Wired: Three years ago this month, Yannis Mallat had what he calls a "defining moment." Mallat, the CEO of Ubisoft's flagship game development studio in Montreal, was competing for the right to create a videogame based on James Cameron's Avatar.
In the first few minutes of his pitch, he startled Cameron and his producer, Jon Landau, by announcing that the real star of Avatar isn't Jake Sully, the paraplegic vet at the center of the action. It's Pandora - the distant planet on which the action takes place.
"When we approached Avatar," Mallat says now, "the very first question we had was, 'What does Jim want to express?' The true meaning as we understood it - " He looks about, grasping for the word. "Cupidité en anglais? 'Greed.' Greed is the cancer of life. In one sentence we defined it: What are humans doing on Pandora?"