It’s got to be for the best, right? The upcoming Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora game will skip past the characters and plot of the original Avatar film and its upcoming sequel, in favor of telling an all-new story.
“There was a time 15 or 20 years ago where playing the movie was something. You bought the game and played the movie,” Luigi Priore, vice president of Disney and Pixar Games, told VentureBeat in an interview.
“Things like the classic Aladdin game on Sega Genesis. You played the film. That was popular at the time, but gamers expect more now. They want to interact with their favorite characters and worlds, but they want to play new stories and do new things with those characters and worlds.”
And so like the humans of the Avatar franchise, the developers at Ubisoft’s Massive Entertainment are instead plundering that franchise’s world of Pandora for their own tale to tell.
Not that you shouldn’t expect lots of giant blue cat people of course.
“The whole idea is to have it be part of the storyline of that giant franchise on Pandora, but it’s not a ‘play the movie’ game. It’s an all new open world, new characters,” Priore added.
“That’s why it’s called Frontiers of Pandora. It takes place on another frontier, another area of the moon of Pandora.”
A wise decision
It makes sense – I wonder how many people out there can actually name a single character in Avatar? Or remember the relationships between them? Avatar had its high points, but it certainly wasn’t its on-the-nose colonial storyline. Rather, it was the otherworldly-visuals and alien flora and fauna that had us staring in awe at the screen.
The gravity-defying tropical world certainly will make a rich backdrop for a game – one that will likely sell better if an original storyline, leaning into the strengths of interactive storytelling, can be paired with it. And for fans of the original film, they’ll always have the untold number of upcoming sequels to enjoy, while newcomers to the franchise can dive in cold without much need for prior knowledge of the series. Win win.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora was a surprisingly exciting announcement at E3 2021, and though we’re skeptical about the franchise as a whole, and have only seen a heavily-directed trailer rather than gameplay of the game, we’re quietly keen to see how this shapes up. There’s no release date beyond a rough 2022 window, but expect to find the game on Windows, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S platforms.