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Could Avatar and Star Wars signify a change in Ubisoft's tired grindy RPG gameplay?

Could Avatar and Star Wars signify a change in Ubisoft's tired, grindy RPG gameplay? (Image by ubisoft)
Could Avatar and Star Wars signify a change in Ubisoft's tired, grindy RPG gameplay? (Image by ubisoft)
FEATURED WRITER

Ubisoft recently unveiled Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, a game set around the world created by the popular movie.

The frictional world of Pandora and the entire Avatar universe came into existence with the 2009 motion picture Avatar, directed by James Cameron. The movie introduces the planet Pandora, populated by the Na’vi species. The movie broke the box office and held on to the title of Highest Earning Movie for a decade, until Avengers Endgame.

Ubisoft previously published a movie tie-in game, James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game, in 2009.


Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora could be a massive shift in Ubisoft’s gameplay design

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora was officially unveiled at the June Ubisoft Forward with a 2:45 minutes long first look trailer, as part of E3 2021. The trailer showcased in-engine footage of the world of Pandora, filled with flora and fauna native to the homeworld of Na’vi.

The game is being developed by Massive Entertainment, on their snowdrop engine with a target release date of 2022. The game is being targeted for current-gen consoles only, with no plans for a PS4 or Xbox One version. It will be released on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, Google Stadia, and Amazon Luna. Considering the game will be available on both Google and Amazon’s cloud platform, it might also be made available for Xbox One using Xbox Cloud Gaming, similar to Xbox’s plan for Flight Simulator and Starfield.

Ubisoft has remained tight-lipped regarding gameplay by only mentioning it as a first-person open-world action-adventure game. The game is being designed by Ubisoft’s Massive Entertainment, well known for Tom Clancy’s The Divison Series.


Ubisoft building shift in gameplay could come to fruition in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and the Untitled Star Wars game

It was also recently announced that Massive Entertainment will also be developing a Star Wars game in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games.

Until recently, Star Wars games were solely developed and published by EA. Some of the most notable games include Battlefront I & II, Jedi Fallen Order, and Star Wars Squadron. It was recently revealed that Ubisoft got a deal for the Star Wars game after Disney was impressed by Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. The announcement of another Ubisoft-developed Star Wars game came as a surprise, but with major concern.

Ubisoft is known for repeating its gameplay mechanics. The trend has been to include 3rd person gameplay with RPG mechanics such as a tiered loot in a massive sprawling world with too much grind. This trend, which started from the first Division game, has affected many Ubisoft series including Ghost Recon (Breakpoint), Far Cry (New Dawn) and Assassin’s Creed (Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla)

The massive backlash due to Ghost Recon Breakpoint turning into a Division clone caused Ubisoft to delay and reconsider the gameplay of several of their games including Watch Dogs Legion, Immortal Fynx Rising (Gods & Monsters), Rainbow Six Extraction (Quarantine), Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Far Cry 6.

The recent Ubisoft games such as Watch Dogs Legion, Assassin Creed Valhalla, Immortal Fynx Rising (Gods & Monsters), and Far Cry 6 have shifted from the tiering mechanics.

The shift in gameplay design for Ubisoft could come to fruition in the Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, and be built upon in the Star Wars game. Until then, fans can only wait in the hope of seeing Ubisoft return to its glory days.

Edited by Gautham Balaji
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