What Avatar’s Past Can Tell Us About Pandora’s Future
It was the surprise announcement of E3 2021: that Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment will take players to the world of the number one movie of all time in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. What was most surprising about it was actually how far it got out of left field.
Avatar is an unusual property: The signature project of Terminator and Titanic director James Cameron, the film became the most financially successful of all time in just a matter of weeks. (He later claimed this title from Avengers Endgame after a reissue in 2021 in China) However, once the initial excitement is over, the enthusiasm for her seemed to wane more and more until she seemed largely forgotten.
However, returns of more than $ 2 billion allowed Cameron to continue it as a franchise, although production of the sequels stagnated for years. In the meantime, a partnership has been made with Disney to create an Avatar-themed area for the Animal Kingdom theme park in Florida. Following this, Avatar 2 was ultimately slated for release in late 2022, which was followed by Frontiers of Pandora’s E3 announcement.
Of all the forms Avatar has taken so far, video games may well be medium in size where its effect is best maximized. Despite all the flaws in his film, Cameron has created a beautifully designed and realized world that you will immediately want to inhabit. That’s why we should look forward to Frontiers of Pandora – rather than passively observing these environments, there will be a game that allows us to explore this space at our own discretion.
Some of this can be seen in the first game to take place in Pandora, which serves as a good precursor to what Frontiers of Pandora has to offer. The Avatar Bonding Game, or to give it its somewhat laborious full title James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game, has also been made by Ubisoft and as the movie released in December 2009 for Xbox 360 and PS3 among others. he received poor reviews and was almost universally recognized as an integral part of marketing.
The game, however, while not without its flaws, is a striking visual experience and the effort put into recreating the world of the film is visible. Taking place before the events of Avatar, players begin as a human soldier assigned to duty on Pandora’s moon. At first, the place does not seem friendly, but everything changes after participating in the avatar project of a certain Dr. Harper. After swapping the human body for one of the native Na’vi, new areas open up with much more of the planet’s unique flora and fauna to see.
After experiencing both sides, players then have a key choice to make: are they on the side of the RDA or the Na’vi? The former will see the game become a third-person shooter, while the latter will see more platforming and hack-and-slash action as Na’vi. It doesn’t really matter which option you choose as both campaigns have the same resolution and, more importantly, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the best part of this game, its environments anyway.
The game was as ambitious and daring with its scope and visuals as the movie itself. Beyond the immediate action, you’ll see backgrounds with trees and mountains reaching as high as the in-game camera allows, sweeping landscapes reminiscent of those of Prince of Persia. A particular highlight are the bioluminescent areas, which are as graphically impressive as those in the movie.
Frontiers of Pandora should then take inspiration from its predecessor’s book and go further: with graphics capabilities now at its highest level of realism, the groundwork laid in The Game can be built to create an even more immersive experience. While the 2009 game missions are nothing special, they are worth taking on because their framework is capable of elevating the mundane.
The creators of the upcoming Avatar game, Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment, have so far not disclosed much about the details of its content. Early trailers suggest similar, exploration-based gameplay with plenty of chances to see all of Pandora’s sights. Although only time will tell what the final product will look like.
Say what you want about Avatar, it made wonderful works of art Cameron and co. have become extraordinary environments. Previously, his only video game hinted at the possibilities of this world in a fully interactive form, but was unable to fully explore them. Yes Avatar: Pandora’s Borders can take what was hit in the game from the original movie and develop them, it could be a worthy experience that shows what the world of Avatar is fully capable of.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will be available on Xbox Series X | S, PS5, PC, and Google Stadia.