Despite being the game that pioneered and popularised the battle royale shooter, it seems that PUBG: Battlegrounds has increasingly ended up left in the shadow cast by Fortnite’s ridiculous popularity, Lego and Eminem collabs, and big, flashy season changes. It seems that the earlier battle royale game is planning to borrow at least one leaf from its rival’s playbook this year, though.

Unveiling their plans for PUBG’s roadmap in 2024 – which will also mark the seventh anniversary since its release, can you believe it – the game’s devs said they would be focusing on polishing PUBG’s central gameplay loop rather than introducing a separate game mode or similar.

Part of those plans is something that feels straight out of Fortnite: destructible environments. While it won’t quite be to the level of knocking down entire buildings – PUBG’s devs say “sections” will be destructible – the aim is to give players greater options for creating interesting defences and shaking up the situations they find themselves in during matches, having to adapt their strategy on the fly. A teaser image showed a player armed with a pickaxe digging a hole, which isn’t exactly the most exciting example, but we’ll apparently know more in April when the environmental destructible update drops, with future improvements and expansions to come after that.

Speaking of ongoing improvements, tweaks to PUBG’s guns will now arrive every two months, providing a more frequent way of making balance changes and trying to keep the game’s competitive meta fresh, the devs say. Those changes will go live in Arcade mode first, allowing for player feedback before they then roll into Normal and Ranked. Update 28.2 will bring a major SMG Rebalance to Arcade, ahead of a planned rollout to the rest of the game in June. PUBG’s devs added that the SCAR-L and AKM are also on the cards for the future, along with nerfs to unspecified “powerful weapons”.

Elsewhere, the devs say that they will add new items designed around transportation and looting rather than just shooting each other. The team say they’re “exploring” the potential for portable ziplines, following on from the introduction of vehicle vaulting and co-op climbing as expanded movement options in last month’s update.

PUBG | Dev Talk: 2024 Roadmap

Although the updates won’t necessarily introduce entire new modes, there will be a new way to play. The Team vs. Team system will let you and your friends face off against another team across a series of consecutive matches, tracking your respective placements and victories to earn new rewards. There’ll still be some occasional special modes, too, following last Halloween’s PvE offering Survivors Left Behind, which is now planned to receive quarterly updates alongside Team Deathmatch and Intense Battle Royale.

The new updates – particularly the destructible environments – will presumably be helped by a planend shift onto Unreal Engine 5 as a foundation. That underlying change will accompany plans for supporting user-made content, with PUBG’s devs saying they hope to foster “a vibrant, creator-driven ecosystem” as the community adds to its offering.

There’s plenty more in the full roadmap, including the interesting note that over three million cheaters were banned last year – a 33% leap on the 2.4m banned in 2022. That number came through PUBG’s revamped approach to identifying cheaters and cheating tools, including the use of deep learning models to spot aim bots and the like. Those efforts will continue into this year, with PUBG reassuring players that those reported will not be automatically banned straight away, but only after “a comprehensive analysis” has been conducted.

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