Ubisoft channelling James Cameron's Avatar

Academy Award-winning director's upcoming game tie-in to be published, developed by French company; to be released in conjunction with film in May 2009.

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Since announcing his intention to pair his next big-budget blockbuster with a "major game title," James Cameron's upcoming game(s) has/have generated a maelstrom of confusion in the gaming industry.

During the 2005 Game Developers Conference, Cameron appeared in a video montage touting the capabilities of Microsoft's next-gen console, prompting many to assume that the acclaimed director's project would find its way to the Xbox 360. At the time, Cameron's next film project, as reported by Comingsoon.net, was slated to be a live-action version of Battle Angle Alita, a manga-turned-anime series that takes place in a futuristic, postapocalyptic world.

In February 2006, Cameron spoke to BusinessWeek and seemingly confirmed this project. He also included the interesting tidbit that the project would be a massively multiplayer online game. However, Cameron didn't specify that the project was Battle Angel, instead referring to it as "Project 808."

The plot thickened further in June 2006, when a casting call appearing on film-industry blog Movie City News indicated that Cameron's upcoming project was, in fact, not based on Battle Angel Alita. Instead, Cameron was holding auditions for Project 808, which turned out to be the filmmaker's decade-long pet project Avatar, also rooted in a sci-fi universe. While the casting call remained unconfirmed, it indicated that Project 808, now dubbed Avatar, would be the inspiration for Cameron's upcoming MMOG project, and not Battle Angel.

With at least one film's existence officially pegged, definitive details on the game tie-in have begun to surface. France-based publisher Ubisoft sent word today that it will be developing and publishing the game version of Cameron's upcoming film Avatar, which is currently in production. However, aside from it taking place in Cameron's Avatar universe, today's announcement neglected to mention a genre or platform for the game. A release window of May 2009 was given, to coincide with the theatrical premiere of Avatar.

Avatar tells the tale of an ex-Marine who is able to manifest his consciousness in the body of an alien being. Thus far, the cast includes Sam Worthington (Somersault), Zoe Saldana (Guess Who), and Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters). The filmmaker's other work includes Titantic, The Terminator, and Aliens.

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