Avatar Fan Game Creator Blames Lack Of Vision For No AAA Avatar Games

He also believes a AAA Avatar: The Last Airbender game from Insomniac, Respawn, or Sucker Punch would be great.

Story Highlights

  • Four Seasons, an unofficial Avatar: The Last Airbender game, has become a highly awaited fan project.
  • As many studios fail to bring a quality Avatar game, fans have turned to Elca for his ambitious title.
  • We interviewed Elca, the Creator of Four Seasons, to get his insights on the IP and his future plans.

Avatar: The Last Airbender — an early 2010s cult classic — has perhaps one of the most tragic portfolios in video games and live-action adaptations. Despite being such a popular IP, no studio has invested in creating a large-scale Avatar game, and the ones that did have brought us atrocities like Quest for Balance. Surprisingly, in 2019, a dedicated fan took it upon himself to bring a passionate Avatar game with everything fans needed.

Four Seasons is an Avatar: The Last Airbender fan game by Elca and his small team of developers. This project started on a smaller scale, but after going viral with the first few uploads on Elca Gaming, the creator expanded his vision and poured in thousands of hours to create a game worthy of the Avatar name. We dove deeper into Four Seasons and spoke with Elca over an email Interview to get his insights on the IP and his future plans.

Four Seasons
Crescent Island In Four Seasons – via Elca Gaming.

Could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your work?

Elca: Heyo! My name is Elca, I’m a 26-year-old German Game Developer working on Four Seasons – a fan-created Avatar game. Before working on the game, I worked in marketing; I also had zero experience making games or proper art.

I’ve been making the game with a handful of hardcore Avatar friends over the past 4 years in Media Molecule’s “Dreams” on a PlayStation with a Controller. I’ve now clocked over 5,000 hours on the project.

You started documenting the development process of Four Seasons over 4 years ago, but what would you consider to be the true beginning point of the project?

Elca: April 24, 2019, was the upload of my first video on the project but I think I’ve experimented a bit before that even. Those first baby steps weren’t very substantial though because I had no idea what I was even doing, we just had a character floating on a ball going on back then.

The true beginning of the project I would consider being early 2020, this was also around the time our first team member joined and when I started working on it almost every day. It’s been a crazy journey ever since and I learned so much.

Four Seasons
Northern Air Temple In Four Seasons – via Elca Gaming.

How much does the current game differ from your initial vision? And what are some of the major concepts that you have revamped over time?

Elca: I think from the very beginning I had the vision that you basically replay the story of Book 1 (that has now been expanded to all Books), somewhat early it was very clear that Dreams is very strong in PS2-esque games like Sly Cooper, Ratchet & Clank and the likes. That also didn’t really change, we want to evoke the nostalgia of those types of games.

Initially, I had planned that you could seamlessly switch between Aang, Katara, and Sokka, like in the PS2 games. That quickly turned out to be impossible because of the sheer moveset Aang needed to have; he already is like 4 characters in one and we realized that that wouldn’t be possible with the scope we approached and the memory limits that would come with that. It also turned out to be a good call to cut the character switching because there is no way we could have the GAang follow Aang through our platforming sections without it looking weird.

One of the more substantial changes we made was to make the world map 3D. In the beginning, it was just a paper map where you could select locations to travel to. Nowadays you can walk up to or call Appa to travel to the 3D world map and actually physically fly to the locations. We might expand that concept even further and implement a feature where you have to gather food and feed it to Appa in order to fly further.

In the beginning, you were also able to trigger the Avatar state mid-gameplay, that will not be the case anymore because Aang never triggers it intentionally until the very end and it’s a big part of his character arc for him learning to master it. So our Avatar state sequences will be either cutscenes or special gameplay moments like the ocean spirit (Koizilla) in the last episode of Book 1.

Did you ever anticipate the amount of popularity and support that this project would gather?

Elca: I never expected it to get this big. I was surprised that anyone would be interested in the early development videos because let’s be honest it didn’t look like anything back then. The big break came with YouTube recommending a video to basically everyone and then the IGN article about it. At that point, I could quit my day job and focus full-time on Four Seasons.

Four Seasons
Water Bending Scroll In Four Seasons – via Elca Gaming.

Is there anyone from the original cast that you would like to include in this project?

Elca: The game will most likely not feature official cast members because, while they are very interested and hyped about the game and would love to voice for it, the reality is that it is legally an absolute nightmare to cast official VAs for a fan project. So we have to cast soundalikes. It’s still a lot of fun to talk to the official cast about the project and maybe just maybe we can move some mountains to make it happen, I wouldn’t bet on it though.

Aside from this project, have you ever considered or wanted to turn another similar series into a fan-made game?

Elca: Not really. For some time I wanted to make a fan project of the potential next Sly Cooper installment but I’ve since moved on to bigger ideas that I want to realize after Four Seasons in Unreal Engine and maybe even a short film I’ve been writing for many years.

Four Seasons
Momo In Four Seasons – via Elca Gaming.

What have been some of the most difficult parts of developing this title?

Elca: I think the most difficult part about it is the pressure to do Avatar justice, for way too long Avatar fans have been starving of any good (interactive) media from Avatar. Listening to fans and feedback is very important to us. Other than that I think the most difficult part is still ahead of us: animating cutscenes, searching for fitting voice actors, and implementing the lines in the game.

We also had a few times when we were about to release a new version for the Demo and worked through many nights to catch as many bugs and glitches as before the release. Those days are very draining and I think there will probably be a big session ahead of us when we get closer to release. So, I’m already thinking about how we can split those times up now.

Why do you think we still haven't received a large-scale AAA Avatar: The Last Airbender game?

Elca: I think it’s for the same reasons but on a smaller scale why we haven’t gotten a Star Citizen-esque open-world Star Wars game yet. It would be a huge investment and risk to do a proper triple-A game. It hurts me to see that the money that was spent on those smaller games, like the mobile game and Quest for Balance, as well as the upcoming MMO could have easily been invested into one big game by a respectable studio.

Personally, I would love to see a triple-A Avatar game from Respawn Entertainment (Jedi Fallen Order), Sucker Punch (Ghost of Tsushima) or even Insomniac Games (Spider-Man). Maybe it’s also a lack of vision on how to approach it; for me, it was always clear that the most straightforward fanservice way of doing it is just putting the player in the world they know and love. They would make so much money. Avatar fans are very hungry.

Four Seasons
Volcano In Four Seasons – via Elca Gaming.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is getting another live-action adaptation, but the writers have mentioned several things that fans of the show are unhappy with. What are your expectations from this adaptation and your thoughts on the situation?

Elca: I think it’s absolutely fair to shake things up when it comes to Book 1. Many things could be cut down or expanded, but I hope they don’t forget what made the original series so great and why it worked. It was never just a kids’ show and tackled lots of important and complex topics. Media literacy has been dying and I hope they don’t forget that character arcs depend on growth. I hope they find a way to still tell the same story with the same impact so new fans get why Avatar is awesome. I’m carefully looking forward to it. The entire media campaign, however, made it seem like they love Avatar, which is great and shows in the bending VFX but also that they – seem like – fundamentally don’t understand it. I hope I’m wrong.

Looking at the story side, I am very curious to know how you plan to portray some of the series' more iconic and unforgettable scenes. One such scene that comes to my mind is Iroh singing Leaves from the Vine, or the countless small interactions between various characters that give the series its unrivaled charm.

Elca: I always say that the answer to “Is this from the show in the game?” should always be a big “YES.” So yeah, we will cover all the big moments, the important ones with cutscenes. For the small interactions, we will mostly have them take place during gameplay, think of the interactions between Mimir and Kratos in the recent God of War games. A big place for those interactions will be on Appa’s saddle when traveling to new locations.

Four Season
Northern Water Tribe In Four Seasons – via Elca Gaming.

How long do you think it will take you and the team to finish the project?

Elca: At least one or two more years, but in reality there is no way to tell. Some things take longer than expected, some take way less time. We make progress every day of the week and I want it to be out just as much as everyone else. We also want to deliver the best possible experience at launch and will polish it until we are 100% happy. So it will be released when it’s ready, fully done, polished, awesome, and the best Avatar game out there.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers? Something we haven't touched upon yet.

Elca: I have nothing exclusive because I think it’s important that we publicly share every bit of the progress we make on the game all the time so people can get an idea of how much we care and just how much work making a game is. However, I want to assure everyone that we take the utmost care in making this game, we literally look at every frame of the show, analyze it, and recreate it 1:1. You will be able to seamlessly jump between watching the show and playing our game, exploring areas that aren’t shown or just out of view in the show; truly be the Avatar. This is a game made by fans for fans.

YouTube video

Four Seasons is an ambitious project and has been formally in development since early 2020. It is led by Elca and his small team of talented developers, who you can support and stay up-to-date with on X (formerly Twitter), Patreon, YouTube, Twitch, Instagram and their official website.

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Mudassir is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering the stories behind our favorite virtual worlds. Armed with a trusty notepad and a keen curiosity, he dives headfirst into the gaming industry's most exciting personalities. His knack for insightful questions and his ability to connect with developers and gamers alike makes his interviews a must-read. While on the lookout for the next person to interview, Mudassir keeps himself busy by writing news surrounding the gaming universe. Experience: 4+ Years || Senior Journalist || Education: Bachelor's in Psychology.

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