Ubisoft improves ‘The Division’ engine ahead of upcoming ‘Avatar’ game

Game engine blooms into life

A new video uploaded to YouTube by Ubisoft shows improvements made to their Snowdrop engine for their upcoming Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.

The Snowdrop engine is Ubisoft’s proprietary game engine and was first used for Tom Clancy’s The Division in 2016. Since then it’s been used for Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, Starlink: Battle for Atlas, and Tom Clancy’s The Division 2.


In the clip, technical art director Sebastian Lindoff said“the world of Avatar that James Cameron and his team brought to life is epic in so many ways. It’s brimming with life, it’s bioluminescent at night, and it’s as majestic in scale as it’s rich in details”.

“As the world of Avatar is so different to anything we’ve done before, we had to do some major upgrades and big improvements to our engine” Lindoff continues.

The clip confirms that the improved Snowdrop engine will also use ray-tracing to improve the lighting across Pandora’s many varied landscapes. Senior render programmer Oleksandr Koshlo explains the improvements will allow it to show “significantly more objects than we ever had before.”

It also shows how plants and NPCs will react to players as they explore the world of Pandora. Lead narrative designer Alice Rendall says “the animations [NPCs] have can make the world feel really alive”.

Avatar CREDIT: Alamy

First announced during their E3 2021 presentation, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will be a first-person, open-world developed by Ubisoft Massive in collaboration with Lightstorm Entertainment and Disney.


Recently Ubisoft Massive’s managing director David Polfeldt stepped down from his post after 16 years. Polfeldt is expected to take another position at Ubisoft after a 6-month sabbatical.

In other news, Ubisoft recently removed fan-made Far Cry 5 recreations of levels from the N64 classic Goldeneye 007 after a copyright strike by MGM.

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