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PUBG Mobile’s latest update adds a new adversary: Mother nature

Tencent’s new mode brings survival elements back into battle royale

Video gaming
This article originally appeared on ABACUS

Across the globe, fans are eagerly anticipating Game of Thrones’ upcoming final season in April. Meanwhile, in another dimension, winter is coming to PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, as well. 

Tencent recently updated PUBG Mobile a couple days ago with a new “innovation factory” option, under which players can find “extreme cold mode.”

PUBG, the battle royale pioneer

In this mode, snipers in ghillie suits will no longer be your only concern. You’ll also have to fight against mother nature in an effort to keep yourself warm before you die of hypothermia.

With the same map as the Vikendi snowfield in classic mode, “extreme cold” features deadly storms that hit the whole battlefield every five minutes. Players must collect wooden branches and set up bonfires to survive the storms, which last for 90 seconds each.

Without any source of warmth, a player will die within the first thirty seconds anywhere on the map (seeking shelter indoors makes no difference).

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to keep you from freezing to death. The wooden branches available each offer 15 seconds of fire.

Hunting animals to cook can keep you warm, too. Deer and chicken, which are exclusive to this mode, can be seen wandering around buildings and fields.

When you’re ready for your meal, kill the animals with two or three bullets, pick up the raw meat and make yourself some tasty barbecue over a bonfire. The meat can’t boost your health, but at least it will keep you from freezing to death when you run out of branches.

Among players, the idea of barbecue is welcome: “Chicken dinner isn’t just for winners anymore,” one person commented on the game’s official WeChat account.

When you’ve run out of other resources and are desperate for heat, red “emergency heat patches” can boost your body temperature for 30 seconds. They’re not as readily available as animals and branches, though.

“Even more rare than signal guns.” Use those heat patches sparingly! (Picture: Tencent)

This is the first time PUBG Mobile has brought in a temperature component to the game. It’s a refreshing and entertaining addition to the classic gameplay, but some details in this mode are counterintuitive.

For example, when the storm hits, it causes the same damage to you whether you’re indoors or outdoors, or wearing thick or thin clothes.

Another quirk is the place called “Hot Springs” in the bottom-right corner of the map. With a name like that, I thought it’d be nice to ward off the cold by bathing in some hot water. It turns out I was wrong. I guess the Hot Springs aren’t so hot, after all.

It’s also peculiar that the deer and chicken never run away when you’re shooting at them. Some even walk straight into your building. But hey, easy barbecue!

When it comes to special modes, Tencent has never been short of ideas for PUBG Mobile. Last month, the game had a crossover with Resident Evil. Ahead of this past Chinese New Year, the company added a legendary beast called Nian (same as the Chinese word for “year”) that is said to come out and hunt kids on Lunar New Year’s Eve.
Why does the Nian look like a small, red Godzilla? (Picture: Tencent)

During Christmas season last year, players might have run across a tiny Christmas tree in a few spots within the game. Players could water it periodically and watch it grow larger over time.

Isn’t it cute? (Picture: Tencent)

The introduction of so many special modes helps keep the game fresh, but it might also be holding Tencent back from perfecting any one of them. Some of these features could look better, and there are still plenty of odd quirks in “extreme cold mode.” Even so, there are only three storms in each game. At the end of the day, other players are still your ultimate enemy.

For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters, subscribe to our Inside China Tech podcast, and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report. Also roam China Tech City, an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus.