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Ubisoft explains why Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora had to be a new-gen game

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is set to release in 2022, but it’s been in development since 2017 – so why has Ubisoft decided only Luna, PC, PS5, Stadia, and Xbox Series X/S can run it?

In a new interview with IGN, the game’s creative director, Magnus Jansen, and technical director of programming, Nikolay Stefanov, explained why the developer is targeting new consoles for the ambitious title.

The pair discussed four main points: flying, immersion, AI, and map design.

“[New consoles allowed] us to have much better object detail up close to you,” explained Stefanove when talking about making the game work when you’re flying around on your aerial beast companions, known as Banshees. “But also when you’re flying high up in the air – to have a lovely vista and far-distance rendering, where we can even use the ray tracing to do shadows super far away, you know, three or four kilometres away from you.”

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Apparently, in using the new hardware, the developers have been able to knit the world together in a more player-friendly way, too. “If you look at, with the old hard drives, they had to be spaced out very far [apart], because you had to stream out the old and stream in the new, so it just created a formulaic world. So, there’s a ton of stuff like that,” Jansen noted when talking about how the studio can now pack more interesting content in between hubs.

These advancements apply to the AI, too. “The wildlife, the AI, the way that they track you, the way that they attack you, the advances in technology and the way that we are taking advantage of the power with our in-house Snowdrop engine is allowing us [to] do amazing things that would not be possible [otherwise],” said Stefanov.

Finally, the duo talked graphics – saying that thanks to the game being first-person, it’s far more immersive and fulfils the fantasy for players that wanted to go to Pandora ever since they saw the alien planet in the Avatar movie.

“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,” explained Stefanov, before going on to detail the new ray-tracing based lighting system – and how it can even handle the translucency of leaves.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a first-person action-adventure game that will focus on the battle of the Na’vi against humans and their industrialization of Pandora. It comes to Luna, PC, PS5, Stadia, and Xbox Series X/S in 2022.

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