After more than two years of development, International Game Technology and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products are unveiling two slot machines today based on James Cameron’s Avatar, the highest-grossing film of all time.
The companies hope to create an enthralling slot machine on crowded casino floors with a slot machine that blends high-tech, video games, and movie magic. It shows how Vegas has gone Hollywood and is catering to gamers as it pursues new kinds of gamblers.
Sure, what’s one more slot machine in Vegas? Well, James Cameron’s Avatar is a brand that is known the world over, and it should be a big draw in casinos with its highly visual screens (42 inches, 70 inches, and 103 inches) with videos and animations from the movie, said Darrell Rodriguez, IGT’s chief creative officer, in an interview with GamesBeat.
The big machine has an option for five people to play at once. The two-seater offers 7,776 ways to win.
“We wanted to create an immersive game that recreated the feeling of the film,” Rodriguez said. “It was a very fun challenge.”
Rodriguez said his company worked closely with Cameron’s production company, Lightstorm Entertainment, and Avatar film producer Jon Landau to create the new machines over the past couple of years.
The 70-inch and 103-inch models of the James Cameron’s Avatar Video Slots machine will hit casino floors at the end of October or early November. That game will use a brand new engine, Center Stage, for a slot machine, which means lots of fancy electronics and pretty lights. The machines have traditional buttons as well as touchscreens.
Meanwhile, the 42-inch, vertical James Cameron’s Avatar Treasures of Pandora machine will release next year. Both machines are powered by high-performance personal computers that have lots of graphics cards. Those PCs have to handle tasks such as connecting five players in multiplayer rounds.
The machines will be a lot like video games with levels, achievements, progress metrics, and incentives aimed at getting people to drop more quarters into the machine. The slot machine features a number of film assets and 3D animations. You can unlock these assets over time as you play. As you do so, you’re see the humans face off against the Na’vi, and you’ll soar with banshees above the rainforests of Pandora.
The machines will debut next week at the G2E gambling event next week in Las Vegas. The 42-inch machine will be a vertical cabinet based in IGT’s Crystal Core Cabinet.
Rodriguez is no stranger to film-based games. He headed LucasArts Entertainment, which made the Star Wars games and other video games for George Lucas’s LucasFilm (before he sold it to Disney). Rodriguez switched gears three years ago to join IGT, which is the world’s largest slot machine maker. IGT has more than 600 employees making slot machines around the globe.
Cameron is working on more films in the Avatar series, but the launch of the slot machines isn’t timed to any new content releases.