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The publisher revealed the first Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora trailer and gameplay details at E3 this month.
“The world of Avatar that James Cameron and his team brought to life is epic in so many ways. It’s brimming with life, it’s bioluminescent at night, and it’s as majestic in scale as it’s rich in details”, technical art director Sebastian Lindoff said in the video (above).
“As the world of Avatar is so different to anything we’ve done before, we had to do some major upgrades and big improvements to our engine.”
These include “many interactive shaders that can be affected by the player, from real time wind simulations and interactions to intelligence plants reacting to your presence”, according to senior technical artist Kunal Luthra.
As well as exploring dense jungles, players will take to Pandora’s skies piloting Banshees, and Ubisoft has introduced a new volumetric cloud system.
The video also covers ray tracing features and promises NPCs that understand and react to the state of the world, including things like the weather, player progression, and the time of day.
Snowdrop was previously used to develop The Division and The Division 2, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, and Starlink: Battle for Atlas. It’s also being used for the upcoming Rocksmith+ and Massive’s open-world Star Wars game.
“The teams at Ubisoft have done a fantastic job improving Snowdrop. In every project we do, we push the engine further, but Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is without a doubt the biggest leap we have made so far,” said Lindoff.
“We believe it will provide our players with a truly immersive Avatar experience on the new generation of hardware.”