PUBG Mobile has managed to become one of the most popular — and lucrative — games in the world by adapting the battle royale genre in ways that make sense for a smartphone. It still mostly feels like regular PUBG but in a version you can slip in your pocket. Now the development team is taking that philosophy a step further by introducing a new, smaller map designed explicitly for playing quick matches on the go. “We want more people to enjoy PUBG Mobile in a more flexible way,” producer Rick Li tells The Verge.
The new map is called Livik, and it’s the first the team has created specifically for the mobile game. It’s small, measuring at two kilometers by two kilometers, and matches only support a maximum of 40 players at a time. The idea was to create a space where matches could be played quickly; according to the developers, games on Livik last around 15 minutes each. Li says the map was inspired by players who wanted the option to squeeze in a quick match whenever they had the time. “The initiative for this map is bringing more flexibility to those players who have tighter schedules and circumstances to accommodate for,” he explains.
Livik is based on Nordic terrain, and despite its small scale, it’s full of lots of points of interest, including a volcano, hot spring, waterfall, and others. Li says that the design process wasn’t just about shrinking down the map, but also adding in plenty of interactive elements that would lead to faster-paced matches. The waterfalls, in particular, are expected to really change the way players approach the battle royale game.
“The waterfalls around the map will provide unique interactions with the player not available on other maps,” Li says. “The characteristic of the waterfall is the real physical impact of the water flow. Players might even get washed away by rapid water flow when standing on the top of the waterfall. You can also prep with new surprise tactics, such as launching a motorboat off the top of a waterfall to the water below on an unsuspecting team. That is something we’re really excited to see and we believe we can bring the most realistic battlefield experience to our players by constantly innovating while also keeping true to our core battle royale gameplay.”
The developers haven’t said when Livik will launch, only that it’ll be available “soon.” But its existence is a good indicator of the philosophy that has driven PUBG Mobile’s success. Whereas Fortnite offers largely the same experience whether you’re on an expensive PC or a low-end smartphone, PUBG has adapted to different platforms. The core experience remains the same on PC and console, while the mobile iteration continues to experiment with the formula. That said, while Livik is exclusive to mobile right now, that doesn’t mean its fast-paced gameplay won’t make its way to other platforms eventually.
“Of course, we are always here to listen to players’ feedback,” says Li. “More innovations shall be coming and let’s see what will happen in the future.”