PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the battle royale game where you run around shooting people without pants for a chicken dinner, apparently has a good deal of lore backing up its death matches. But don’t take my word for it: The developers recently got the one and only Jonathan Frakes to homage his meme-tastic role as the host of Beyond Belief in a new video exploring the PUBG mythos.
Mysteries Unknown: Birth of the Battlegrounds is presented as an in-universe follow-up to a now-cancelled, Frakes-led television show much like Beyond Belief. The mini-doc covers the origins of the eponymous Battlegrounds and the shadowy organisation that hosts the event, suggesting that the battle royale was created by the sole survivor of a massacre on the island of Erangel (also known as the original PUBG map), a man named Sergei Kalimnick.
After previously making money selling illicit recordings of prison riots, Kalimnick was conscripted by a clandestine group of investors to put on the first Battleground in the early ‘90s. Originally, prisoners from eastern Europe were forced into participating in these Battleground events, their fight for survival captured and sold as entertainment. Kalimnick, now known simply as The Russian, remains a high-ranking member of the criminal organisation that previously recruited him.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has been a smash hit since popularising the battle royale genre in 2017. And while its throne has since been usurped by games like Fortnite and Apex Legends, it remains one of the most-played games on Steam and a popular viewership draw on Twitch. This attempt by the developers to reimagine the simplistic project as a grand conspiracy involving organised crime, fictional characters, and possibly Jonathan Frakes is an intriguing one, and might be just what the ageing game needs to keep up with the newcomers it inspired.