PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' replay system arrived with the game's full release last year, and has since been used as a means of catching cheaters. To this end, over one million rule breakers were banned from the game in January alone. Creative players have however been using the new mode with different ideas in mind.
One such videographer is Sonny Evans. Otherwise known for his Grand Theft Auto 5 machinima productions, Evans' latest work captures PUBG's Miramar in a National Geographic-style, Attenborough-esque documentary. In the same way nature broadcasts explore the behaviour of animals in the wild, 'The Wastelands: A Playerunknown's Battlegrounds Cinematic' examines the different playstyles of its combatants.
It's pretty funny:
"Even though PUBG is pretty limited for cinematics—it's not an open world sandbox game like GTA, for example—there are still loads of options," Evans tells me.
PUBG's replay system isn't nearly as sophisticated as, say, the Rockstar Editor—nor is it designed to be—but I'm fascinated by the idea of players using the game in new ways. Against his impressive Grand Theft Auto repertoire, I ask Evans if there's scope for a similarly thriving community of performers and spectators in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.
"The biggest flaw the tool has at the moment really limiting the cinematics is the pace of the game movement. A slow panning shot is not possible, and the camera races at all times," Evans explains. "The reason I figured is, the camera's speed has the exact same movement as an actual human player—so you have either 'sneak, run or sprint speed', and nothing in between. If controller support for the movement was added and it wasn't locked at certain speeds, it would open up a lot more doors. A bunch of camera shakes (patterns that the camera would move around in, for instance, to emulate a handheld shot) would push things to the next level as well.
"The second big issue limiting creativity is not being able to set up scenes with your friends in a lobby unless you are a PUBG partner. You're always confined to lobbies with roughly 100 players who all want to win. You might be out there just wanting to make a cool movie or whatever, but of course everybody else probably isn't and nor should they be."
Despite the replay mode's limitations, Evans reckons there's much more to come from PUBG filmmakers—and he has some more ideas of his own up his sleeve.
"These are the two main things that limit PUBG's potential for cinematics. For all the rest, though, there's a million things you could do. Off the top of my head… The Pochinki Strangler—a horror movie about a mass murderer responsible for the now deserted town of Pochinki. That could be so cool."