Unlike most major (or otherwise) games coming out right now, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora isn’t going to be cross-gen. In a recent interview with IGN, the game’s creative director Magnus Jansén and technical director of programming Nikolay Stefanov spoke about why Ubisoft made that decision and what that has allowed the developers at Ubisoft Massive to do. In the same interview, they also spoke about being able to make the game a much more immersive experience than it would otherwise have been.
Jansén said that immersion is key in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, as evidenced by its first person perspective, and that that transporting players completely to the world of Pandora is one of the game’s key goals.
“It’s a first-person game,” he said. “It’s, to me, the most immersive way of playing. So we’re really going all-in on that vision of, ‘Remember the movie, remember you wanted to go to Pandora.’ Now you can go to Pandora and, to do that, we needed to have the best simulation of weather, rain, animals, and the best rendering, because the more technically excellent it is, the more capable it is of taking you from where you are and into the world of Pandora.”
Stefanov, meanwhile, added that ray tracing, a new lighting system, volumetric clouds, and more, the game is able to achieve a much greater level of detail in its world, further contributing to that immersion factor.
“In terms of a new generation of consoles, the improved [hardware] just gives us so much opportunity to make sure that the game’s as immersive as possible,” Stefanov said. “So a couple of examples, we have a completely new lighting system that is based on ray tracing, and I think it is a dramatic step up in quality that makes you feel like it’s a real place. One tiny example is that it can actually handle the translucency of the leaves […] so it can figure out how much of the light is reflected through the leaves, how tinted it is with the colors and everything else. You get lovely reflections and sights for the water, even down to the volumetric clouds up in the sky – they actually receive the correct lighting as well.”
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is out next year for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC, and Stadia.