Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora NPCs "Understand The State Of The World" And React Accordingly

Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora NPCs "Understand The State Of The World" And React Accordingly

In a new video, Ubisoft Massive has detailed its work on Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, one of the biggest premiers at E3 2021. According to the team, the Na’vi title will mark a new milestone for the Snowdrop engine, expanding not only the visual quality but non-obvious elements like NPCs’ reactions to the world and the player.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, which was officially unveiled at Ubisoft Forward, is shaping up to become another massive project from Massive Entertainment. The game brings a pretty notable shift for the team, moving from the third-person modern urbanistic setting of The Division franchise to the first-person natural jungles of another planet. Bringing the Avatar’s world to life required significant efforts, as James Cameron’s “world is epic in many ways,” both “majestic in scale and rich in detail.”

Massive’s technical art director Sebastian Lindoff said Frontiers of Pandora is “so different from anything the studio has done before,” the team had to make several major upgrades to the engine. Those improvements will allow the players to experience Pandora “from dense jungles on the ground to the grand vistas high up in the skies.” For that, the devs added a new volumetric cloud system.

Senior technical artist Kunal Luthra added that Snowdrop’s microdetail system allows the developers to “propagate thousands of assets in just one frame,” leading to a lot more highly detailed environments of Pandora. Combining it with ray tracing, illuminating the planet at night, Massive reached more vibrant and more photorealistic looks.

Another impressive feature from a technical standpoint is interactive shaders that can be affected by the player, like real-time wind simulations or even intelligent plants, reacting to your presence. Of course, not only plants on Pandora will be aware of the player.

Your fellow Na’vi will perform different activities in the world with lots of unique animations to make the world really feel alive. For the Avatar project, Ubisoft has even “created a system where NPCs understand the state of the world, for example, weather, player progression, or time of day,” lead narrative realization designer Alice Rendell said. All those things will be fully dynamic, and the Pandora inhabitants will react accordingly to all changes the surroundings and your actions will bring to them.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is scheduled for a 2022 release on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC, skipping the last-gen for good.

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