When the most prolific film in history joins forces with a video game giant like Ubisoft, it is to “extend” its universe, explains to AFP the producer of Avatar, whose game “Frontiers of Pandora” “must accompany the release of the second opus scheduled for the end of 2022.
Since the presentation in mid-June at E3 of the first images of the future adventure game based on the sci-fi film by director James Cameron, the enthusiasm of fans of the blue characters on social networks has been at the height of the ‘waiting for the theatrical release of the next installment of the American blockbuster.
“What we showed last week is just a taste of what will be a much larger and deeper experience,” says Jon Landau, executive of Lightstorm Entertainment and producer of the hit films Titanic and Avatar, in an interview with AFP.
Seduced by the “passion” of the teams of the French publisher for the world of Avatar but also by their collaboration on the game derived from the first episode dating from 2009, Lightstorm has decided to join forces again with Ubisoft.
It is the studio of Ubisoft Massive, based in Malmö in Sweden and composed of 700 people which will be in charge, in association with Disney, of developing the open world game taking place on Pandora, the fictional planet theater of the intrigue. of the movie.
“They made impressive plays,” enthuses Jon Landau. “We wanted someone else to take our world and bring their expertise with the same philosophy, the same passion that we have.”
– “Parallel” stories –
After acquiring most of the assets of the 21st Century Fox Group, Disney is now at the helm of the Avatar and Marvel franchises, which occupy seven of the top ten biggest hits of all time.
Four new installments of Avatar are already planned, with releases in December 2022, December 2024, December 2026 and December 2028.
A time ahead of the last installment of the Avengers trilogy, which in 2019 had accumulated more than $ 2.790 billion in revenues worldwide, Avatar once again became in 2021 the film that grossed the most money in the history of the cinema, after being released in China last winter.
For the cinema industry, why has it become almost essential to develop a video game derived from films, like the Marvel and Star Wars sagas, whose next game will also be developed by Ubisoft?
“What you can do in a movie is limited to movie theater scenes. We can’t explore everything in a place like Pandora. We have to go beyond that,” Jon Landau replies.
“Through collaborations with companies like Ubisoft Massive, we can extend (the universe) and give fans a place to go,” he adds.
In the game, “it’s not the same story” as that of the film but “a kind of parallel story” so that “the two stories could coexist together in a larger Avatar universe”, underlines the American producer. .
“It’s an extension of the movie experience, and the movie is definitely an extension of the video game experience. It goes both ways,” he adds.
– Immersion in Pandora –
Concretely, how will the collaboration between the different teams take place?
The idea is to “co-create” the video game, from new creatures to characters, including the decor, to offer a “happy surprise” to fans, explains to AFP Magnus Jansen, creative director at Ubisoft Massive, including the origin of the hit game The Division.
Designed with the latest version of the Snowdrop game engine – a real-time simulator that helps create the game world as the player moves through it – the Avatar game is aimed at next-gen consoles (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series , …) to take advantage of the latest technologies and offer players the most “immersive” experience possible.
“When you fly in the game, things happen to you at a speed that we cannot faithfully reproduce with older consoles,” emphasizes Magnus Jansen. By targeting exclusively the new consoles, it allows us to bring Pandora to life. “