Ubisoft-owned game studio Massive Entertainment, which is best known for developing the third-person online shooter The Division, has revealed that it's working with Fox Interactive and James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment production company on a new game set on Pandora, the exotic, possibly sexy depending on your taste, world at the center of Cameron's 2009 hit film Avatar.
"Massive is embarking on an amazing journey, together with Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox Interactive, to the world of Pandora, developing a cutting-edge new game for consoles and PC set on the beautiful and dangerous moon from the prominent Avatar film franchise," Massive's Avatar Project page states. "Our studio is leveraging its expertise and its proprietary technology, the Snowdrop engine, to deliver to everybody the wonders of Pandora."
The trailer doesn't get into how the game will actually play, but it sounds like it might be a kind of themed Second Life sort of thing. "[The game] should be the ultimate experience, where you actually go to Pandora, and where you can live an alternative life on the moon," creative director Magnus Jansen said in the video.
"Every player gets to choose how they want to experience this incredible universe," associate creative director Ditte Deenfeldt added.
Setting aside questions about much interest people may or may not have in a game based on Avatar at this point, which was very much sold on its then ground-breaking 3D element, the announcement of this project could be worrisome for fans of Massive's current game, The Division.
Today also saw the launch of Last Stand, the third and final expansion included in The Division's season pass, and the 1.6 update, and while that's probably a coincidence, heading up the development of a major new game while simultaneously supporting and creating new content for an existing big-budget shooter would be an awfully big undertaking.
It's strictly speculation, but taking on a big new project isn't the sort of thing that's inherently reflective of a strong and deep-seated commitment to existing ones. I've emailed Ubisoft for more information about the new Avatar game and what impact it may have on The Division, and will update if and when I receive a reply.