'Avatar' Video Casino Games Unveiled at Global Gaming Expo
If the thought of a slot machine summons images of one-arm bandits, plastic change cups and hand wipes … well, those still exist. But the next generation of slots are interactive, socially motivated and of the highest caliber both visually and in functionality.
The best place to discover the newest technologies in this field is at the Global Gaming Expo, or G2E, held at the Sands Expo Convention Center this week in Las Vegas. Leading the conversation, International Game Technology, Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products and Lightstorm Entertainment unveiled Tuesday morning at the IGT exhibit space a duo of new video slot machines based on James Cameron’s Avatar. Producer Jon Landau and actor Stephen Lang were there for the launch of the two games, “James Cameron’s Avatar Video Slots” and “James Cameron’s Avatar Treasures of Pandora.”
Eighteen months ago, IGT approached Fox who then went to Lightstorm with the idea. Landau wanted to make sure the game would bring lovers of the film back to Pandora. He worked closely with IGT’s Reno manufacturing team, collaborating with designers and providing feedback.
“I appreciated IGT not saying, ‘We want to rush this to market,’” Landau tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Instead, they said let’s start from the ground up, take resources we have and know work, and apply.”
The script was written by IGT with a great deal of involvement and reviews from Landau’s team. “We’re looking at the Avatar brand, and how to build it as a global brand that lets people have the escape they want, but also delivers to them things that are provocative in their everyday life," he says.
Lang, who played Colonel Quaritch in the film, did original voiceover work for the games. His character is featured prominently in the “Avatar Video Slots.”
“I received a call from Jon Landau, he said, ‘We could use your voice for this machine, are you interested?’ I said, ‘Absolutely,’” says Lang, who previously lent his voice to the Avatar pinball game and video game.
But neither Lang nor Landau ever thought their work would end up on a slot machine. “My experience with slots goes back to pretty rudimentary stuff. I lived in Vegas in ’86 and ’87, when we were shooting Crime Story,” Lang says. “You just get familiar with that ‘ching,’ and I didn’t really associate it with voice work at all. But the landscape has changed a lot. It’s going to occupy a very singular place on my resume.”
Adds Landau: “I’m so impressed by the evolution of the slot machine. When I think back to when I first went to Las Vegas, and what we are presenting with the Avatar game, it would’ve been unfathomable back then.”
“Avatar Video Slots” is the first for IGT where players can track their progress and access additional content as they reach new levels. “Treasures of Pandora”showcases 3D visuals on a 42-inch vertical screen. The wide-area progressive video slot features two vertically stacked base games that when combined in a max wager bet offer over 7,000 ways to win. Bonuses include thematic content based on the film including The Hunt to search the forests for more credits and the Warrior Free Games where players choose which warrior they want to root for as they strive to collect enough symbols to garner a prize.
Expect the games to start making their way to the casino floor in November.