PUBG – Vikendi Developer Q&A
Hi, my name is Tae Hyun Kim, PUBG’s Character Art Director.
Hello, I’m Tae Hyun Kim, Head of the Art Department.
The name Vikendi was inspired by the Czech word for “weekend.”
And we were looking forward to having players play hard on Vikendi on weekends.
At PUBG, one of the employee welfare benefits we have is the incentive travel program,
and so our whole World Art team was able to visit Europe for research purposes.
From the visit, all of our artists had a chance to see the environment with their own eyes, experience it, and feel it.
Direct experience makes for the best research material, and that’s why we made the trip.
I think a lot of the inspiration we received there were used and absorbed into this map.
While in Europe, we were headed to this countryside area.
And on the way, there was a forest, where we saw an actual Dino Park next to it.
We never thought we’d see such a thing in reality, but after seeing it for real, it was just a refreshing surprise.
Returning home, we thought and decided that, “this should really be in Vikendi,”
and it turned out to be an awesome-looking area, currently a place that players enjoy and spend a lot of time in.
With the speedy combat you can expect from the 4×4-sized Sanhok,
and the moderately-paced survival and explorative elements you can expect from Erangel
you can say that we combined the two into one here.
There was a divide of players who enjoy one or the other map,
so I think, composition-wise, a 6×6-sized map was the optimal choice.
Next to Slovenia, you can see the Alps of Switzerland.
When we saw that, it was so magnificent
that we thought Vikendi should have a mountain like that next to it.
So as we actually put that in, we hoped it might spark players’ imagination.
For a story they can imagine behind it.
The size of the early blue zones is small, but the speed of the zone is that much slower, and the wait time that much longer.
We tried to focus our development behind Vikendi,
as previously mentioned, on survival and exploration,
and let players in early-game enough time to loot, explore new areas, and enjoy Vikendi as much as they can.
It’s not that we won’t change this,
but we’ll continue to gather feedback and make necessary improvements,
so we would love if you keep giving us that feedback.
They’re giving us tricky questions!
I think it’s between 10 or 20 degrees below zero.
Since the water is frozen, it’s definitely below zero…
It’s just, really cold.
– Oh, really?
– It is?
To be perfectly honest, we weren’t aware of that.
Does sound not travel very far when inside a snowstorm?
I’ve used and shot rifles many times while serving in the military but,
as I’ve never shot one while in a snowstorm, I’m not sure.
Gameplay can be more important than for it to be too realistic,
but we’ll take it into consideration and think about it.
In the game, it’s set to last for around ten minutes.
When we first tested it out, we set it to around three minutes,
but when we actually played the game, the tracks disappeared too quickly,
and made tracking difficult and inefficient.
Of course, more snowfall means deeper snow,
and for footsteps to disappear faster. That would be more realistic.
But it would’ve been a difficult rule to follow in-game,
so we decided to keep it at ten minutes for now.
For that, we have to consider a lot of things, like how much it will change gameplay, and affect performance.
All of our developers must think hard on this, so we cannot say for sure if it can be done or not.
It’s also because this would hinder sight for a long time, for as long as you’re surviving in a match.
That players cannot see properly for an extended amount of time can cause frustration,
and it’s not just sight, but in a snowstorm, you won’t be able to hear so well.
It can become an uncomfortable experience, so I think we’d have to think more on this issue carefully.
That would be so cool.
Maybe we should have one.
Wouldn’t it cause performance issues?
And you could die out of nowhere.
We were concerned if we include these elements,
it may negatively affect PUBG’s core gameplay mechanics,
so we decided to exclude those elements.
If we feel this needs to be added, we’ll have to test it out, develop it more, and make improvements from there.
In some ways, the Level 3 Helmet has now become an iconic item that represents our game.
We wanted to give a chance for all players to be able to acquire and use this item.
You know, the only players who can successfully loot Air Drops are really skilled, and we found it inevitably restrictive.
I think this caused an imbalance among players.
About the Level 3 Helmet, we’ve been receiving many different
and mixed opinions from players of different skill levels.
Releasing Vikendi, our aim for this map was for players to experience that same feeling they did when they first played PUBG.
A Level 3 Helmet will always spawn somewhere, and there’s this hope that you’ll get to loot it at some point.
We wanted to give them this to look forward to.
If Sanhok is a map where you can get into firefights quickly, and enjoy dynamic gunplay,
Vikendi is a map where you mainly focus on and enjoy looting, exploring, and surviving.
That is what I think the intention was behind it.
There should be a lot of SMGs and Shotguns, and then AR, DMR, and SR,
in order from highest to lowest in spawn rate.
When we first discussed item balance on Vikendi, our main intention was
for Vikendi to spawn more loot than Erangel but less than Sanhok, and it should be somewhere in between.
If you play on Sanhok, 4 out of 5 times, you’re likely to get some good loot.
If you aren’t so lucky, you might not get any good loot in even one match. That’s Sanhok.
In Erangel, 1 out of 5 times, you’d be lucky to get good loot,
and in the other 4 times, you won’t get anything good. That’s how it is now.
But in Vikendi, 3 out of 5 times, we ensure you’ll get good loot.
The other 2 times, you’ll be fighting with SMGs. That’s how it’s balanced now.
We tried to find a balance for both the types who hide inside a building,
and the types who aggressively fight out in the open.
I’d say it differs depending on the theme?
I think the experience of battle is always different each match.
There’s always something different, and I look forward to that every time.
We do have plans but we cannot talk about all of them here…
We would be grateful if you continue to keep an eye out for
upcoming community announcements and patch notes.
There are many special features that are exclusive to Vikendi,
such as footsteps, tire tracks, and so many others.
We’re actually holding a lot of discussion about these areas, and if we can add them to our other maps.
We’d need to take a deeper look and discuss, on what features would make the gameplay unique, and make it more fun.
Most of the opinions provided by players of various communities have either been discussed by developers or are currently being discussed.
We are also players ourselves.
We’re looking forward for more changes to be made to PUBG as well,
and for more fun elements to be added.
It did get better.
We always read comments made by our players.
Feedback like, “the map is beautiful,” “it’s gorgeous, and “it’s designed well” – we do feel proud seeing these.
As we were creating Vikendi, we had to think a lot about how to make the snow environment feel realistic.
How to visually demonstrate fog in the snow, scattered light in this environment, and the chilly mist rising from the snowy ground…
The graphics engineering team, contents engineering team, and so many other teams came together to help create this map,
and that’s why these many features were possible.
We plan to continue making improvements so that our players can keep having fun and unique experiences with our game.
We just want our players to know that, as of right now, we are making great efforts to create a distinctive gaming experience in Vikendi.
We usually play in a squad together.
From the moment we jump from the plane, we try to avoid where other players land.
In the Early Access days, we were the kings.
We would kill everybody, and get chicken dinners all the time.
But now that so many play so well,
we just tend to avoid engagements as much as possible.
It is an honor to have this chance to respond to feedback from our players.
If you have any more feedback, we will try to answer as completely as possible, the next chance we have.
Vikendi is now open, so we hope you’ll play often, and get to love it, and enjoy it to the fullest.