Battle royale games having lore is nothing new. Fortnite and Apex Legends have always done a pretty good job when it comes to environmental storytelling and character development. On the other side of the coin, however, games like PUBG and Call of Duty’s Blackout seem to have focused on the killing, content to leave the story elements by the wayside.
Yesterday, however, that changed. PUBG Season 4 kicks off next week, and to celebrate, PUBG Corp has released a new trailer. But instead of focusing on the new features heading to the game in its latest update, the video looks at the story behind the battle royale.
Set in the game’s Erangel map in 1965, the trailer documents an invasion of the island from the perspective of a young boy. By hiding out, the child is the only person to survive the attack, becoming “the first lone survivor of Erangel.” From there, not only does he survive, but is apparently encouraged to teach others about their true potential.
To that end, a somewhat creepy monologue seems to suggest that the child installed surveillance cameras all over the island, in order to help him document the activity of the 100 murderers that he’s recruited to fight it out across the map.
It’s a video that provides more questions than answers, if I’m honest. For one thing, how did this abandoned young boy find the resources to create his surveillance state-come-murder island? What precisely about his childhood trauma encouraged him to build a setup allowing him to watch people endlessly shoot one another? Does this lore translate to the game’s other three maps? Who at PUBG Corp thought that the game needed traditional lore in the first place?
I acknowledge that there have been smatterings of storytelling hidden throughout the game since its inception, and it’s also worth pointing out that PUBG creator Brendon Greene has previously stated that an official (although previously unreleased) backstory for the game does exist. Whether this is exactly what PlayerUnknown planned out all along or not remains to be seen, but I’m interested to learn what this new trailer means for the world of PUBG.