Hi PlayStation Blog readers! Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will be out tomorrow on PS5, letting you to play as a Na’vi and explore a brand-new continent of Pandora: the Western Frontier. The team at Massive Entertainment – an Ubisoft Studio, in collaboration with James Cameron’s production company Lightstorm Entertainment and Disney expanded the world of Avatar, offering players the opportunity to discover new regions, clans, fauna and more.

True to the Avatar ethos

The goal for the teams at Massive and Ubisoft has always been to build upon the existing Avatar lore, allowing players to experience never-before-seen parts of Pandora firsthand. In order to do that the dev team worked closely with Lightstorm to comply to the logic of the Avatar universe. There were cultural Na’vi guidelines to abide by such as no written language nor monetary system. In addition to this, Na’vi follow Eywa’s three laws: You shall not set stone upon stone, neither use the turning wheel, nor use the metals from the ground. There were also broader guidelines for world building: Pandora being a metaphor for Earth must feel alien, yet familiar. Everything should be grounded in science, that is why the team refers to “science-fact” rather than ” science-fiction”. Finally, the world must feel epic in scale, and always combine elements of wonder and danger.  

The Aranahe Hometree is found in the Kinglor Forest.

New regions with new biomes

With these guidelines in mind, as well as a close collaboration with the Avatar filmmakers, the dev team was able to create never-before-seen regions of Pandora. The Kinglor Forest is a lush rainforest brimming with life and dense vegetation, the closer in looks to the environments seen in the first Avatar film.

The Kinglor Forest, a lush rainforest full of wonders and dangers.

Other regions were designed to contrast this familiar landscape, such as the vast and windswept Upper Plains and the foggy and mysterious Clouded Forest.

The Upper Plains, open grasslands swept by the winds.

The Clouded Forest, cluster pines biome.

New Na’vi Clans & cultures

Within these regions dwell new Na’vi clans with their own unique cultures.

The Aranahe clan of the Kinglor Forest is stylish, sophisticated, and intellectual. They have survived by valuing the needs of the community over the wants of the individual, and frown upon those who would question these ancient ways. The clan is led by Ka’nat and his daughter Etuwa, though the two do not always see eye-to-eye.

The Aranahe Clan, the master weavers.

The Zeswa of the Upper Plains are nomadic and travel with a group of giant, docile, and empathic creatures called the Zakru, whose lifecycle is intimately connected with the clan’s. The clan is led by Nesim, a forceful and instinctual warrior. Her sister Minang acts as a counterweight to her warrior instincts, but she too is shaken by the cruelty of the RDA.

The Zeswa Clan, the nomadic fierce warriors.

The Kame’tire of the Clouded Forest believe that all wounds eventually scab over and heal, so too all impurities of the spirit can be redeemed. They are taciturn and extremely reserved but extraordinary caretakers. While they may not go into battle for what they love, they will conceal, heal, and protect that which has value. The clan’s leader Anufi has slipped away from the clan, finding it easier to relate to the dead and the ancestors. In her absence, her advisor Mokasa is effectively in control, though his motives are suspect.

The Kame’tire Clan, the secretive healers.

New fauna

The dev team of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora created 46 new creatures for the game, which range in size from tiny insects to huge, thunderous animals. Anatomy and function of animals rely heavily on real-life Earth references, while still being rooted into Pandora’s natural structure.

As an example, the Echo Stalker lives in the Clouded Forest, a misty and mysterious region where creatures developed particular behaviors around hiding, as well as unique detection abilities. The Echo Stalker is a blind animal using echo-location to hunt. It’s the regional evolution of the Viperwolf, created by James Cameron’s teams for the rainforest of the first Avatar film. The bat was also an obvious terrestrial reference for this predator.

Be mindful of the noise you make in the Clouded Forest or the blind Echo Stalker might well hear you.

Another example is the Soundblast Colossus, a massive herbivore that lives in the Upper Plains. If attacked, it generates a powerful sound blast that can injure surrounding predators, knock out the player and serve as a warning for nearby preys. As its special attack shows, the Soundblast Colossus was specifically designed to take advantage of the strong winds sweeping the Upper Plains.

The massive Upper Plains creature that is the Soundblast Colossus could surprise you with its Windblast defense. Only the strongest predators dare to hunt it.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is out tomorrow. PS5 players who purchase the game will receive the Aranahe Warrior Pack for free.

You can purchase the game at PlayStation Store in multiple editions to start your own journey on Pandora:

  • The Standard Edition with the base game
  • The Gold Edition with the game and Season Pass, including two upcoming story packs ‘The Sky Breaker” and “Secrets of the Spires”, the “Familiar Echoes” bonus quest, a unique banshee, and more.

The Ultimate Edition with the game, Season Pass, Ultimate Pack, and digital art book.

Sivako!

Hi, PlayStation Blog readers. The Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora team has been working hard to leverage the PlayStation 5’s unique features to make playing the game as immersive an experience as possible. Read on to discover how Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora takes advantage of the PS5’s adaptive triggers, haptic feedback, and much more.


Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora utilizes PS5’s unique features to become Na’vi

Raytracing

In Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, the world of Pandora is enhanced by hardware-accelerated raytracing on PS5 with both raytraced dynamic global illumination and raytraced reflections. These systems fully integrate with Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora’s rendering systems like terrain, water, fog, and cloud systems. All these rendering systems adapt dynamically to the game’s changing weather patterns and the changes to the time of day.

Also, Ray Marched Volumetric clouds coupled with improved atmospherics and sky rendering allow for dramatic weather effects like thunderstorms.

Dynamic environments & stunning visuals  

Pandora’s environments can change dynamically, where in-game events create large-scale world changes. This includes installations from the human militaristic corporation, the RDA, clear-cutting Pandora’s forests and creating extensive pollution, which dynamically impacts Pandora’s vegetation.

The beauty of Pandora also lies in its micro-detail rendering system, so expect a great level of detail in small leaves, moss, branches, or even tiny ambient critters.

Adaptive triggers and haptic feedback  

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora combines the DualSense Wireless Controller’s adaptive triggers with haptic feedback to create a rich, tactile experience. Feel the tension of your Na’vi bow string when aiming or the recoil of your human weapon when firing, and carefully adjust the tension of the triggers while harvesting resources to optimize their quality.

There are well over 400 unique haptic effects throughout the game. Experience the joyful surprises of Pandora by touching the reactive flora around you and feel how they react through the haptic feedback in your hands. In Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, you can feel the Helicoradian plants folding in around you as you pass close to them, the footsteps of heavy animals like Sturmbeest and Soundblast Colossus as they get closer to the player, the roar of a Thanathor as it stalks you when you enter its territory, and of course, environmental effects, like waterfalls, lightning strikes, heavy wind, rain hitting your weapons, and the thrum of focusing with your Na’vi senses.

For animal lovers, you’ll feel the feedback from wildlife as you pet and soothe it, including the breath and purr of your very own Ikran.

While traversing Pandora’s Western Frontier, you’ll feel the rush of adrenaline while soaring the skies on your Ikran, and the subtle shift in feedback while sprinting, sliding, jumping, swimming, climbing, traversing up or down a Lift Vine, or riding on a Direhorse.

3D audio

A key goal for the audio team working on Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora was to make Pandora come to life from every angle. Almost every sound in the environment is 3D-positioned, so when players move around, the sounds maintain their relative positions, like they would in the real world.

Pandora constantly reacts to the player and to itself. Wildlife panics or quietens after hearing unfamiliar sounds like gunshots, or heavy RDA machinery. Plants rustle as the player brushes past them, raindrops drizzle onto plant leaves, and wind gusts can be heard in sync with swaying tree branches.

All this truly comes to life with the PS5’s 3D Audio, providing a new sensory feeling of immersion, and a sense of space and connection to the world that wasn’t possible before.

How to pre-order

Prepare to become Na’vi and fight for Pandora in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, coming to PS5 on December 7. PS5 players will receive the Aranahe Warrior Pack for free.

You can pre-order the game at PlayStation Store in multiple editions:

  • The Standard Edition includes the base game.
  • The Gold Edition includes the game and Season Pass, two story packs, the Familiar Echoes bonus quest, a unique banshee, and more. Face a mysterious shadow in The Sky Breaker story pack and engage in epic aerial battles as you discover the secret of the new canyon region in the Secrets of the Spires story pack.
  • The Ultimate Edition includes the game, Season Pass (2 story packs, a bonus quest, a unique banshee, and more), Ultimate Pack, and digital art book.

With your pre-order of any edition, you will receive the Child of Two Worlds pre-order bonus with a character cosmetic set and a weapon skin.

Sivako!

One of the most beautiful worlds in all of cinema is blossoming to life on PlayStation 5 in a big way. Pandora, the breathtaking alien world of the Avatar films, takes center stage in Ubisoft’s Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora—alongside your own player-created Na’vi protagonist. If you, like millions around the globe, were enchanted by the colorful, expansive wildness of this faraway moon in the theater, get ready—you’re going to experience the wonders and dangers of this world firsthand through your own eyes.

We recently had the opportunity to go hands-on with Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, a first-person, open-world action-adventure,  and experience a small slice of what it had to offer—though that small slice delivered plenty of big-time action and exploration.

Return to your roots

As a Na’vi who was formerly held captive by the RDA, you have returned to Pandora’s Western Frontier as an outsider to the Na’vi tribes who live there. But the RDA is destroying and exploiting these sacred lands, and you have the inside knowledge that could take them down… if you can convince the tribes to fight back against these oppressive forces.

Our demo session began with a simple retrieval quest: collecting mangrove hive nectar for the Kinglor Queen ritual. Here, we got to see how gathering raw materials for crafting and food works. Some items found in the fields can be gathered up with just a simple button press, but others require a bit more effort, such as using the DualSense controller analog sticks and haptic feedback to determine the correct angle to pull out a plant to avoid damage. Collecting items carefully and under the right conditions, such as at a certain time of day or in specific weather, can affect their quality and, subsequently, the quality of what you make out of them.

After getting the nectar, we returned only to discover that the Kinglor were in very bad shape, no doubt thanks the the RDA’s interference—but the Aranhe tribe elders are reluctant to fight back, preferring to stay out of combat. But a few others aren’t going to take this lying down, and have concocted a scheme to assault the RDA base from the air—which, of course, requires something to fly on.

Onwards and upwards

So, with the aid of our companions, we seek out an Ikran of our very own to bond with—but first, we do some preparation in the village, crafting weapons with the haul we brought back and upgrading abilities using skill points we’ve earned from our quests. That proved to be a good idea, because we had quite the climb ahead of us.

The mountain lair of the Ikran—a flying reptile-like creature—is well-known to the locals, but as a stranger among the tribe, we’d have to prove our worth to both our companions and the mountain banshee we wanted to befriend. Fortunately, Na’vi are nothing if not extremely well-suited to getting around these somewhat harsh environments: holding down the jump button before leaping sent us flying higher and further, and a quick tap of the button again mid-jump would give us a slight boost to get us just over those impossible-looking leaps of faith. Various puzzles littered the craggy hills, as well, requiring us to find and touch gateway plants to open passages as well as shoot targets to create climbable vines.

But perhaps the biggest challenge was getting the Ikran to give us the time of day. They’re very picky about those they partner with, and you’d better show them that you’re good enough, even if it means chasing them to the highest peak—then leaping off to prove your bond of trust.

Into the fray

After quality bonding time with our Ikran (who we gave the noble name of “Floof”), we spent time with Etuwa, daughter of the Aranahe clan leader and firebrand itching to take on the RDF. She’s far more eager to take the fight directly to the forces than her father, and together we plan a direct aerial assault.

After locating the RDA’s disruptive aerial devices and hacking them—using some of their own tools—we hopped on our Ikrans again and flew straight to the RDA outpost to take it down directly. This proved to be quite a challenge: there are multiple approaches players can take—being stealthy and avoiding detection by waltzing past security silently, or flying in head-first, arrows blazing, to reach all the objectives as quickly as possible. We eventually found success with something of a hybrid approach, drawing enemies’ attention to one area and then quickly slipping away to complete the next objective. It helped that we had some food before we went in, keeping our energy levels high (allowing us to regenerate health) and, as a bonus effect, adding a bit of fleet to our footwork.

Still, it was a dangerous mission, with plenty of heavily armed enemies even our best stolen RDA weaponry wouldn’t likely take down easily, and when we finally escaped we breathed a sigh of relief—only to find Etuwa gravely injured. Would this be the spark to ignite the fire of resistance in the Aranahe?

It was clear from the amount of sidequests we saw on the Quests tab—as well as the size of the map and all of the various markers dotting it—that there was still plenty to see that we weren’t able to fully explore in the allotted time. Suffice to say, the wilds of Pandora are going to offer plenty of thrilling adventure and drama for players brave enough to venture there.

Your evolving Na’vi

Completing quests and sidequests awards you with skill points you can use to bolster your Na’vi character’s abilities. Skills are grouped into trees that suit different roles, such as Hunter, Warrior, Survivor, and Maker. The Survivor tree, for example, grants skill that aid in endurance and stamina, such as boosting energy and damage resistance. You can hyper-focus in on one specific tree, or spread your points out for a more well-rounded build.

Alongside skill trees, you will have access to an in-depth crafting system. Using materials you gather from across the land, you can create specialized weapons, ammunition, gear, and more, all tailored to your preferred playstyle. With additional character appearance customization options, your adventure through the wilderness of Pandora will truly be your own.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora launches December 7 on PlayStation 5.