PUBG Update Adds a Wild, Canonical Origin Story

Most battle royale games don’t particularly need a narrative behind them to make the gameplay more engaging. The idea of being dropped into a battlefield with varying amounts of players and fighting until there’s only one person or team left is a fairly universal concept now in games, but having that backstory does add to the experience in a way. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds now has a backstory to bolster its experience thanks to the upcoming start of Season 4, and it’s quite the interesting one.

The cinematic trailer above was shared but the PUBG team on Wednesday, the same day that the Season 4 update went live on the test servers before its widespread release. Set on the fictional island of Erangel which doubles as PUBG’s original map, a young boy witnesses an attack that peppers the island with explosions and leaves parts of it in ruins. The boy is the only survivor of the attack, according to the narration.

That event took place in 1965 within the PUBG universe, and many years later, it’s revealed that the boy is actually the narrator. If that wasn’t a dramatic enough twist, it turns out the boy has now become a wealthy man who uses Erangel as a battlefield where he observes the life-or-death games that take place there. A wall of screens showing feeds from various surveillance cameras all around the island show different contestants throughout the map as the unnamed puppet master looks on.

“Yes, my friend, everyone is searching for themselves,” the man says while watching the screens. “That search ends here. The place I once called home. Welcome to my Battlegrounds.”

Judging from the phrasing of that last sentence, it seems we are to take it that this man is PlayerUnknown himself. Brendan Greene, the creator of PUBG, is the first to take the name of PlayerUnknown, though it’s the man in the video who’s pulling the strings within PUBG’s universe.

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The timing of this video and the fleshing out of the PUBG world is no doubt tied to recent developments that were made public recently. Glen Shofield of Call of Duty and Dead Space fame joined the PUBG team to work on a project related to the battle royale game. It’s not a sequel but is instead “an original narrative in the PUBG universe,” according to the developer. Starting off an original narrative by providing a backstory to a game players are already familiar with certainly seems like a smart way to get the community interested in a new project.

PUBG’s Season 4 is scheduled to arrive on July 24th.