Those special enough to be invited to the current PUBG Mobile beta branch have come out with some treasures to share. The test taking place right now, which should largely represent the upcoming public patch, includes two major new maps—one of which is the fabled Karakin: A landscape we slowly began to think would never arrive. If testers find any major issues, it could stick around in the private channels for a while yet. But if all goes according to plan, we could have a brand-new classic map as soon as this month.
Karakin is an already established map on the PC and console versions of PUBG. You can view the original PC trailer for it here to get an idea of what’s to come. Released back in February 2020, its predicted PUBG Mobile debut would not only line up with the first anniversary of the map’s franchise debut, but the portable version’s third anniversary as well. What better way to celebrate a birthday than with a rush of players to a new battlefield?
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With a 64-player limit, Karakin’s smaller match size seemed like a great idea for PUBG Mobile when it first surfaced last year. Despite the vocal requests for a port, what eventually arrived in PUBG Mobile wasn’t Karakin, but Livik: An even smaller map purpose-built for the mobile version. Although technically still in a beta state, Livik sits as a popular map in the retail game for those looking for a quick battle royale fix. Its smaller size led to not only quicker matches, but higher quality visuals compared to the other “ported” maps, with its warm reception deflecting attention away from Karakin’s omission. After all, while introducing more maps is always exciting, the adverse effect on queue times as the player population divides across them can risks taking away the main design attraction of the new, smaller battlefields.
But there’s a case to be had for Karakin, still. Unlike Livik, which didn’t bring many new gameplay differences outside of a few select guns and vehicles, Karakin includes the terrain-altering Black Zone as the game’s first proper dynamic map feature. Whereas the air strike indicated by the periodic Red Zone in other maps only damages players, the black zone can damage buildings, reducing them to smoldering ruins. Not only will it quickly kill players who fail to evacuate, but by not paying attention to impact zones throughout a match, you could run for cover at a nearby encampment only to find it no longer exists. It was a new concept for PUBG on release, and will be as unfamiliar for PUBG Mobile players, too.
So how do you get to play Karakin early? Unless you’re able to secure a PUBG Mobile beta invitation code before the big release, there’s no official way to get a sneaky hands-on preview. A little while ago now, the game transitioned to an invite-only beta program. Even if you have the beta client on your phone from a past public test, launching it and downloading the update will get you nowhere other than on the invite code entry screen. To sign up for future tests, keep an eye on sites like GameExp.
Disclaimer: Fanbyte is owned by Tencent, which also runs Tencent Games, developer and publisher of PUBG Mobile. Tencent also subsidizes much of Fanbyte’s PUBG Mobile coverage by covering freelancer budget costs. Those covering PUBG Mobile for the site have no contact with Tencent, however, and are given complete creative control to write whatever they wish.