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Avatar - Pandora Rising Title Screen.png
Avatar: Pandora Rising
Game Information
Developer FoxNet
Publisher Scopely
Platform Mobile
Released Unknown
Genre Massively multiplayer mobile real time strategy game
Media type Digital Download

Avatar: Pandora Rising, previously known as the Avatar MMO, was a "massive real-time strategy and social" game for mobile devices.[1] The game was being developed by FoxNet Los Angeles and published by Scopely, in partnership with Lightstorm Entertainment.[2][3]

The game "soft launched" on October 18, 2019 in Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines for Android and iOS devices. The full game launch was planned for 2020,[4][5] but was met with frequent delays postponing its anticipated international release.

On September 12, 2020 the game was further released in Austria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.[6]

On May 11, 2021, the news was published that on June 9, 2021 the game would be taken off app stores and in-game purchases would be turned off, in preparation of some major overhauls of the game.[7]

On February 11th, 2022, the game team announced that development on the game had officially ended. Players were rewarded with gifts and a final season of the game to enjoy before the servers were shut down.[8]

Development[]

James Cameron first announced interest in an Avatar Universe MMO in April of 2011, though at the time he was suggesting it would run on 3D televisions.[9]

Confirmation of the mobile MMO came over five years later, in a press release from mobile developer Kabam on June 29, 2016. Kabam has its origins in Facebook games of the late 2000s, expanding into Android tie-ins for many film franchises in the early 2010s, including Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.[10]

Kabam's Vancouver studio was bought by South Korean gaming NetMarble in 2017, Aftershock surfaced as a spin-off from Kabam. In June 2017, the Avatar MMO was confirmed to still be in development by Aftershock, which had been acquired by FoxNext, 20th Century Fox's location-based entertainment, video game, and virtual reality division that is also involved in Avatar: Discover Pandora.[11][12]

In August 2019, a teaser site was opened with the confirmed title of Avatar: Pandora Rising, new visuals, and a newsletter signup for the official announcement planned for "the coming months".[13] The game was advertised during the Inside the World of Avatar installation at D23 Expo from August 23-25, 2019.[14] An Instagram post by Travis Williams, Vice President of Digital Game Development at Lightstorm, indicated a planned upcoming soft launch for the game.[15] Development remained under Aftershock, now renamed FoxNext Los Angeles.[16][17].

In January 2020, mobile game publisher Scopely acquired the video games department of FoxNet, LLC from Disney. Although Pandora Rising was still being developed by FoxNet Los Angeles, the merger meant the game was being published and operated under Scopely.[18]

Avatar_Pandora_Rising_Gameplay_Walkthrough_(Android,_iOS)_-_Part_1

Avatar Pandora Rising Gameplay Walkthrough (Android, iOS) - Part 1

Video showing tutorial gameplay for the Na'vi side in Avatar: Pandora Rising.

Gameplay[]

Pandora Rising was a competitive real-time battle strategy game with a focus on social interaction and teamwork. Upon beginning the game, players had the option of either joining the Na'vi or RDA factions of the game, but could play both sides after completing the tutorial.

Outside of the PvP elements, players would collect resources from the world map and craft items at different buildings in their base to progress forward in the game. Players could unlock a variety of iconic and unique Commanders who specialized in different areas of gameplay, such as PvP and PvE battles, resource collection, and hunting various fauna. Among the Commanders featured in the game, many of them were characters found elsewhere in the Avatar franchise, such as Jake Sully, Neytiri, Lyle Wainfleet, and Miles Quaritch.

After joining an Alliance, players could gather more resources in group resource collecting events, and receive access to Mo'ara Raids, a large PvE event with varying levels of difficulty. During this event, Alliance members split into teams to defeat as many of the map's bosses as possible, receiving better rewards at the end the more they defeat. The more events an Alliance participated in, the stronger they would become.

All activities in the game contributed to the main goal of the game: capturing and securing one of several willow trees (referred to as Sacred Sites for Na'vi players and Unobtanium Mines for RDA players) located across the map. During the event season, areas within the Sacred Sites became available to be claimed by Alliance members. Claiming areas involved battling other players and supporting Alliance members to make them stronger in battle. The areas within the Sacred Site had to be occupied by enough members of a specific Alliance and held by them until the event timer reached 0 for the Sacred Site to be claimed for the season. After a site was claimed, the Alliance in control of it received battle boosts to various Troops in the game, and access to special rewards, until the next season began.[19]

Commanders[]

Human
Na'vi

Continuity[]

Although the website for Pandora Rising claimed that the game "aims to set the stage for the upcoming sequel in the blockbuster franchise, creating a deep, narrative-driven game designed to reconnect fans with the rich and visually stunning Avatar universe,", the game did not feature a cohesive storyline. The continuity of the game in accordance to the Avatar timeline was also unclear. The game featured Commanders of characters who are canonically deceased in the Avatar franchise, such as Grace Augustine and Tsu'tey, as well as characters belonging to widely separate points in the universe's timeline. For example, Valke and Txopu would be living a century after other Commanders sourced from the film. Their Commander biographies both mentioned Alpha Centauri Expeditions and the Pandora Conservation Initiative, despite the companies not appearing anywhere else in the game and having only established themselves on Pandora long after the RDA had left.

The errors in continuity were never resolved before the game was discontinued, nor was a set storyline ever introduced.

References[]

  1. https://twitter.com/AVPandoraRising/status/1171861141728792577
  2. https://venturebeat.com/2020/01/22/scopely-acquires-disneys-foxnext-games-maker-of-marvel-strike-force/
  3. Scopely is credited as the publisher in the game's loading screen and website
  4. https://twitter.com/AVPandoraRising/status/1184952345542549505
  5. https://twitter.com/AVPandoraRising/status/1192925116956598272
  6. https://twitter.com/PandoraRising/status/1304827327591919618
  7. https://www.pandorarising.com/updates/the-next-phase-of-development
  8. https://avatarpandorarising.com/updates/news-from-the-avatar-pandora-rising-team
  9. http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/james-cameron-says-games-will-drive-3d-adoption-wants-to-do-3d-avatar-mmorpg/
  10. http://www.gamespot.com/articles/groundbreaking-new-avatar-mobile-game-coming-has-h/1100-6441363/
  11. http://deadline.com/2017/06/foxnext-acquires-mobile-gaming-firm-aftershock-avatar-alibaba-buys-india-ticketnew-germany-zdf-invests-black-ops-uk-producer-world-media-rights-1202107972/
  12. http://www.avatardiscoverpandora.com/avatar-discover-pandora-set-for-southeast-asia-debut-in-bangkok/
  13. https://www.pandorarising.com/
  14. https://www.ign.com/movies/28552/feature/disneys-avatar-exhibit-takes-you-back-to-pandora-d23-2019
  15. https://www.instagram.com/p/B1g8LZdpcBV/
  16. https://21cfcareers.com/OurBrands/FoxNext
  17. https://www.foxnext.com/about
  18. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.foxnextgames.avatar&hl=en_US&gl=US#:~:text=Experience%20the%20world%20of%20Pandora,in%20the%20fight%20for%20Pandora!
  19. Pandora Rising gameplay
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