Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora creative director, Magnus Jansen, and technical director of programming, Nikolay Stefanov, have told IGN that the upcoming title is skipping last-gen platforms because quite a few of the game’s key features would struggle on older hardware.
For instance, players will be flying over extensively detailed vistas at “enormous high speeds,” which require the power of newer hard drives. Additionally, new consoles won’t limit the game’s map design.
“It’s not just the old ‘I’m taking this slow walk as I enter into the place because we have to stream everything in’,” Jansen told IGN. “It’s little subtle things that people don’t think about, which is how close together are all the places in the world. If you look at, with the old hard drives, they had to be spaced out very far [apart], because you had to stream out the old and stream in the new, so it just created a formulaic world.”
Jansen added that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S processing power will also help with the development of enemies and creature AI in myriad ways.
“The wildlife, the AI, the way that they track you, the way that they attack you, the advances in technology and the way that we are taking advantage of the power with our in-house Snowdrop engine is allowing us [to] do amazing things that would not be possible [otherwise],” Jansen continued.
Last but not least, Ubisoft believes that new consoles offer a level of immersion that isn’t possible on last-gen consoles.
“We have a completely new lighting system that is based on ray tracing, and I think it is a dramatic step up in quality that makes you feel like it’s a real place,” Stefanov explained. “One tiny example is that it can actually handle the translucency of the leaves […] so it can figure out how much of the light is reflected through the leaves, how tinted it is with the colors and everything else. You get lovely reflections and sights for the water, even down to the volumetric clouds up in the sky – they actually receive the correct lighting as well.”
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora has yet to be dated.