The record-breaking smash hit that was Avatar has a lot of promises to keep up with. We’ve already seen the fulfillment of one of those promises: a sequel called Avatar: The Way of Water. Released in 2022, 13 years after the initial launch of the franchise, the movie came out to rave reviews, and we have been promised another three to be released between now and 2031.
But that is only the beginning. Set to be released on December 7th, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a Ubisoft console game set in the beautiful world of the Smurf-sorry, the Na’vi. So, weeks before the release, what is there to know about it? What do we predict for the movie tie-in game? Read on for our predictions and all the reported facts.
It’s open world
As all games have to be nowadays, this is an open-world RPG. There’s a growing desire among the gaming community that video games give them unlimited scope to personalize their experiences – that means making crucial, big decisions that sway the core story, as well as the little, side-quest decisions that gives the player a unique slice of life in the game world, and this also means that the game world itself is large and deep enough for them to go to places other players may not venture. It’s a delicate balance that some developers are capable of and others a battle against – and getting it right means you’ve made it.
But we’re not mad about Avatar giving it a go this time because it only makes sense for a franchise that is built on the back of a beautiful new world to explore.
Built using the Snowdrop engine which powers The Division games, Pandora is promising high-quality graphics and visuals. This engine enables stunning recreations of Pandora’s environments.
It’s been compared to Far Cry, Mirror’s Edge, and Horizon Zero Dawn, and we would argue the latter is exactly what they were going for. Imagine putting a blue hue over Horizon Zero Dawn’s depiction of a post-apocalyptic Colorado, minus the robot dinosaurs and you might have something akin to Pandora here.
It’s a standalone story
The game is considered a standalone story not directly connected to the events of the Avatar movies. However, it likely takes place sometime after the original 2009 film, just in case five movies weren’t enough. Early concept art suggests some potential storylines involving Na’vi interacting with futuristic human technology left behind after the Resources Development Administration was expelled from Pandora. This is backed up by the reviews which see you infiltrating the space station with a lot of combat with soldiers.
Early reviews have said that the humans are pathetically weak, making combat really easy. There’s no need to Konami code your way to saving Pandora since they’re considered the complete opposite of bullet sponges, which might be realistic, but boring. If you’re wondering “what’s the Konami code?” find out all the retro details here.
It’s an experience of living in a “reactive world”
The main playable character is a Na’vi: the catlike aliens that are so entwined with nature that they can communicate. The gameplay had to be carefully crafted to naturally allow you to traverse across the planet with the grace expected of a Na’vi. Take advantage of their unique abilities like traversing through the trees and connecting with creatures in a world that is “living and reactive”, according to Ubisoft.
Like the franchise’s first installment, the combat appears to involve both traditional weapons like bows and arrows as well as more futuristic technology to fight against aggressive threats. Pull out the big guns for enemies bigger than usual hunt.
An example of this reactive world is the Ikran. You can corner and tame one of these mountain banshees, which is basically somewhere between a bird and a pterodactyl, and keep it as a pet the way you would a horse. You can summon your Ikran whenever you like, much like a horse, but even if you were to, say, jump off a cliff, you can summon your Ikran to catch you.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will be released on December 7th for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Amazon Luna, and Microsoft Windows.