One of the surprise packets of the past 12 months will be making the jump to console, with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds confirmed during Microsoft’s E3 2017 press briefing to be coming to Xbox One.
That’s exciting in and of itself, with the survival-multiplayer shooter generating plenty of buzz and establishing itself as one of the premier shooters on the market today.
With the announcement came queries as to the game’s cross-play functionality, with Microsoft and Xbox opening the door to the feature, namely with Minecraft across multiple platforms.
Speaking with VG24/7, executive producer, Chang Han Kim, said bringing the game to Xbox One X in late 2017 could see the kickstart of cross-play between that version at the PC version.
“Cross network play between the PC and the console is definitely something we want to do down the road, and we don’t anticipate we’ll have any technical issues with that,” he said.
From a purely technical standpoint, making it work isn’t so much the issue as balancing is. It’s clear that the issue isn’t related to connecting players across PC and Xbox One, but is more so related to how players can compete and play together across mouse and controller.
We’ve seen games like Overwatch actively avoid cross-play talk due to the significant difference in experience between PC and console versions, and the same issue would persist in any cross-play application for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
“When you consider the competitive side of the game, I do feel that there’s a balance issue between controllers and keyboard and mouse,” Kim said. He admitted that the challenge for the team was finding a balance there, as it was the only thing stopping them from supporting cross-play from the moment the game hits Xbox One X.
So how exactly could they work around this? One would imagine it would take a lot of testing and balancing to get it right so that the accuracy offered by a mouse is consistent next to what a controller offers for Xbox players.
“If we’re going to allow players to use controllers we need to have the aim assist added in and things like that,” Kim explained. “We’re not going to be supporting it right away, but it’s something we’d like to look into later.”
It’ll certainly be interesting to see how the team manages this problem.