Immortals of Aveum studio forced to lay-off employees following lackluster launch

When will the video game industry learn that just because a game looks good, doesn't mean it can get away with murder.

Immortals of Aveum, developed by Ascendant Studios and published under the EA Originals banner by EA, came out on August 22 across the Xbox Series S/X, PlayStation 5, and the PC. It sought to turn the tables on the traditional first-person shooter genre by replacing guns with an array of fantastical magic attacks. Unfortunately, less than a month after its launch, which saw a paltry amount of players log into the game, its developers are already laying off half of its staff after the game's sales fell way short of the publisher's expectations.

The initial release date was slated for July, but a postponement saw it debut in late August. This new date put it in close proximity to two other major game launches: Bethesda Game Studios' Starfield and Larian Studios' Baldur's Gate 3. The release of FromSoftware's Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon around the same time didn't help either. 

Simply put, Immortals of Aveum, which was an entirely new property and was a passable game with steep requirements on the PC, was doomed from the start. 

Polygon, the first to break the news about the layoffs, revealed that around 40 people were relieved from their roles at Ascendant Studios, as shared by CEO Bret Robbins in an official meeting. Inside sources indicated that prior to this, 80 to 100 individuals constituted the studio's workforce. The disappointing sales performance of Immortals of Aveum was identified as the main driver behind the unfortunately job cuts. The studio reportedly felt that such drastic measures were imperative to keep the organization afloat.

Robbins, taking to X, confirmed that roughly 45% of their staff, majorly consisting of Unreal Engine 5 engineers as well as artists, were affected. He described the decision as "painfully difficult, but necessary." The laid-off employees were promised comprehensive severance packages, job placement assistance, and continued support for those remaining in the company.

"Our independent development team has achieved remarkable feats with Immortals of Aveum. We ventured into new territories – establishing a AAA studio, launching a fresh IP, and harnessing new technology in a challenging industry landscape," Robbins reflected.

Immortals of Aveum may have done better with a bit more marketing and a lot more polish.

EA Originals, a program launched by Electronic Arts to help out small-time developers, have helped the likes of It Takes Two make their way to the market. But, even under a label that has seen its fair share of duds like Rocket Arena and Wild Hearts, Immortals of Aveum stands out as the worst-selling EA Originals project.

Overall, this year hasn't been kind to game developers. The increasing costs of video game development coupled with heightened expectations and relatively low sales have seen names like CD Projekt RED, Ubisoft, and Embracer Group, among others, all announce substantial layoffs. 

As for Immortals of Aveum, it's unclear what the future holds for Ascendant Studios. In terms of its actual gameplay and quality, Immortals of Aveum, wasn't half-bad. It had visual appeal, commendable voice acting, and engaging combat. Its lack of replayability and depth, however, was notable. But, what might have put the final nail in the coffin is that fact that it asked a lot from PC gamers, as previously mentioned. 

EA Originals hasn't been the most successful initiative in recent years.

Ascendant Studios has yet to announce its next project.

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Ray Ampoloquio

Ray Ampoloquio // Articles: 5842

Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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