PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds finally has lore to explain the repeating cycle of otherwise-aimless violence dropping over and over onto the shores of Erangel. As part of the season 4 launch, PUBG has published a "cinematic trailer" detailing the origins of the island and who is facilitating all the mayhem.
It opens on a child, standing on the shores of Erangel in 1965. Some sort of armed conflict overtakes the island, and at the end of the bloodshed, he's the only survivor.
As we fast-forward through seasons on Erangel, including brief glimpses of a snow-covered island, the child's older self narrates his inner monologue. He sees the sudden massacre of all he knows as a way to grow, and wants to offer others the same opportunity: evolution through ritual combat. You know, just normal "coping with it" stuff.
Jump ahead to modern day, and a nameless combatant on the island notices a red-light camera watching him from a nearby vantage point, just before bullets ripple across the concrete behind him. We pan out to see the "child" is now a director of sorts, viewing all the chaos and carnage from a safe location. Now, he facilitates the battle royale, as the first lone survivor.
This is pretty bizarre for a few reasons, mostly surrounding the massive leap it takes from experiencing a traumatic event to becoming the frequent host of one. It seems Erangel became some extrapolated self-help seminar where those seeking a higher purpose can parachute onto a murder island and seek it. But where did the kid get the funding for all this? And where is he, physically, on the island?
There are many lingering questions, but ultimately, I'm wondering why I need a story for my PUBG? Other battle royale games either have very little justification, because why bother, or they build a thin narrative foundation and then rely on seasonal updates. It's possible PUBG will start to do the same. Also, I think this is one of the first established characters we've seen in the PUBG universe.
PUBG is expanding, with the original "PlayerUnknown" Brendan Greene working on a different, new project within PUBG Corp. now and Sledgehammer co-founder Glen Schofield working on an original narrative experience within the PUBG universe, I suppose the PUBG gaming universe needs an origin story. This is just... a very strange one to kick things off.