBG's new Deston map is live now on the PC platform and will come to consoles on July 21st.