Nearly seven years after the game’s announcement, Ubisoft Massive is finally about to release Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. The first-person open world action/adventure game will launch on Thursday, December 7, for PC (Ubisoft Connect, Epic Games Store), PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series S|X.
It’s the second game set in James Cameron’s sci-fi universe after 2009’s Avatar: The Game (which, interestingly enough, was also made by Ubisoft, albeit at the Montréal studio). That game was a mere tie-in, though, and was largely panned by critics when it came out despite selling over 2.7 million copies on brand name alone.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is completely different. Ubisoft Massive has crafted an entirely original story featuring new characters and even new locales compared to what we’ve seen in the movies. Players will take the role of a young Na’vi orphan trained by the human RDA (Resources Development Administration) and then put into hibernation, waking up fifteen years later.
They’ll be able to use both Na’vi and human weaponry to liberate the Western Frontier from the yoke of the RDA, and cooperative multiplayer is supported. On PC, players who purchase a new Radeon 7000 GPU and/or Ryzen 7000 CPU at select retailers can get a free code thanks to the AMD bundle.
Ahead of the launch, we sent a few questions to Ubisoft Massive to learn more about Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora’s inspirations, game mechanics, and tech features.
Why did you settle on the Western Frontier for the game’s setting?
We chose this setting because it offered us a lot of creative freedom to expand upon the existing lore of the franchise while also allowing us to explore new and exciting stories and characters.
At the same time, we wanted to make sure that our game was still an authentic part of the Avatar franchise and that it would appeal to fans of the movies as well as new players. By carefully researching and studying the world of Avatar and working closely with the Lightstorm and Disney teams, we were able to create a setting that felt both fresh and familiar, and that we believe will resonate with a wide range of players.
Will there be any appearances from Na’vi or human characters from the movies?
While the game is set in the same universe and timeline and might include references to the Avatar films, no characters from the films appear in the game. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora has a cast of brand-new, memorable characters in a standalone story set in the Avatar film franchise.
How many regions will be in the game? Are they seamlessly connected (e.g., no loading screens between them)?
The Western Frontier consists of three regions that are seamlessly connected, including the Kinglor Forest, the Upper Plains, and the Clouded Forest.
You mentioned having to earn the trust of the Na’vi clans. Does that imply a reputation system, or will that happen simply as a part of the narrative? Also, do you actually get to join a specific clan at some point?
This will happen as part of the narrative. You discover that you are a member of the respected Sarentu clan, and along your journey, you’ll meet the Aranahe, Zeswa, and Kame’tire clans.
Is there going to be a lot of side content in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora? If so, can you break down what that will look like?
There are a variety of side quests and exploration challenges in the game that will have you freeing trapped animals, wandering around the forest at night investigating sounds, visiting Na’vi settlements, and more.
You said that dismantling RDA operations will return the environment to its natural state, providing better resources for crafting. How important is crafting in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora? Also, will players unlock new stories and missions after they’ve liberated these RDA outposts?
The crafting system allows players to craft and upgrade gear and weapons in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora using materials acquired in the environment through harvesting and hunting. Rarer materials can be found in unique environments that are particularly beneficial for the plant or wildlife. Additionally, the better a material is harvested, the better the outcome of the crafted item.
Yes, the main story follows a linear progression, and players will unlock new missions as they progress through the story.
Will aerial combat be available during every combat situation (after you’ve learned how to fly a banshee), or are players going to be restricted to on foot in some instances?
Aerial combat may not always be an option in every combat situation. For instance, your ikran may not be available on the Upper Plains due to the harsh winds, so you may be restricted to on foot combat, or it makes an ideal time to befriend a direhorse.
Will the game switch to third-person when moving through peaceful hubs?
The game will switch to third-person during the exhilarating moments of flying on an ikran or galloping on a direhorse to ensure players have the smoothest and most enjoyable experience. This also allows us to showcase the breathtaking beauty of Pandora and its vast landscapes in a way that is visually stunning.
How long do you think it’ll take for the average player to complete the game?
How long a player will spend in the game can vary widely depending on how they play. In Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, players can explore a vast new area of Pandora, the Western Frontier. With a robust main campaign and plenty of side quests, the overall length will vary depending on how players approach exploration along with these missions and story beats.
Can you discuss how the co-op is going to work in terms of progress synchronization? Will it support cross-play?
In co-op, one player acts as the host and the other is the guest. The world will reflect the host’s progress as the co-op session begins. Guest players will keep their progress in co-op, along with any gear, items, or collectibles earned. Cross-play is supported across PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Amazon Luna.
Is there going to be a 60FPS mode available on consoles?
Thank you for your time.