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Video Game / PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

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The Battle Royale Game.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (often shortened to PUBGnote  and, since 2021, often officially titled as such) is a popular last-man-standing online shooter developed by the eponymous PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of TERA creators Bluehole Studios (as of 2019, Krafton Game Union) of Korea. While the "core" version of the game is currently only available on PC via Steam, official editions with slightly different content are also available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iOS, and Android, with the mobile versions handled by Tencent Games' Lightspeed & Quantum development team.

Players can fight each other on the Battlegrounds in solo "every man for himself" matches, or they can team up with a friend (duos) — or two or three (squads) — to fight against other teams. At the beginning of each match, up to 100 players airdrop into a map to loot weapons, ammunition, and support items from the abandoned buildings therein so that they can survive the battle. The match ends when there is only one person (or team) left standing. Once a player lands on the map, they are fair game; a wholly-unarmed player can be killed before they even have a chance to loot a building. As the match continues, a massive wall of electricity forces players into smaller conflict zones so they will ultimately move around the map and confront each other. The "Red Zone", a random area on the map targeted by artillery, also tries to keep players moving around. Planes will also drop crates full of items that players can loot—if they have the courage to go loot them, that is. And functioning vehicles scattered around the map can help players travel long distances (a must for anyone far outside of the safe zones).

The game's lead designer, Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene, previously developed the mod DayZ: Battle Royale for the ARMA 2 DayZ mod, which used the same basic premise, and was later ported to ARMA 3. Battlegrounds is effectively a Spiritual Successor to his original mods. He also worked as a consultant on a Battle Royale mode for the game H1Z1.

Battlegrounds currently has five maps in regular rotation: a massive 8x8 km Russian island called Erangel; a sprawling 8x8 km Mexican desert region known as Miramar; a small 4x4 km southeastern Asian island named Sanhok; a medium-sized 6x6 km European winter-themed map named Vikendi, a tiny 2x2 North African island named Karakin and an 8x8 grand South Korean rural peninsula called Taego. An additional training map called Camp Jackal was added in 2018.

As part of seasonal events debuting in 2020, a series of smaller maps have been released for limited time periods; a small 3x3 Peruvian Climactic Volcano Backdrop named Paramo and an even smaller 1x1 plot of mid-western American urbanized industrial park called Haven.

A sequel for mobile, developed in-house by Krafton, called PUBG New State was announced in 2021 and launched in 2022, that takes place in 2051 with futuristic settings and vehicles including drones and electric vehicles.

Originally, Striking Distance Studio's (a studio made up of former staff who worked on Dead Space series) third-person Survival Horror The Callisto Protocol was set 300 years in the future of the game's setting. However, this is no longer the case, and the game will now be set in its own universe, completely unconnected to the series, per director Glenn Schofield.

Warning! Trope zone has started!

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality:
    • The ammunition calibre mechanic is somewhat misleading because it acts as a more generalized ammunition pool rather than the actual differentiated calibres since the game features weapons like the AKM assault rifle, the Nagant 1895 revolver, and the M24 sniper rifle, all of which use shared ammo in-game while using completely different 7.62 rounds (the 7.62x39mm, the 7.62x38mmR, and the 7.62x51mm NATO respectively) in reality. This is to avoid the problem of being unable to find any ammunition for these guns if the calibres were to be made their own separate pools, as ammo spawns are random and the guns that spawn the ammo with them are also random.
    • The Kar98k rifle has been rechambered for the generic 7.62 round to avoid having to add its own unique ammo (7.92x57mm Mauser) into the game. Many post-war users of this German rifle, particularly those that don't have any other weapons chambered for that round (eg. Israel), had them rechambered for 7.62x51mm NATO.
    • The QBZ-95 assault rifle introduced with the Sanhok map in mid-2018, as well as the QBU-88 marksman rifle, which is slated to replace the Ruger Mini-14 on that map, also have to be rechambered for the generic 5.56 round as their real-life counterparts fire a proprietary cartridge, the 5.8x42mm round, and would be the only weapons in the game firing it if they were given their proper ammo. However, both rifles have export versions, the QBZ-97 and the KBU-97A, respectively, that are chambered for 5.56x45mm.
    • Frying pans would not stop pistol rounds, much less the much more powerful rifle rounds. But the completely bulletproof nature of the pan in-game, while not originally intended, has been kept that way because players agree that it's just that fun.
    • Everyone can immediately pick and use the various weapon attachments without the need to adjust the sights or fasten the other attachments.
  • Action Girl: The game allows you to select a female character as your player model.
    • Season 8 introduces Julie Skels and Madison Malholtra, two members of the 'Sanhok 4' and a pair of highly dangerous individuals.
    • Season 9 adds Sadiya Qureshi, the "Battle Bride".
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: The blue barrier shrinks at intervals which decrease the available playing area. Players caught outside this zone take different damage depending on how far along they are in a match.
  • A.K.A.-47: Zig-zagged; several weapons are named exactly how they are in Real Life, but others have slightly modified names. Some shotguns, revolvers, and pistols have an "S", "R" or "P" to denote their weapon class. The name changes include:
    • S1897 = Winchester Model 1897
    • S686 = Beretta 686
    • S12K = Saiga 12K
    • Win94 = Winchester Model 1894
    • P1911 = M1911
    • P92 = Beretta 92F
    • R1895 = Nagant M1895
    • R45 = Chiappa Rhino 60DS.
    • M416 = HK416
    • P18C = Glock 18C
  • Amusement Park of Doom: An abandoned dinosaur-themed amusement park in Vikendi named 'Dino Park' serves as a popular hot drop, with derelict rollercoasters, carnival stands, and even a stone maze ensuring many a frantic firefight throughout the match.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Loot boxes may unlock random pieces of outfits for you.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The ability to freelook by holding Alt makes it much easier to look around in third person, especially if you're trying to find a shooter.
    • Averted when it comes to being shot at, while most games have someway of indicating which direction you are being shot from, PUBG does not, and while you have the option to view the kill cam(s) after you and (in squad matches) everyone in your squad is dead, the kill cam generates footage based on server data and thus is notoriously unreliable, as it could make your shooter look like he's cheating/hacking when he isn't, and each playthrough of a kill cam could potentially yield wildly different results from not only each other but also from the circumstances of how you died.
      • The mobile version mitigates this by adding threat compass on the map that not only showing where the approximate direction of gunfire, but also footsteps and car engine sound.
    • In this game, downed players in a squad are forced to baby crawl instead of laying prone, can't fight back, and can't self-revive. The knocked-down players are easier to spot this way. Also, if the final member of a team is knocked down, he will instantly die and all other members of his team who are also knocked down, if there are any, will instantly die with him. This not only indicates that the opposing team is wiped and is no longer a threat but also prevents having to search for and destroy a team that is already helpless allowing your team to move on to the next task. One thing to keep in mind is that all knocked-down players count as alive, so you may be alone in a circle with a team of four, but if the other three members are downed you only need to down the last member to win.
    • With the 11.x patches, soccer balls have been added for players to kick around while waiting for a game to start. Earlier patches for the mobile version also allow players to throw apples.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: Spurred by its wild popularity in Asia, the mobile version has a Game Management System which warns young players when they've been playing for too long, giving them the option to either take a rest or stop playing.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. There are three types of body armor, categorized as Levels 1 to 3, all of which provide the wearer with a reduction in bullet damage (Level 3 provides the most reduction, natch). These armors also double as miniature backpacks, giving the wearer a small amount of extra carrying capacity.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Vikendi is a snow-covered island located somewhere in... the Adriatic Sea, which has an all-year minimum temperature of 12 degrees Celcius - way above the snow limit of 0 degrees.
  • Author Catchphrase: The phrase "Winner Winner Chicken Dinner", which pops up when you win a match, dates back to previous Battle Royale-style games that PlayerUnknown has worked on (which also had the same quote for winning).
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • When it could only be found in crates, the Tommy Gun and its huge capacity was seen as excellent in close quarters but inconvenient to carry extra ammo for it since the only other weapons that use its ammo are an early-stage pistol or a fairly rare submachine gun. A later patch made it a more common world spawn, and it became a bit more practical as an early-stage weapon.
    • The crossbow has the second-highest damage-per-hit in the game, outclassed only by the airdrop-exclusive AWM, making it a prime headshotting tool if a player is skilled with it. That, however, is a really big "if" - the crossbow has a protracted reload that must occur between each and every shot, and the bolts' slow speed and fast drop make it tough to hit moving or distant targets with.
    • The AWM itself suffers from a bit of this because its ammo (.300 Magnum) can only be found in airdrops alongside the AWM, and only twenty rounds at a time. This is why the M24 (which uses mundane 7.62mm ammo) is usually considered more useful despite its lower power.
    • The VSS automatic sniper rifle. While the 9mm rounds it uses are insanely abundant, and the built-in suppressor is very effective, its small default 10-round magazine, low power of 9mm rounds compared to other calibers, and inability to equip any add-ons apart from a larger magazine make it less than practical as a sniper rifle (or poor man's SMG) unless extended assault rifle/DMR/Saiga magazines are found.
    • Similarly, the Vector SMG has a staggering rate of fire and able to take all the same attachments and a tactical stock it shares with the M416, but its low ammo capacity makes it impractical without the extended magazine.
    • The Mini-Uzi fires fast, but it cannot use foregrips nor scopes (as opposed to the MP5K and Vector) and thus is limited in its versatility, it is a good starter gun but is quickly eclipsed by more practical weapons.
    • The Nagant 1895 (R1895) is a 7.62mm revolver, but its reload is laboriously slow, its capacity can't be expanded and it only can equip one attachment. While the Nagant can be suppressed, the 7.62 ammo it is often found with is better served in weapons like the AKM or Kar98K.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: A BRDM armoured scout vehicle is now available as an airdrop item separate from the drop boxes; based on the Russian BRDM-2, but with no turret/weapon, it sometimes fouls on palm trees when dropped, causing an un-recoverable roll leading to it landing sideways or upended, rendering it less use as a vehicle than an accidental airstrike. Amphibious, durable, and heavy, it can nevertheless be destroyed by smallarms or explosions that players can actually cause in the game, in which case it will behave like all other vehicles in the game.
  • Bag of Holding: Averted. Some other games in this genre allow you to hold backpacks within backpacks. In this game, the inventory of your current backpack will be dropped into whatever bag you equip.
  • Battle Royale Game: PUBG became the Trope Codifier that launched the BR genre into the limelight.
  • BFG: Currently, the air-dropped-only .50 BMG Lynx AMR takes this title as the strongest rifle in the game, able to one-shot any player regardless of armor as well as destroying vehicles in short order, but is offset by the limited 5-round magazine without any spare rounds.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Signage and graffiti in the maps are mostly written in the locale's native language, Russian for Erangel and Spanish for Miramar. Notably, some graffiti found here and there are written in other foreign languages, such as English and even Mandarin.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Many weapons can one-tap players if they hit them in the head and if they are not wearing helmets. Sniper rifles can one-shot players with headshots even if they are wearing helmets, and only a Level 3 helmet can keep a player alive if they're struck by a sniper rifle in the head. Even then, not even a Level 3 helmet can save a player if a shot from an AWM sniper rifle hits them in the head.
  • Boring, but Practical: Quite a few examples:
    • The UMP45 fires .45 ACP, but can fit four attachments, is fairly accurate and versatile, thus making it far more useful than the 9mm Vector or Mini-Uzi (the former of which is fairly rare and comes with a paltry 19-round magazine by default (33 rounds extended) and the latter fires fast but only can fit four attachments, one of which is a unique stock).
    • Basic assault rifles like the AKM or M16A4 may not have a lot in the attachments category, but do hold their own against more rarer rifles or the more powerful, but riskier crate weapons.
    • As mentioned below, a quiet, enemy-avoidance policy early game may not get you many kills, but careful planning and choosing your engagements will give you a better chance of actually winning the game in the last few circles.
    • Going to battle wearing only underwear might increase your survival chance especially early on, due to the skin color and underwear color blending in with the world. In the mobile version, if the data download isn't completed, the players with missing files will only wear underwear during battle, apart from the armor.
  • Bloodless Carnage:
    • When initially released to early access, Battlegrounds initially had blood and gore, earning the ESRB's Mature rating, but when the developers put together a "launch" edition in late 2017, they decided to tone down the blood and violence so that the game would ship with the lower Teen Rating.
    • In the released version as well as the mobile version, blood is still there, but only to mark successful hits along with the hit marker (or player injury and under attack state) and it will not splatter at all and there is no gore.
    • The Chinese version eventually turn almost all instances of blood green, and eventually as of May 2019... see Bowdlerize below.
    • The trailer for PUBG Global Championship 2019 is more realistic than the actual gameplay, but the characters don't bleed at all when shot, they just get knocked or die.
    • An update in late 2019 re-upped the blood effects so blood wounds in the game leave actual blood splatters.
  • Bowdlerize: Game For Peace, which is basically modded (some players reported that their profile carried over) and reskinned PUBG Mobile for China only. All bullet impact is replaced with plasma impact, defeated enemies willingly give their items in a crate and then wave at you before disappearing (later changed to simply disappearing due to how ridiculous it is), Chinese airshow in the menu and escorting the transport plane... Supposedly Game For Peace was made because Tencent was frustrated that their PUBG Mobile was refused approval for monetization. Game For Peace (later in late 2020 retitled to Peacekeeper Elite) since then has all but replaced PUBG Mobile in China.
    • The Sanhok Jungle Adventure limited-time event in Summer 2020 was pulled quickly due to totem invocation offending more religious players. When it was brought back, the totems are changed into themed crates.
  • Brand X: The Energy Drink is a can of 'Hot Bull' before it was changed into a picture of a buff man presumably to avoid lawsuit. This trope is Averted in the case of the Dacia 1300 and UAZ-469, which are referred to as a Dacia and a UAZ respectively. Curiously, while UAZ has been rendered generic due to its popularity, Dacia is still around and doing better than ever. The Ford Bronco and Volkswagen Bus in the Miramar map are just called "Pickup" and "Van", though.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: While the game's arsenal is mainly filled with contemporary firearms, it does have a few oddities—mainly World War II-era weapons such as the Kar 98K bolt-action rifle and the Thompson submachine gun. The Nagant M1895 (or the R1895, as the game calls it) dates back to 1895 and is a revolver that was used in both World Wars. The Winchester Model 1894 (or Win94 in-game) lever-action rifle beats the Nagant revolver by a year, having served in the Old West and the colonial expansion wars of the US.
  • Bullethole Door: Doors in the game can be shot with any weapon and have holes created in them to shoot through the other side, though it must be noted that the doors themselves are apparently completely bulletproof, meaning that you cannot "wallbang" someone through a door until you've damaged the door enough to make the holes.
  • Car Fu: Vehicles in the game do a lot of damage if they hit a player at even relatively low speeds. This often results in an instant kill or knockout. Some players, as a challenge, have attempted to win games using only a vehicle as their sole weapon.
  • Chess Motifs: The Russian man who created the battlegrounds, as depicted in the cinematic trailers, carries a pawn to show he's involved in a battle of wits.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Ammunition boxes may look similar, but are coloured differently (or have extra features) for easier identification from afar:
    • Orange: 9mm
    • Blue: .45 ACP
    • Green: 5.56mm
    • Yellow: 7.62mm
    • Red (open box with visible shells): 12 Gauge
    • Olive (military ammunition box): .300 Magnum
  • Combat Resuscitation:
    • When playing duos and squads, you will be knocked out if your health goes down to zero and your teammates are still alive. A second health bar appears that acts as a window of opportunity—if your teammates can reach you before the second bar goes down to zero, you can be revived (to minimal health). Of course, the player that took you down to zero in the first place can still keep shooting you to hasten your demise.
    • PUBG Mobile takes this a step further in Payload Mode, where players bring back their dead teammates by collecting their ID card two minutes after they die and summon them at a communications tower, similar to how players can be brought back in Apex Legends and Fortnite.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: This is played straight in most situations. So long as you are hiding behind a solid piece of cover, you cannot be shot through it. Doors act as ablative cover and can be destroyed. Grass and vegetation do not stop bullets.
  • Continuity Nod: One of the decorative features that can be seen on some walls in Miramar is a poster advertising (in Spanish) Cheap Flights to Exotic Erangel.
  • Cool Car: The Gold Mirado, which can only be found in Miramar (specifically the garage in Hacienda del Patron). The rare Hyundai Pony Coupe also makes an appearance in Taego as a commonly spawned vehicle.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Playing duos and squads lets you buddy up with friends (or random players) to fill out your team.
  • Crazy-Prepared: This is what you should be by the time a match reaches the last twenty or so players. By this point, the surviving players should have looted enough buildings (and dead bodies) to have decent guns kitted with attachments, medical supplies, and extra attachments to fight in different scenarios and distances.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Since there is no "wound" system in place, characters can take potentially dozens of gunshots before going down. And until you are actually downed, you can perform any action just the same as if you were full health.
  • Crowbar Combatant: One of the melee weapons that you can grab is a crowbar.
  • Damage Over Time: The electric force field that constrains the playing area essentially does this to the whole map. It also drains a player's health if they are caught inside it; how much damage it does depends on how far along a match is.
  • Darker and Edgier: PUBG New State. Aesthetically, it looks like the world is getting hotter and the action takes place in a drought-ridden locales despite (as of now) lack of desert maps, and the other map instead of future Erangel (which didn't change much aesthetically) is Troi, a deserted Everytown, America.
  • Deader than Dead: In Squad mode, lethal damage is only a "knockout" that doesn't even render them unable to crawl away. To truly kill a player, you have to either down all of their teammates, prevent those teammates from reviving them long enough... or just apply a second dose of lethal force.
  • Deployable Cover: "Shield Wall" added in a 2021 update.
  • Developer's Foresight: Most water towers and buildings with no roof access have fire escapes or ledges leading down, but not back up. The reasons are twofold: if players happen to land there after parachuting, the escape route provides a safer way of dropping down without fall damage, and to deny players a potentially game-breaking sniper location.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: You run slightly faster without a gun equipped.
  • Doomed Hometown: Erangel, surprisingly enough; the man running the Battlegrounds was one of the few survivors of a mass bombing in 1965 that wiped the island off the map until recently.
  • Easter Egg:
    • The M416's fire selector replaces the usual firing mode "SAFE / SEMI / AUTO" etchings to, "NO PEW / PEW / PEW PEW PEW".
    • The textures seen on the 12-Gauge shotshells are branded as "P.U GREENE"note .
  • Endless Daytime: Subverted in one of the PUBG Mobile random events, where a match can start at dusk, proceed to night, and ends at dawn. Night vision glasses can be found while playing in such events. Played straight in all other modes.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Vehicles explode after taking enough damage, instant-killing everyone inside.
  • Everytown, America: Troi in PUBG New State.
  • Fackler Scale of FPS Realism: The general gunplay mechanics are on the realistic side. Recoil for weapons are high, and bullets deal lots of damage, while health regeneration is dependent on items and they apply slowly. If you die, then there's no respawn in the round for you.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Loot spawns include frying pans as melee weapons in the game world; after the patch that made them totally bulletproof, they are now considered the top-tier melee weapon. (See Simple, yet Awesome below.)
  • Glorious Mother Russia: Erangel is distinctly Russian and/or Slavic, with names like Georgopol and Mylta for their towns. After all, it's an Expy of Chernarus, the stage of ARMA 2.
    • Although considering you spend the entire game fighting for your life it's probably not that glorious for the characters.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Players can use their fists as a simple attack. In the early game, this is a common strategy to save precious ammunition for starting weapons, and the jumping Superman Punch that players can perform by jumping and attacking with their fists actually deals a good amount of damage (it can even one-shot players if they strike them on the head). Some players might just do this as a form of Cherry Tapping instead, others will use it as a Desperation Attack (especially if caught in combat early in a match.)
  • Green Hill Zone: Erangel is a downplayed example. It's not easygoing by any means, but it's the game's very first map and has a relatively generic environment when compared to Miramar's desert or Sanhok's marshes and jungles.
  • Griefer: These are sometimes seen when in the random queue for duos and squads. Most of the time in random queue, you will find that people are willing to work with other randoms they've been matched up with, but every once in a while there will be that one guy on your team who walks up to you after you land and puts a bullet in your head for not much reason.
  • Gun Accessories: All of the game's weapons have varying amounts of attachment slots that will take accessories you can loot from places on the map (and dead players).
  • Hammer and Sickle Removed for Your Protection: The updated revamped version of Erangel has surprisingly embraced this trope. While the map still retains its Slavic/EasternEuropean aesthetic, all the statues depicting Soviet iconography and the USSR coat-of-arms have been replaced with statues of a menacingly-bearded overlord and symbols of "the Eye". Promotional materials discussing the history of the island also refer to the former occupying force simply as "the Military", even if their weapons, uniforms, and equipment hearken to that of a '60s Soviet Army.
  • Hero Shooter: Fantasy Battle Royale, a limited-time mode introduced for April Fools' Day 2020, has players choose between four Dungeons & Dragons-style classes: Wizard, Barbarian, Ranger, and Paladin.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Subverted. Suppressors do reduce the muzzle reports of the weapons they are attached to, but you can still hear them go off if you are in range to hear them. The audible range is small, however, so if you are getting shot at by someone with a suppressed rifle from beyond a certain distance, good luck with trying to hear where their shots are coming from. Justified with the VSS Vintorez, which features an integrated suppressor and really does sound extremely quiet in real life.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Painkillers and energy drinks, referred to as "boosters", fill up a thin energy bar over your health bar with each use. The more boosters you take, the more you start gradually healing, and the faster your character can move.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: In spite of having a weight limit to your carrying capacity, you can still hold as many bulky items as you want as long as you don't reach your encumbrance limit.
  • Ikea Weaponry: The various firearms the player can find can be fitted with all sorts of detachable accessories, such as scopes, suppressors, extended magazines, and grips.
  • Improvised Weapon: Most of the melee weapons are this, including a sickle, a crowbar, and a frying pan.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Quite possibly the first time this trope has ever used a creator's Internet screenname rather than their real name or a conventional pseudonym. Considering Greene couldn't legally use the name of the original mod, or even an acronym like Dota 2 did, he had to do something to make it clear that this is the real deal, not one of the several imitators that had already sprung up. After the titular creator left, the acronym became the official title, leading the original version being retitled ''PUBG Battlegrounds''
  • Lead the Target: This is a necessary skill since this game does not use hitscan.
  • Le Parkour: As of the release version, players can leapfrog over small obstacles, climb over fences, and jump through windows. A later update improved the system by adding ledge grabbing.
  • Limited Loadout: You can carry two primary weapons, a sidearm, a melee weapon, and equip one grenade. Everything else, including ammo and additional grenades, goes into an inventory. Backpacks and vests upgrade your inventory capacity.
  • Loot Box: Cosmetic only such as costumes (so the player can start match wearing something other than underwear), weapon skins, and alternate paint jobs for... everything except the map itself. While the items in the Steam version can be traded through Steam market, the console and mobile versions have no such convenience.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • When you first drop into the map at the start of the game, you might be all alone to loot to your heart's content...or you might get shot in the face as soon as you take a step.
    • The end game counts as well, you may have to sit in a house that is easy to defend if you're lucky...or you might have to storm a hilltop from the bottom with little to no cover.
  • Machete Mayhem: One of the melee weapons is a machete.
  • Magikarp Power: Some weapons become incredibly good towards the final circles; The silenced sniper VSS, for example, is seen as a Scrappy Weapon during the larger circles of the mid-game, but turn incredibly useful once the circle closes in, with audio being vital to figuring out where your enemy is. Doubly so when it gets an extended magazine.
  • Match Cut: The trailer for PUBG Global Championship 2019 uses this to cut from the battle participants on the plane to them fighting on the ground.
  • Missing Backblast: Averted. The Panzerfaust has a decently-damaging backblast of over 3 meters behind the shooter.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: An uncommon outfit drop from care packages is a Ghillie suit, which aids you significantly in hiding in vegetation.
  • Monster Clown: The Killer Clown suit, released for Halloween 2018. Some players use this to scare streamers, leading to inevitable Jump Scares.
  • The Moral Substitute: To comply with demands from the Chinese government, Tencent released a version of PUBG titled Game For Peace (retitled Peacekeeper Elite in late 2020), which is less bloody and more patriotic, paying tribute to the Chinese air force.
  • More Dakka:
    • The M249, which originally spawned only in crate drops fall randomly around the map. With a 100-round capacity, the LMG can provide an unrivaled amount of suppressing fire and destroy vehicles with relative ease. Its world-spawning counterpart, the DP-28 has a much smaller capacity of 47, but still packs quite a punch with its 7.62 rounds. As of Season 6, it's now a randomly scattered item that carries up to 150 rounds with an extended magazine.
    • The Tommy Gun, an SMG which also used to spawn only in crate drops and had a 100-round drum magazine. A later patch made it a common world spawn weapon with a 30-round magazine and equipping the extended magazine gives it a more realistic 50-round drum magazine.
    • To some extent, the extended magazine attachments, which add 10 bullets to your current magazine capacity for all rifles and submachine guns, adds three shells to the S12K, adds 7 bullets to the P92, adds 5 bullets to the P1911, adds 2 bullets to the M24 and the AWM, and doubles the capacity of the SKS and the VSS Vintorez.
  • Nerf: The M16A4 was widely regarded to be the king of assault rifles until it was patched to make the recoil harder to control, which put it in line with other assault rifles. The former supply drop-exclusive M24 sniper rifle was also eventually demoted to a rare world spawn after having its damage reduced as well.
  • New Old West: The Mexican desert-themed Miramar has Spaghetti Western influence scattered all over it, combining vast expanses of desert and ghost towns with vehicles and heavy industry. Its exclusive weapons also include western staples such as the Winchester Lever-Action and a Sawed-Off Shotgun alongside a modern revolver. Parodied in the Studio location in Taego; one of the sets is a stereotypical American old-western town, which is a nod to the Korean take on the western genre ("kimchi" westerns, if you will).
  • Next Tier Power-Up: Taking boosters allows you to regen health, move faster, and shoot with better accuracy if you take enough of them. You must continually consume them to keep up their effects, however.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: One of the premade characters is Totally-Not Idris Elba.
  • No Fair Cheating: Playing the mobile version through something other than real smartphone will display the notice "Emulator detected. You will be paired with other emulator players" and will do exactly that. The cheating potential is obvious that playing with PC emulator has the obvious advantage of using keyboard and mouse over touchscreen, and the official Tencent Gaming Buddy already come with standard PC configuration for shooters.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Subverted. Although the game originally had no known Backstory, one was added starting in Season 4. This season's cinematic trailer does reveal one thing; the whole game is an In-Universe battle royale run by the Sole Survivor of a 1965 battle on Erangel, which inspires the underground to create illicit, taped (and in the present day), streamed, Blood Sport fight to the death in secluded locations around the world, including Mexico (Miramar) and Thailand (Sanhok). Season 5 establishes that Miramar was originally borrowed by this survivor for its race track.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Kills are replaced with this in Squad mode to give players a chance to revive their teammates, although there is a time limit on this. You can kill a downed player directly, however, by simply applying a second dose of lethal force. Provided you're not preoccupied trying to defend yourself from their vengeful teammates.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Multiple reviewers choose to classify this game as a new kind of horror game. Depending on your location on the map, it can be a very long time before you ever encounter another player. More often than not, you'll hear the bullets flying well before you see the shooter.
  • No-Sell: When not equipped, a pan will block any bullet that strikes the area on a player's body that it covers. Doing so does not destroy/degrade it either.
  • Officially Shortened Title: As of 2021, it is officially called "PUBG" due to Brendan "Playerunknown" Greene leaving Krafton. This led to the PC and Console versions being called PUBG: Battlegrounds.
  • One Bullet Clips: This is one of the more arcade-like gameplay mechanics. Ammunition is simply based on how many bullets you have found for the particular weapon you're using; while your character does have slightly longer reloading animations for weapons that have charging handles, this trope is otherwise played straight.
  • Only Six Faces: Thanks to a relatively small number of premade characters and how physical customization is limited to hairstyle, hair color, and facial hair only. It helps conserve the system resource for massive battles AND each of the characters is a Virtual Paper Doll.
  • Private Military Contractors: Haven has several squads of AI-controlled NPCs who guard stashes of powerful weapons and equipment, all of who are working under a mysterious security company called The Pillar Foundation. They are armored and strapped to the hilt, making them formidable opponents in an already chaotic urban battlefield.
  • Player Inventory: The game uses a weight limit system with backpacks and armor increasing your encumbrance limit. Unfortunately, bullets are counted as whole boxes instead of individuals so completely topping off on ammo can be a chore.
  • Play Every Day: To get a basic outfit in the mobile version, players have to log in daily for about a week.
  • Ragdoll Physics: There appears to be a bug with how player corpses ragdoll after death that causes the bodies to launch themselves in random directions (often to hilarious effect). That being said, the normal ragdoll physics are pretty realistic and believable.
  • Random Drop: The crates that drop into the map by passing C-130 cargo planes during a match spawn random and potentially exclusive items.
  • Randomly Generated Loot: How loot spawns are determined when a game first starts.
  • Ruritania: The island of Erangel is distinctly Eastern European in its architectural style, while the run-down landscape and presence of obsolete Soviet-era equipment place the setting among more typical depictions of the trope like Chernarus. Vikendi is an island with Western Europe architecture, dense forests, old castles, and sprawling villages in a snow-laden wintry landscape, supposedly inspired by the former Yugoslav republics.
  • Scavenger World: This is what you will be doing when you are not killing other players. You will have to keep looting both the abandoned buildings and the bodies of dead players until you have the most preferable gear possible that will give you the best chance to become the last person standing.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • Player corpse boxes and care package loot crates are dangerous since other players can use them as bait. Some players will even drop loot in buildings, listen out for footsteps, and open fire on the poor fool who tries to pick the loot up.
    • Downed teammates can also be used for bait since you must sit still for ten seconds to revive them.
    • Vehicles are also used by a lot of players to bait others, particularly because acceleration of most vehicles requires a few seconds, giving an ambushing player enough time to aim and shoot the victim before they can drive off. On top of that, the noise generated by the vehicles can also be a dead giveaway.
  • Self-Plagiarism: Tencent Games, which subsidiary Lightspeed and Quantum made the mobile version of PUBG, later commissioned another developer, Aurora Studio, to make Ring of Elysium for PC. Which is also a Battle Royale game, but set in a snowy region (and released almost a year before Vikendi), different engine, and of course, different art style.
  • Sigil Spam: The remastered Erangel has a lot of red banners with a single eye.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: The frying pan is a melee weapon that can block bullets at all times. Many players will pick one up just to keep it below their backpack, as the pan's bulletproof status can (literally!) save a player's ass.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Zig-zagged.
    • The S12K semi-automatic shotgun, has the weakest range and is really only viable for very close encounters, becoming virtually useless for ranged engagements
    • The S1897 has decent range but also suffers a quick damage dropoff.
    • The S686 has the best range by far, able to knock people out at distances suitable for a submachine gun, to the point where some players have called it the Railgun for how strong its bullet damage and range.
    • The Miramar-exclusive Sawed-Off shotgun plays this trope relatively straight due to its lack of modification options.
  • Shot to the Heart: A rare item in airdrops, and lately even rarer as a spawned item on a certain map, is an adrenaline syringe. It is more potent as a boost but can be cancelled when performing certain actions. The usage animation makes it clear that you stab yourself in the chest to use it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Leo Tolstoy, of all people. The town of Yasnaya Polyana shares a name with Tolstoy's estate.
    • Unsurprisingly, there's a few to both the film and book version of Battle Royale:
      • You can get the school uniform used by the students - it's more explicit in the demonstration screen for them, as the person wearing it heavily resembles Mitsuko Souma. Kitano's iconic tracksuit also makes an appearance as a cosmetic item, as well as the bus tour guide's purple uniform.
      • The frying pan being bulletproof refers to the protagonist surviving two pistol shots by dint of having a frying pan aimed juuuuust at the right time.note 
    • The Flavor Text of the Thompson SMG says it has infinite ammo when combined with a trench coat, a reference to Resident Evil 4 which featured a Thompson with unlimited ammo and a bonus gangster outfit as New Game Plus content. Equipping a trench coat does not actually give you infinite ammo in PUBG.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • While the actual numbers are tweaked for the sake of gameplay, bullet ballistics work very closely to how they behave in Real Life. 5.56mm rounds travel faster and have less bullet drop over range, but they don't hit as hard as the 7.62mm, which travel slower and have a more noticeable drop but pack a harder punch. A similar comparison can be made to the pistol cartridges, with the 9mm being weaker but able to travel farther while the .45 ACP hitting harder but going slower.
    • The game is one of the very few that models fire selectors on firearms correctly. Not only can the player character be seen manipulating the switch when you change modes (the most visible example is a player doing this on the P18C in first person while aiming down sights), but the setting on the model accurately reflects what mode it is on, a detail that even AAA first-person shooters often get wrong.
    • Attachments also have a neat attention to detail. Extended magazines for the 5.56mm weapons are modeled after 40-round MAGPUL PMAGs while the AKM, Beryl M762, and Groza use the RPK's 40-round magazine, which are compatible. Muzzle attachments on certain guns can have a unique look instead of generic ones slapped onto the barrel (e.g. the SCAR-L's flash suppressor's model takes the form of the real-life SCAR-H's default muzzle brake).
    • When equipped with the M249, DP-28, QBU, Mk12 or Mk14 marksman rifle, your character will physically deploy the under-attached bipod that the rifle comes with when they go prone and snap it back up when they get up.
    • The Kar98k's / Mosin Nagant reload animation varies depending on rounds left in the internal magazine. If it is empty then the user will load it with a stripper clip, but if it is half-empty then the user will load each bullet one at a time instead.
    • The zeroing of the various sights and optics is fairly reflective of how the real-life counterparts of said sights would actually be aimed in real life.
  • Sniper Scope Sway: Snipers can be steadied by pressing the "hold breath" key (by default left-shift).
  • Snuff Film: The lore reveals that the Battlegrounds began in The '80s with the "gulag tapes", CCTV footage of prison riots that were staged specifically so that the wealthy sickos who bought the tapes could watch inmates beat each other to death.
  • Soft Glass: In both senses of the word. You can smash through a window by calmly climbing through it.
  • Soft Water: Zigzagged. You can survive a long fall if you land in water, but jump out of a boat moving at top speed, and you're dead the moment you hit the water. It is also realistically bullet-resistant, especially for higher calibers.
  • Stealth-Based Game: The nature of the game will often compel players to play like this so they can improve their chances of survival. Red Zones and the electric force field subvert this by forcing players to move around.
  • Sticks to the Back: Your character can stick up to two primary weapons, a sidearm, a grenade, and a melee weapon to his/her back all without gun straps.
  • The Straight and Arrow Path: One of the weapons in-game is a crossbow.
  • Thirsty Desert: Downplayed with Miramar. Most of the map is desert, befitting of the Latin American region it takes place in, but there are bodies of water within it, and coastline makes up much of the map's southern border. Karakin has similar geography, surrounded by the sea with several small oases dotting the play area.
  • Title Drop: A partial one. In Season 4's cinematic trailer, just as it closes, the man running the game calls it his Battlegrounds.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay:
    • A lot of real-world tactics work very well within the confines of the game. Things like going prone and hiding in tall grass, flanking your enemies, and using distractions to trick them can work on even the most dedicated and intelligent of players.
    • Flash hiders and suppressors work because they help disguise where shots are coming from—flash hiders dampen the flash of gunfire, while suppressors soften the sound of gunfire.
    • Going underwater is a great way of escaping from someone's bullets if you can swim to a safe place before running out of air that is.
    • Melee weapons are fairly useless once guns are found. While equipping a frying pan can also save your life, this is a break from realitynote  that's only kept in the game out of tradition.
    • Helmets only protect the parts of your face they physically cover. While the Level 3 helmet has an armored visor, Level 1 and 2 helmets don't, so a shot to the face is generally still a One-Hit Kill.
    • Jumping out of moving vehicles can seriously hurt or even kill you if it's going fast enough. Yes, this includes boats.
    • An update allowed vehicle passengers to treat their injuries while the car is in motion, but since it's a delicate procedure, the car shaking too suddenly will interrupt the process and make you start over.
    • Walking around the snow in Vikendi leaves visible footprints. These could be used to track player movements more easily than the previous maps.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: A model of your character shows up in the menu. Through some clothing item that carries over, mostly through Loot Box, you can make him or her wear something more tasteful before battle or scrounging for clothing on the battlefield (clothing articles picked up in the field didn't carry over).
    • Later updates remove temporary clothing articles in the field except for the ghillie suit.
  • Undignified Death: For some players, it's getting panned to death.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: There are a few spots with so little space that if you fell in such place for some reason, the collision detection would snare you in place, leaving you at the mercy of opponents or the unstoppable energy field of doom as you thrash around with no escape.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: Despite the map size not being that large in comparison to other games, it's still a good example. Erangel is eight square kilometers and contains (amongst other things) an abandoned military base, a power plant, a school, and several small towns. Miramar takes this up a fair notch, being a wide expanse of Mexican desert in-between towns, hamlets, and mining industrial complexes.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: It's pretty common for players to go most of the match not even encountering another player, let alone confronting them, and letting them gradually kill each other off. In theory, it's even possible to win without firing a single shot, if the second-to-last one to die kills the other posthumously with a grenade or more commonly, get caught in the blue zone.
  • You Always Hear the Bullet: Averted for the most part. Due to realistic physics, bullets usually travel faster than the player can hear the crack of the gunshot. In fact, you can even judge the distance of your shooter by simply counting the seconds between the bullet hitting near you and the gunshot crack. The only notable exception to this is the VSS Vintorez due to its unique subsonic round and extremely quiet report (if you can somehow even hear it).


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): PUBG Mobile, PUBG, PUBG Battlegrounds


PGC 2019 trailer

In some aspects, this trailer for a PUBG tournament is more realistic than the game itself. However, unlike in the game, there's no blood when somebody gets shot.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / BloodlessCarnage

Media sources: