Narrative and Character Development

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AVATAR (2009) is a science fiction epic directed by James Cameron centred around a growing conflict between a human corporation and an alien species Known as the Na’vi, on the latter’s native planet of Pandora. Like most blockbusters a third person shooter tie-in was also released by developer Ubisoft.

The video game, James’ Cameron’s AVATAR: The Game, is set two years prior in the form of a prequel. Despite this it does little to expand on the films cannon and instead offers up a similarly tailored adventure that adheres to the basic parameters of the movie, utilising many of the same key moments across a clear and discernible 3 act structure. A cross comparative analysis of the two mediums, utilising Volger’s 12 steps Hero’s Journey demonstrates however how the games at first honours this time honoured journey, being plotted along Volger’s step before discarding them to its own detriment.

The similarities in the narrative structure of both the film and the game differ little, particularly across their first act structures. Much like the films protagonist Jake Scully your character avatar, Able Ryder, will similarly find him/herself awakening from cryo after a prolonged journey from earth, leaving the ‘ordinay world’ and answering the ‘call to adventure’ within the exotic forests of Pandora. The hero archetype Jake is a fully realised character from the films introduction, who during the film’s first act quickly traverses Volger’s first two narrative points through a series of cut scenes and narration. There is no vagueness surrounding Jake’s character, the internal polarities of that character or the ordinary world he is leaving. The remaining narrative points (‘refusal of the call’, ‘meeting the mentor’ and ’crossing the threshold’) inherent in act one are also traditionally…...

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