Avatar: The Last Airbender and video games do not come hand in hand, but Genshin Impact proves that with the right developer, it could work.
The THQ days were not kind to our bald hero Aang. They were infested with repetitive game design, bugs, and dull graphics that did not match up to the potential the series has to offer in the gaming realm. These games were rushed out, releasing within a year of each other.
However, a famed developer took the reins with The Legend of Korra, PlatinumGames. While the game felt basic in comparison to Bayonetta, the combat system showed promise as you could switch between each element. Fire, water, earth, and wind all had their own unique twists on the fast-paced combat. From THQ to PlatinumGames, it went from bad to okay, but I'd like to see something much grander.
Genshin Impact released earlier this year and proved that an Avatar: The Last Airbender game can work in 2020. Its world is grand and gorgeous with a detailed eye for Chinese architecture; it feels lived-in like the show. And most notably, the environment changes in accordance with what element you are using. Using a fire attack causes the grass to go ablaze, and there are puzzles that require you to use the different elements across the world.
Now, think about how this could work with Avatar: The Last Airbender. You would explore the world, following the main storyline of the series (or perhaps in between TLA and The Legend of Korra), but plenty of side quests would expand the world. The Avatar is needed by many, after all. There could be an intricate experience system in place, and the combat would be frenetic like Genshin Impact's. Using all the elements would give you an edge in battle. Perhaps, you could switch between the different characters of Team Avatar, who can provide their own unique spin on the battle. Go boomerang!!!
If done properly, the graphical style would look amazing on new-gen systems. Imagine seeing a fully rendered Ba Sing Sae or witnessing a flyover of the four nations while riding Appa. If Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot can implement an open world and look stunning at the same time, Avatar can do it too! During battles, it would be cool to see water flowing in the air and lashing at opponents or countering Azula's lightning at just the right moment. The developers could also implement real martial arts into the game just like the show, making combat look as slick as the animation.
Smite gave us a taste of what a modern game would feel like with its Avatar: The Last Airbender crossover DLC. Now, I'd like to see how a true AAA game based on the series would fare on the PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC. As THQ Nordic now has the rights, it would be a great redemption story.