|Founded by||Kenton Wa|
Avatar Industries is originally known for producing heavy-duty mech suits. Starting in the forties, they began to expanded their market share by acquiring smaller manufacturers like Creedence & Weber and Tobias Maschinekraft.
The company was founded by Kenton Wa, the heir to a large trust from his father's corporate investment bank Bronzeman & Zachariah. Instead of relying on the trust to provide him with a comfortable life, he felt it necessary to make his own way by investing the money into a business of his own.
His father assisted him in contacting multiple real-estate companies, which combined with his personal experience in robotics, lead to the AVA-1. The AVA-1 was one of the first robots able to autonomously perform simple maintenance on large skyscrapers. Dozens of units were eagerly snapped up by Wa's real estate contacts, who sought to reduce the costs of a paid human workforce.
This success fueled Wa to further diversify the portfolio of the company and begin developing versions of the robot that could be used in other hard-to-reach or dangerous situations. Avatar's early robots could be used in mining, cargo handling, deep-sea diving, and even volcanic research. In each of these areas, where Avatar Industries' robots enjoyed moderate success upon first release.
Critics at the time argued that Avatar's later-released models were derivative, without any real groundbreaking innovation. Some said the company would never grow beyond "the hobby project of a bored rich kid." However, Avatar Industries' strategy of rebranding the base AVA-1 robots with minor specialized upgrades allowed the company to keep R&D costs low while selling at a high premium to industries in need.
During the mid-thirties, Wa met with Rand Ellesmere at a dinner party, where he learned of the level of success Rand had achieved with his private mercenary company Mere-Sec. Together with Rand, Kenton started a pilot project where the first real innovation since the AVA-1 would be realized; The MERC Conflict Resolution Automaton.
The initial prototypes were, in essence, AVA-1 robots that had been refitted with guns and targeting systems. Despite its ability to endure heavy punishment, this early model simply did not have what it took to be effective in a true combat situation.
Enthralled by the promise of bountiful profits in the conflict resolution sector, both Rand and Kenton invested large sums of money into the further development of the MERC. The two even went as far as selling their own Avatar shares to fund the company's R & D. When the development of the new model was completed, the general public quickly dubbed them "killer robots." Many expressed fears about the consequences of allowing automated machines to carry out sensitive, violent operations in close proximity to civilians.
The initial sales of the robot were barely enough to keep Avatar Industries afloat. However, after the betrayal of Aurelian Marcos by his own human troops, who revealed that they were already under an agreement with Mikka Mia of BeHappy, Aurellian bought several hundred MERC CRAs from Avatar to replace his human peacekeepers. This single order saved the company and the reputations of Wa and Ellesmere. Despite public concerns, an ever-increasing number of companies have subsequently flocked to Avatar Industries to order customized versions of the MERC.
The AVA line of robots was the first robot to be developed by Avatar industries. Its rugged frame and easy-to-modify sensor suite allowed it to be used in a wide array of situations which would be inhospitable to human workers.
The MERC Conflict Resolution Automaton