Escape from Tarkov: The progress of 2020, the plans for 2021 and our release forecast

Escape from Tarkov: The progress of 2020, the plans for 2021 and our release forecast

How far is the full release of the hardcore shooter Escape from Tarkov and what has to happen beforehand? The developers are available to answer questions.

Escape from Tarkov tells a love story with many virtual deaths for its fans. It is celebrated by passionate gamers as one of the toughest and most exciting hardcore shooters, but in the course of its early access phase, which has lasted since 2017, there have been occasions for concentrated community criticism.

We took a close look at the current state of Escape from Tarkov and also spoke to chief developer Nikita Buyanov from Battlestate Games. Where is the journey going in 2021? And how far away the big goal, the full release, is?

Where will Escape from Tarkov be at the end of 2020?

Escape from Tarkov now offers tons of content for hours of play. The city of Tarkov is a war zone. As a member of one of two rival mercenary factions, you are trapped in the sealed-off city. To assert yourself, you will hunt prey in seven of 13 planned levels. You compete against AI looters (called Scavs), random Scav bosses and other players.

Any mistake can be fatal - and whoever dies, loses valuable equipment. Insanely detailed, realistic weapon modding, the expansion of a complex player hideout, role-playing elements such as passive skills and countless tactical possibilities make Escape from Tarkov in its current form a unique piece in the gaming landscape.

The most important thing that was added in 2020

Map expansion and revision: The existing Map Customs has been expanded again. Now you have another open area with buildings near the big construction site in the center of the map. The exits on Interchange have also been revised to offer you more options for exfiltration.

The Interchange shopping mall level has had its exits reworked to improve the escape route.

Weight and fatigue: If you pack too much into your inventory, you can no longer sprint. This makes you potentially easy prey, which makes Tarkov even trickier . In addition, your stamina will now tire your arms and legs separately from one another - depending on what actions you are performing.

Weapons and items: The range of guns, but also useful items and weapon mods, is constantly being expanded. For example, the FN GL40 Mk.2 grenade launcher, the M1911 pistol and the TOZ KS-23M shotgun recently found their way into Escape from Tarkov.

A grenade launcher allows you to fire projectiles across the field. As with everything in Tarkov: The handling needs to be practiced.

New boss and smarter scavs: In the meantime, a new scav boss has been added to Shoreline with Sanitar. The AI ​​opponents also react more realistically and now collect weapons and items, for example.

Compass: An important tool for orientation, the compass, now helps you in Tarkov to find your way to the safe exit (or fat loot). If you have placed the compass in the extra inventory slot, when you press a button, your character lifts the part into the field of vision to show you north. Of course, you still have to orientate yourself "by hand", in other words with a found in-game map or better, an interactive map on the second monitor or smartphone. Markers in the game world, e.g. for loot? Haha funny. We are still in Tarkov!

Heavy bleeding: These violent injuries now occur with severe gunshot wounds and are noticeable through rapid blood loss - and you through visible traces on the floor. Battlestate Games added new Esmarch Tourniquet bandages to stop the bleeding. Old items like the grizzly medicit now also have this function.

Heavy bleeding requires special treatment - and fast! Otherwise you will draw the attention of resourceful players to yourself and quickly bless the time.

New types of ammunition: With this, the developers made previously scorned weapons competitive. For example, the 9mm pistols and MPs that are ineffective against advanced armor and can now shoot through armor and even thin sheet metal coverings with armor-piercing 9x19-7N31 ammunition.

Steam Audio: With the binaural technology, the developers addressed a major point of criticism regarding the acoustic orientation. The surround sounds in Escape from Tarkov used to be very unreliable and sometimes confusing because they misrepresented distances acoustically. If you now use stereo headphones and activate the binaural function in Tarkov, you will get much better directional and distance location of sounds. Battlestate Games is still patching here, so the feature is still in its infancy.

What about performance and netcode?

The developers are continuously working on the open heart of Escape from Tarkov. Sometimes the frames per second still fluctuate, but the stability of Escape from Tarkov has noticeably improved compared to earlier development phases.

What's next?

The last update of the year is due in December 2020 with patch 0.12.9. Among other things, this includes the announced expansion of the Map Woods, but the quest system is also being revised.

In the long term, the developers have a lot more plans : Before Escape from Tarkov is finished, there are still major milestones to be achieved. Chief developer Nikita Buyanov names three pillars that have to be set up for a full release:


Seven maps are already included in the game, five are to follow. The next map is the Streets of Tarkov city map, which Battlestate Games says is "huge and unique". Buyanov thinks "you don't see such details in any other game." Nevertheless, work on the site is still in full swing:

"Streets is in production. There is still a lot to be done, but we hope to get the process started over the next few months."

The developers had already told us in an earlier interview on Escape from Tarkov that the corona pandemic is also causing delays at Battlestate Games.

The next really big and substantial update is called 0.13 and will probably bring the long-awaited map, but not in 2020.

"0.13 update will definitely be released in 2021. Streets of Tarkov will most likely be linked to this update."

Main story and quests

Tarkov also tells a story of a formerly lively city that is crushed in the conflict between two rival mercenary factions. An ominous biotech company and its shadowy activities are the trigger for the permanent state of war in Tarkov.

You get quests from traders in the game menu, for example you have to mod a shotgun for the mechanic according to certain specifications. Or you run around on a map and defeat Scav opponents so that Papa Prapor accepts you as a full-fledged tough dog. In addition to rewards such as money, weapons and leveling up for better items in the dealer shop, you will also learn more about the background history of the city of Tarkov and its inhabitants.

Numerous quests are already available in Escape from Tarkov, but by no means all. Logically you should be able to play the story to the end until the full release.

Advanced features for weapons and equipment

Tarkov is already extremely complex, but should get even more depth. So the battle vests are about to be upgraded soon. This allows you to modify your rig yourself, e.g. to add magazine pouches. With this, the developers want to achieve an even higher degree of realism. 

What about the open beta?

Bad news from this front: Battlestate Games made us understand that there will probably no longer be an open test phase for all interested parties. The reason is the - quote - "bad" players who break into Tarkov with such free campaigns. In plain language: Battlestate fears a wave of cheaters as a result of an open beta.

When is the release?

The developers are holding back with an exact date for the 1.0 release of Escape from Tarkov. Still, Nikita Buyanov gave us an estimate of how much of the game's development has now been completed.

According to Buyanov, Escape from Tarkov is about "60 to 65 percent" complete. Based on the development speed to date and the content that is still open, we do not expect a full release until the end of 2022 at the earliest.

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