Immortals of Aveum dev claims game was backed by “awful” ideas

Immortals of Aveum released to strong critical reception but poor sales in August 2023.
immortals of aveum game key art ascendant studios

A developer who worked on Immortals of Avenum at Ascendant Studios has claimed the game was doomed from the start due to a catastrophically over-scoped budget, and its nature as a single-player AAA game entering a crowded market.

Speaking to IGN on terms of anonymity, the unnamed developer alleged there were already doubts around the game’s success prior to its release, due to its massive scope and ambitions. “At a high level, Immortals was massively overscoped for a studio’s debut project,” they told IGN. “The development cost was around USD $85 million, and I think EA kicked in USD $40 million for marketing and distribution.”

“Sure, there was some serious talent on the development team, but trying to make a AAA single-player shooter in today’s market was a truly awful idea, especially since it was a new IP that was also trying to leverage Unreal Engine 5. What ended up launching was a bloated, repetitive campaign that was far too long.”

Read: Immortals of Aveum studio lays off 45% of workforce

A current employee of Ascendant Studios seemingly confirmed an internal belief amongst developers that Immortals of Aveum had been over-scoped and did not fit in the modern gaming landscape. “It’s not a sequel or a remake, it doesn’t take 400 hours to beat, has zero microtransactions, no pointless open world grinding,” they said. “Although not everyone loved it, it reviewed pretty well, currently sitting at a 74 on Open Critic and a Mostly Positive on Steam. No one bought it.”

While the game was initially predicted to do well, it appears internal doubts grew with time, with some laid off developers now blaming management for not following market trends, or focusing their energy on a sequel or remake with an in-built player audience.

The risk of creating an original IP without guaranteed popularity appears to have defined the journey of Immortals of Aveum, despite its more creative ideas, and the talent behind the game.

“For all the things Ascendant did right – paying people well, an entirely remote studio, little overtime until the end, chill environment with lots of freedom to grow, respecting QA, hiring juniors, etc. – it did not work out,” one developer admitted.

It appears in the case of Immortals of Aveum that multiple factors conspired to work against the game – a packed game release calendar, the continued popularity of select live service games, and the nature of the title as an original IP.

We need more creative projects like it, to allow new voices and ideas to flourish – but for now, it appears economic decline, player trends, and stories like this may inspire more caution from ambitious studios.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.