When making a video game set within an established universe, one of the worst things you can do is make a game that feels almost “too much” like a previous story. Yes, some adaptations, like movie adaptations, can intentionally repeat the story, but that’s because they want people to feel what it was like in the movie but from a different perspective. With something like Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora, Ubisoft wasn’t doing that, but instead, they were creating a new part of the world of Pandora with all-new characters to be and interact with. That meant they had to do their best to “feel part of the world” while being their own thing compared to the movies.
That’s not easy to do, given the success of the first two films in the James Cameron series. The good news is that James Cameron not only supported the game, but he offered the team tools to help get them over the hump. In a revelation to ComicBook.com, Game Director Magnus Jensen said that they were given access to the script of the second film during early production and access to the scripts of the next movie, too!
“For us to be able to properly fit into the timeline — because we started work on this game before Avatar: The Way of Water was out — yeah, we had access to the script, not just to Avatar: The Way of Water, but some upcoming movies as well. Various amounts, of course,” noted Jensen. “And there’s a couple of reasons for that. First, the most important reason is that, you know, we need to fit right in. We need to go there, we need to sort of gel and feel like it’s part of the same world. There’s a second very practical reason as well. As we pitch cool new set pieces and cool new story twists, or whatever, we don’t want to cannibalize on each other, as well.”
And that is completely understandable and a clever way to handle things. After all, the story did need to stand on its own, and by having access to what happened in the next films, they could ensure they didn’t copy something that was going to happen, nor do something that was a “lesser version” of what would happen later on.
With that intel from James Cameron, Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora might just be a legendary video game and could do as well as the movies in certain ways. We’ll have to wait and see if that holds up!