Games such as Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora are in a weird position as to where it belongs in the current timeline. It’s one of those video games where the movie it’s based on is much more popular so the game developers aren’t going to do anything to contradict the story. That’s usually placing the game before the events of its movie counterparts or after so they can align it with canon.
Massive Entertainment takes an interesting approach in regards to Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora’s timeline. This new open world Avatar game published by Ubisoft has a comfortable place among the movies.
When Does Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora Take Place?
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora begins in 2146 which is eight years before the Battle of Hallelujah Mountains in the first Avatar movie. However during 2154, the protagonist is placed in cryosleep for 15 years when the game officially begins at 2169 just a bit before the events of The Way of Water.
You play as a young Na’vi who is being trained by the Resource Development Administration to fight against their own kind. This takes place during year 2146 which is eight years before the events of the first Avatar movie. During the Battle of Hallelujah Mountains in 2154, you’re placed into cryosleep for your own protection. You wake up fifteen years later in 2169, a year before the events of The Way of Water.
Because of the events that happen in the game, Frontiers of Pandora will most likely take place at the same time, at least some of it, as The Way of Water. However since it takes place in a different corner of Pandora, the two stories won’t crossover with each other. The Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora connection with the movies remains present but can be enjoyed as a standalone experience.
In Frontiers of Pandora, you play as a natural-born Na’vi during the time of RDA’s colonization of the planet. This is in stark contrast to the first film and the 2009 Avatar game where you play as a human-made Na’vi through the Avatar program. Massive Entertainment is clearly taking a more Far Cry approach when it comes to the gameplay.
Set in the never-before-seen Western Frontier, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is able to tell its own story without interfering with the events in The Way of Water. You play as your own character-created protagonist fighting against the RDA to free your land. Since Frontiers of Pandora is considered canon, every new character, clan, or lore you come across is part of the official Avatar universe.
According to Magnus Jansén, there are some talks about some of the Na’vi clans found in Frontiers of Pandora to be included in the third Avatar movie. You may see some familiar faces appearing some time in the future that you’ll want to go back and revisit Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.