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Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora looks like a next-gen tech showcase

Ray tracing! Object detail! NPCs who are aware of the weather! More!

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a next-gen exclusive game - it's due out on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S and Stadia at some point in 2022 (assuming it doesn't get delayed). But what does being next-gen exclusive actually mean?

In the video below, developer Massive Entertainment discusses how the team has improved its Snowdrop game engine - the one it used to build The Division - to make use of the more powerful hardware.

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There's a lot of talk about ray tracing and object detail, which is great. And Avatar does look like quite the tech powerhouse - a game that will actually push those next-gen consoles. But my ears were pricked by something Alice Rendell, lead narrative realisation designer, mentioned too: Massive has created a system where NPCs understand the state of the world. For example, they're aware of the weather, player progression and time of day. That sounds pretty cool, and I'm already imagining NPCs complaining about the rain. It rains on Pandora, right?

Ubisoft is calling Frontiers of Pandora a first-person action-adventure and a "immersive, open world experience". The trailer Ubisoft released at E3 is below:

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You play as a Na'vi in a story set in the Western Frontier, a never-before-seen part of Pandora. Expect a "living and reactive world inhabited by unique creatures and new characters, and push back the formidable RDA forces that threaten it".