PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has landed on PlayStation 4 alongside a live-action trailer called “Pan-demonium.” Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kong: Skull Island), the action-packed short film illustrates the chaos PUBG is known for, as well as Hollywood’s intimate ties to the video game industry.
The campaign includes :60, :30 and :15 versions of the film, which will air on television around the world. A longer version will also play on the official PUBG website.
“Pan-demonium” stars Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton) as a PUBG player that has been dropped into a hostile environment. He must act fast, select a weapon and survive because everyone is gunning for him—literally. In a comedic twist, the man chooses a frying pan and does surprisingly well with it. Alliances are soon formed and the man is ultimately saved by a friend (Jurassic World‘s Nick Robinson) who fights from a safe distance.
For the uninitiated, PUBG started a battle royale craze in the same way that DOOM spawned first-person shooters. Players are dropped onto a shrinking playing field where they must use cover, scrounge weapons and fight one another for dominance. In short, the last one standing wins.
“When approaching this campaign, I wanted to capture and translate the individual moments of emotion the gameplay elicits from a player when experiencing PUBG,” Vogt-Roberts said. “I wanted gamers and fans of the title to watch this piece and feel that the filmmaker and team behind this spot understood the authentic fun that has made PUBG a piece of the zeitgeist.”
Vogt-Roberts directed a live-action spot for Destiny 2 and is currently directing the film adaption of Metal Gear Solid, so it’s pretty safe to say that he understands gaming. Regardless, he doesn’t assume all viewers will be familiar with PUBG.
“I wanted to find a way to bottle that magic and the excitement, kinetic rush, and idiosyncrasies of PUBG for its fans, while also making it accessible to new viewers, whether they’ve played PUBG before or not,” he added.
Live-action video game trailers have been around for decades, but have become much more sophisticated in recent years. They also feature A-list Hollywood talent both in front of and behind the camera.
“Pan-demonium,” for example, features the cinematography by Chung-Hoon Chung (IT) and the stunt direction of Robert Alonzo (Deadpool). The campaign was produced by RSA Films—Sir Ridley Scott’s creative group behind campaigns like The Macallan’s Make the Call and Blade Runner 2049: Nexus Dawn, a prequel to the 2017 film.