Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is Ubisoft’s upcoming game that will take us into the world of one of the greatest movies of all time. It is supposed to run next to The Way of Water, but will take place in a completely different region.
Running on the latest iteration of Ubisoft’s Snowdrop engine for the latest consoles, we expect this to be a showcase of what the Xbox Series X|S and PS5 are capable of. From what we’ve seen so far, the development team puts a lot of emphasis on Pandora’s open world, filling it with NPCs and a dynamic weather system.
We haven’t heard much about Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora lately, possibly due to Ubisoft’s reshuffling of several games being canceled. Hopefully, with the game set to release next year, we’ll hear more sooner rather than later. Here’s everything we know about the game so far, including all the latest news and rumors.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora: get to the point
- What is this? A game set in the world of James Cameron’s Avatar movies
- When can I play it? Sometime between April 2023 and March 2024
- What can I play it on? PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC and Amazon Luna
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora release date and platforms
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will be released in fiscal year 2023-2024 for PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC and Amazon Luna. This means that at some point between April 2023 and March 2024.
Frontiers of Pandora was officially revealed during the Ubisoft Forward presentation at E3 2021. We were a little surprised by this, but we’re still waiting for Ubisoft to narrow down the release window. We know (via GameSpot (opens in a new tab)) that the game had previously been delayed to Ubisoft’s financial year starting in April 2022 in response to the delay of Avatar: The Way of Water, which was finally released in December 2022.
Frontiers of Pandora, while originally scheduled to launch in 2022, is on track for a fiscal year 2023-2024 release, despite Ubisoft revealing (opens in a new tab) in January 2023 that he had dropped three unannounced projects and further delayed the upcoming Skull and Bones pirate adventure due to poor releases in late 2022.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora trailers
Ubisoft has released a tech preview for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, and while it doesn’t show any new gameplay footage, it does offer a small glimpse of what the team is looking to do with the new iteration of the Snowdrop engine.
Trailer at a glance
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora was unexpectedly revealed during the Ubisoft Forward event at E3 2021. The game was initially revealed to be released in 2022, but has since been delayed to fiscal year 2023-2024.
The trailer gives us a look at Pandora, which looks arguably even more stunning than in the 2009 movie, from its peculiar creatures to its thriving flora and fauna. But not everything on Pandora looks like a peach, as the RDA (or Resource Development Administration) wants to endanger not only the world, but also those who live on it. But the Na’vi won’t go down without a fight. Check out the trailer below:
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora: gameplay and story
Details about Frontiers of Pandora’s gameplay and story are a bit vague, but we’ve managed to glean some potential snippets from the leaked trailer and Ubisoft website.
The official page (opens in a new tab) as the game describes it as a “first-person action adventure” set in an “immersive, open world”. The description also states that the game will take players on a “standalone story” where they “play as Na’vi and embark on a journey across the western border, a never-before-seen part of Pandora.”
The first trailer gives us a brief look at this first-person perspective. We also see a Na’vi riding a mount – which doesn’t quite look like a Direhorse – suggesting we’ll be let’s hope we’ll be able to engage in mounted combat, or at least we’ll be able to traverse Pandora on (sort of) a horse.
The world also seems to be inhabited by creatures we both saw – and didn’t see – in the film, so expect some surprises. There also seems to be some kind of center where the Na’vi can congregate. Hopefully this can mean playing online – we also hope we can customize our Na’vi.
From the trailer, it also looks like the native Pandora Na’vi will face off against the RDA, as in the movie, who threaten to destroy their world and have considerable weaponized technology at their disposal. This trailer shows RDA helicopters on a warpath trying to destroy the Na’vi. Na’vi jumps on the Great Leonopteryx, firing arrows at the helicopter before the final explosive-immobilized arrow hits the vehicle, which then bursts into flames.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora: news and rumors
James Cameron shares his thoughts on Frontiers of Pandora
James Cameron revealed his thoughts on Ubisoft’s upcoming game during IGN (opens in a new tab) interview in 2022. Confirming that he was approaching hands-free, he explained:
“We are very excited about what Ubisoft is doing with their game development. I don’t tell them what to do – they know their world, their business, their market. We’re just watching closely to see if they’re doing anything that’s not canonical as far as Na’vi culture and what RDA is doing on Pandora and stuff like that.”
Years of post-launch content
Ubisoft is planning a long life for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora when it appears to be released later this year. In an interview about Q2 2022 results (via Tweak Town (opens in a new tab)), Ubisoft’s CFO Frederick Duguet said, “Avatar Frontiers of Pandora is next to the long-awaited movie, a great game. The work is progressing well and the beautiful world is provided by the Snowdrop engine. It’s going to be a very long game in terms of content delivered over many years.”
NPCs will “understand the state of the world”
In video showcasing the technology behind the game, the Avatar development team discussed how the game’s NPCs would behave and react more realistically to the game world. In the video, lead narrative execution designer Alice Rendell said that “the different things NPCs can do in the world and the different animations they have can make the world feel really alive.” As a result, according to Rendell, the team “wanted to go one step further and created a system where our NPCs understand the state of the world – such as the weather, player progress, or time of day.”
Even plant life will respond in some way, with Senior Technical Artist Kunal Luthra explaining that “the advantage of Snowdrop is that it handles quite complex shaders.” “To bring Pandora’s vegetation to life, we’ve created a number of interactive shaders that the player can influence, from real-time wind simulation and interaction to intelligent plants that respond to your presence,” explained Luthra.
Powered by Snowdrop
We know that Frontiers of Pandora is built on Ubisoft’s Snowdrop engine, and games like Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle have already used this engine.
“In February 2017, it was announced that together with Lightstorm Entertainment and FoxNext Games, we are embarking on an amazing journey into the world of Pandora, creating a new, innovative game set on the beautiful and dangerous moon of the famous movie Avatar. franchise,” Huge entertainment site (opens in a new tab) reads.
“Our studio uses its expertise and proprietary technology, the Snowdrop engine, to bring the wonders of Pandora to everyone. Players will be immersed in this amazing world.”
Focus on the current generation
Developer Ubisoft Massive has detailed why Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora won’t release on last-gen PCs like PS4 and Xbox One. As you might expect, this is due to technical reasons.
In an interview with IGN (opens in a new tab) in 2021, technical director of programming Nikolay Stefanov explained how much more of a scene can be rendered on the PS5 and Xbox Series X with their more powerful technology, explaining: “[New consoles allowed] us to get much better details of objects up close, but also when you’re flying high in the air – to have a beautiful view and rendering from a distance, where we can even use ray tracing to make shadows very far away, you know, three or four kilometers away from you.
It should also mean that areas such as dense jungles and forests will be able to load and render much more efficiently than with previous generation technology. Areas like these traditionally struggle to maintain consistent frame rates and texture quality due to the sheer number of objects that need to be rendered on the screen at any one time.