Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is an upcoming first-person action-adventure game set in the stunning fantasy world of Pandora, made famous by the James Cameron movie. Developed by Ubisoft Massive, the game is slated to release on December 7, 2023, for PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC. The game was first announced in 2017 and had initially planned to release in 2022 to coincide with the launch of Avatar: The Way of Water, but was pushed back another year. The game was recently showcased in a behind-closed-doors presentation at Summer Games Fest, where journalists were given a glimpse of the game’s stunning visuals and gameplay mechanics.
The game is set in an open world format, and players take on the role of a Na’ vi, an alien race native to Pandora, who had been abducted and trained to be a weapon by humans. The story kicks off during the events of the first Avatar movie, where the protagonist is rescued and put into cryosleep until the events of Avatar 2, where the game’s story begins. Players will need to reconnect with Pandora and discover the ways of the Na’ vi, offering a perfect setup for immersion in the game.
The game’s core mechanics feel like a Far Cry rip-off. Still, Massive has tweaked it to fit the world of Pandora, offering variations that include elements such as specific flora collection, where players have to pay attention to the natural flora and take only what they need. Collecting the right flora rewards players with better quality ingredients, which allows them to cook better food or make more effective upgrades to their gear. Additionally, the game is playable both in single-player or two-player co-op mode.
The game’s open-world nature follows the same beaten path formula as other Ubisoft titles – players need to liberate areas from the big military guys in order to progress in the game. However, the game deviates from that formula with variations that include a pet that helps players battle, as well as an extensive range of local animals to befriend. James Cameron worked with Ubisoft Massive to ensure that the game would be more than another licensing cash-in, and Massive has done an excellent job of incorporating the stunning Pandora landscapes into the game.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is more than just an homage to James Cameron’s Avatar. It’s a legitimate expansion of the world of Pandora, offering players new stories with new technology, according to Cameron. However, the game’s feel in the hands of players will ultimately determine whether it becomes an instant classic or merely another open-world Ubisoft title.