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Ubisoft's Lush Avatar Game Finally Shows Off Its Open-World Gameplay

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora might have missed launching alongside James Cameron’s The Way of Water last December, but now we finally know more about what you’ll do in the game. During Monday’s Ubisoft Forward presentation, the publisher showed what fans can expect from its open-world take on Cameron’s epic sci-fi fantasy.

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The game opened the Ubisoft Forward event and it’s very much giving Far Cry. Taking place primarily from a first-person perspective, the trailer sees a Na’vi exploring Pandora, riding on the back of a winged beast, and swimming deep undersea before engaging in some heated firefights with those pesky militarized humans hell-bent on colonizing the gorgeous natural world.


The trailer looks gorgeous, full of lush and vibrant environments that immediately transport you to Cameron’s universe. It doesn’t take long for the beauty to give way to chaos as the Na’vi shoots down an armed helicopter, kicking off a series of shooty-shooty-bang-bang scenes against dudes and mechs. It looks quite intense and the emotive score really sets the mood.

An original Avatar story from the studio behind The Division

Cameron himself made a cameo during the presentation to shout out Massive Entertainment, the team working on Frontiers of Pandora, for their expertise in creating “living open worlds.” He went on to say that this new game, which features an original story, coexists alongside the events of the Avatar films.

“We wanted the audience to feel as though they’re really on Pandora, to dream with their eyes wide open and to explore this world,” he said. “It’s always been our vision to embrace technology to allow us to find new ways, outside the cinema, to immerse people in this world. Our friends at Ubisoft share this same ambition, and the team at Massive has been pushing the boundary of what’s possible in games to bring a new corner of Pandora to life.”

After Cameron’s spiel, game director Ditte Deenfeldt took the stage to talk more about Frontiers of Pandora. The game’s narrative will take you through winding setpieces as you embark on a journey of self-discovery, finding out what it means to be one of the Na’vi people while exploring new parts of Pandora. She also kinda casually dropped the game’s December 7 release date.

“Our ambition is to create a playground where curiosity is rewarded,” she said. “This tangible and highly immersive first-person experience will allow you to closely connect to a beautiful open world, touch and interact with it using your size, your superhuman strength, and your natural agility to gain the upper hand. Prepare to lose yourself within the beauty and danger of the Western Frontier.”

Massive, the Ubisoft studio behind The Division games, teased it was working on an Avatar adaptation in 2017. But it was years until we heard more about it. Eventually, a 2021 CGI trailer showed off Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora’s world. It looked as beautiful as the movies but provided little indication of what the game even was.

Ubisoft revealed shortly after that the game would be a current-gen exclusive, ditching the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports. The development team said it hoped to capitalize on the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X hardware to let players fly around Avatar’s world seamlessly. Ubisoft described detailed vertical environments full of reflective pools of water and realistic volumetric lighting in the clouds.

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Production at Ubisoft has occasionally struggled during the pandemic as teams adjusted to working from home, though project-specific issues have also caused delays. Earlier this year, Kotaku learned that at least one producer had recently been yanked from another major game to help finish up Frontiers of Pandora.

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