PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is expanding its horizons once again with a public reveal of its development roadmap for 2018. These changes will aim at optimizing the game even further, as well as providing exciting additional content and important updates to the existing game. Despite the ever-rising popularity of fellow battle royal games such as Fortnite and Darwin Project, the dedicated team at Bluehole clearly remain confident that its game is not only still alive, but still growing and improving.

In the realm of new content, the first order of business is mentioning the “Experimental Test Server,” which will debut with a new, 4x4km map. The goal of the smaller map (which is half the size of PUBG’s existing two maps) is to have “a higher player density and shorter matches.” I suspect this map is a reaction to Fortnite’s smaller map, quicker matches, and faster gameplay, which has become so popular. Though only a concept image is available at the time, the dense, forest area with high-peaking mountains, split into thirds by a wailing river, looks rather exciting. Aside from the map, the ETS will be a place where players can test new content that may never see its way into the actual game, but few details are available beyond this.

Moving on from the new server and map, an Emote System has undergone testing, and players will be able to give the new gestures a try on the Test Server “very soon.” Non-verbal communication is a useful tool, especially if some players don’t have microphones, or other cases of language barriers. Both of these can be circumvented by emotes and gestures. Besides, doing a “clap and dance” emote after getting a 900m headshot wouldn’t be bad, either.

New game modes, vehicles, and weapons are also mentioned, though very briefly. A teaser image of a future weapon is also included, which has “Rifle 7.62” engraved on the side. Some fans suspect that the gun may be an FN FAL. Though the only thing that can be confirmed is that it will use 7.62 rounds. An in-game achievement system is also being tested.

In the vein of gameplay optimization, PUBG aims to improve bullet penetration for limbs and vehicles, as well as overhauling the parachute system and animations for both first- and third-person game modes. All of these changes are to make the game a “smoother and more reactive” experience. Sound will be improved, specifically weather, vehicle and breathing sounds.

Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene made specific comments on the state of the game, along with plans for stability, optimization, and security.

“We are continuing our daily work to combat cheaters, improve server stability and further optimize our servers and clients,” Greene said. “Our goal is to continuously improve in this regard. Due to the sensitive nature of this subject and to maximize the impact we can have, I won’t be able to go into specific plans. However, we’re planning to keep you more up-to-date about our efforts as we have major victories to share.”

If all of this isn’t good enough, PUBG has one more surprise in store for you. Again, the details are few, but in addition to a 4x4km map, an all-new, full-sized 8x8km is also in the works. All that is said about the matter is, “Another new map that we’re working on is planned to be 8x8km in size.”

All in all, these changes are exciting, and most importantly, impending. Much needed improvements in terms of security and optimization are being attended to, and it’s always good to know new content is in the works. The addition of Miramar to the base game brought me right back into the fun, making it feel like a whole new experience again. Many months ago, while PUBG was still in early access, a massive update went live on the main server, which greatly improved and optimized the game, more specifically the character and weapon animations. Sound was also improved, but the animation overhaul breathed life into the game in a way that I never thought possible. I have suspicion that this roadmap, and the hazy details outlined by Greene, are going to do just the same as that update way back when.

The full blog post can be found here.