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An Interview With PUBG’s Art Director Tae-seok Jang

Author: Gina

We asked PUBG’s Art Director Tae-seok Jang about what must be considered for a Battle Royale game from the pre-design research through to the smallest detail. We also spoke about what the team has learned from building the map Erangel and what it means for the upcoming new desert map.

Q. What would you describe as being the biggest influence on PUBG's overall aesthetic?

A: Erangel is an imaginary island which means there wasn’t one single biggest influence on design. It was a tough challenge. Brendan wanted Erangel to be based somewhere in Eastern Europe. No one in my team had been to Eastern Europe so we spent a lot of time on Google Earth trying to understand the terrains and towns.

I’d say facing this challenge to create an imaginary island was the biggest inspiration and the biggest hurdle. We were trying new things every single day. In late 2016, we did brief field research to get the hang of it.

Q. Lots of buildings feature graffiti on the walls, what was your team's inspiration behind these?

A: Our character artist Taehyun came up with different ideas after looking at some pictures of Eastern Europe. We plan to replace some of the current graffitis with new ones in the future.

Q. The current map has its roots in various eastern European locations, are you basing the new maps on any specific real-life locations?

A: We look at different regions but for the desert map, we are looking at some areas in Mexico for inspiration. We want to create an experience different from Erangel. (Erangel is name of the island.) This is, again, a difficult challenge for us but we wanted to create a whole new experience for our players. We want to continue to take new challenges because that is the spirit of our team.  

Q. Is there anything you learned from making the current map that changed your approach to future map aesthetics?

A: Creating an openworld 8x8km map is already a difficult, hefty challenge. It is large and needs to be populated with tens of thousands of elements. We have to consider many other things. Viewing distance is adjustable so that must be considered. The entire map has to look like it’s full of real-life objects but still present that abandoned look and feel. We also have to consider both high-end and lower-end PC users.

Foliage was a bit of headache and there were many trials and errors. We tried to make a good environment for fair play which is still an ongoing effort.

I believe we still have more to learn but we did learn some important things from the first challenge of creating Erangel. But now, we are facing this new challenge with the new desert map which needs terrains that did not exist in Erangel.

We are currently testing the prototype of the new map and iterating to ensure that it contains the core of Battle Royale. Almost everything will be different from Erangel, look and feel, colours, terrains… but our team is enjoying the whole process.

Q. How do you like your Chicken Dinner?

A: I usually play Squad with my colleagues. But I feel that you have to play Solo to truly understand the beauty of Battle Royale because of how intense it is in Solo. Sometimes I play Solo to experience Battle Royale to the fullest.

When I play Squad with people from our team, we like to be a bit non-violent and be extremely patient in the beginning because we are not the best snipers. We spend a lot of time looting areas with no signs of people and move along the edges of the island. But sometimes, when this gets boring, we just head straight to Pohicki or the Military Base just to get some kills.