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PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

The Vehicles of the New 'PUBG' Map Highlight the Power of Personal Touches

Three new vehicles on the desert map show how flavor can help the multiplayer game grow.

Cameron Kunzelman

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ test server, normally the place of the hardest core elite, is currently the only place where you can play the brand-new desert map, Miramar, that Breakfast and Battlegrounds explored this week. Like many people, I downloaded the client and became an unofficial tester all in the name of getting a little experience at the wide world of Wild West murder simulation.

The first exploration of a new map is learning how to survive, but the second one is learning how to get around the map in style, and my god, this new desert map is the real deal, especially when it comes to driving around in cool cars and hollering your head off. While the motorcycles (both with and without sidecar), the buggy, and the standard boat all make appearances, the new vehicles bring some much-needed personal polish to PUBG.

First, there’s a pickup truck. Conservatively, 10 percent of my childhood was spent in the back of a pickup truck. In the rural South, it is the appropriate way to travel down the street, make your way to a convenience store, or to just transport more than three people to any general location. So you cannot believe my excitement when my duo companion was able to jump in the back of my pickup as we attempted to flee our assailants. Mechanically, the truck isn’t much different from the already-existing UAZ, but from a flavor angle, the ability to hop on in the back with your friends and tear down the long desert highway is one of the most thrilling ephemeral actions you can perform in a game.

Second, there’s the Bronco. While I’ve seen this vehicle called a “closed top pickup,” anyone who has ever sat in a pickup or a Bronco knows exactly the kind of Dukes of Hazzard stuff you can get up to in the latter that would never fly in the former. It is a pure failure of game design that jangling chase music doesn’t start playing every time you get in one of these. As a bonus, both the Bronco and the pickup handle like utter garbage, accurately simulating an attempt to drive any vehicle that was popular in the American South between 1977 and 2002.

Finally, there’s the bus, a kind of 1960s, Woodstock-style, Volkswagen throwback that can seat you and five of your closest PUBG-playing friends. It moves slowly, its horn beeps loudly, and you can see its bright red, orange, or blue colors from approximately two kilometers away. This is a vehicle for having fun in, not something to work into your strategy. It’s only a party bus (and I demand that everyone refer to it by that name), but it adds humor to the game, which pulls a lot of its fun from the thrill of driving.

There are more vehicles incoming, including a jetski, but these three new additions have brought so much light into my life that it feels like PUBG has barely been a game up to this point. With the combatic baselines all laid out in a serious way, the devs on PUBG can now start focusing on the personality and uniqueness of their settings and paintball arena-like worlds. Bring on more weird regionalisms and cultural touchstones, please.