If you keep up with the latest game releases, chances are you're at least passingly aware of Respawn Entertainment's Jedi: Survivor which released on April 28th, 2023. Jedi: Survivor is a sequel to the critically-acclaimed Jedi: Fallen Order, which stunned the world in 2019 with its revolutionary gameplay and compelling story. As we began to explore Respawn's latest Star Wars adventure, it quickly became apparent that a new bar has been set for open world, action-adventure games.
As fans of James Cameron's Avatar, and with Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora news expected as early as this summer, we couldn't help but notice several things that Jedi: Survivor does well which would similarly benefit Ubisoft Massive's upcoming open-world action RPG. Here are three takeaways from Jedi: Survivor that we hope UbiMassive is paying attention to for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.
Open, but not empty
Open-world games often suffer from "hiking simulator" syndrome, where there are large swathes of environment that are simply empty, natural terrain between the more interesting focal points of the world. Jedi: Survivor does not fall into this pitfall. The world itself breathes. Between dynamic enemy encounters, documenting local flora and fauna, and tucked-away mini-narratives, even in the remotest parts of the world there are discoveries to be made.
Additionally, Jedi: Survivor creates a sense of grounded civilization by introducing settlements to its planets, something its predecessor did not have. Whether it's the frontier-reminiscent Rambler's Reach on Koboh or the Narkis Anchorite archeological outpost on Jehda, each world is benefitted by giving players a personal experience with the planet's long-term inhabitants. This builds the illusion that these civilizations have existed long before the player's arrival, and will continue to exist long after.
In a world as vast and diverse as Pandora, there is an opportunity to craft an unforgettable player experience that pulls on all of Jedi: Survivor's worldbuilding triumphs. The mix of unmarred Pandoran frontier and RDA settlement should provide diverse gameplay while helping to balance out the open world.
An eye for detail
Jedi: Survivor's excellence doesn't stop at large-scale worldbuilding, however. The attention to detail in the natural environments shows how truly impressive a next generation title can be, and is nothing short of beautiful. Sunlight filters through alien trees and onto basalt pillars not entirely unreminiscent of Pandora's Hallelujah Mountains. Water flows down natural watersheds and tumbles into rivers far below. The sound of wildlife, both seen and unseen, permeates the air.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is being developed on Ubisoft's proprietary next-gen Snowdrop engine. The announcement trailer gives a live demonstration of the in-engine capabilities, and after playing Jedi: Survivor Avatar fans can only hope that the same attention to detail is being paid to the environments in Frontiers of Pandora.
Finally, and most importantly, Jedi: Survivor's story anchors its gameplay and gives the player a reason to engage with the game. The characters are diverse, both in background and personality. Where many open world games sacrifice story for scale, Jedi: Survivor manages to do retain both by committing to over-arching narratives and small scale ones that are uncovered through exploration and discovery.
Jedi: Survivor has the benefit of being a sequel with established characters, however Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is already confirmed to have one important recurring character: Pandora itself. With the planet of Pandora anchoring its narrative, we hope that Ubisoft Massive can craft a compelling narrative that ties into the overall conflict on Pandora, creating a consistent and faithful experience for dedicated Avatar fans and newcomers alike.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is set to release sometime in the next year, with official news expected at UbiForward in June. Looking for the latest updates on the game? Join us on Discord.
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