Immortals of Aveum was very deadly (Photo: EA)

A former Ascendant Studios employee has spoken out about the development of the ill-fated Immortals Of Aveum and why it was a huge flop.

Many predicted Immortals Of Aveum wouldn't be a huge success based on its early trailers, but it seems the sentiment was also felt during its creation, by many of those working at developer Ascendant Studios.

Originally billed as a magical version of Call Of Duty, Immortals Of Aveum faced middling reviews (69 on Metacritic) when it was released in August last year. Less than a month later, studio CEO Bret Robbins confirmed that Ascendant had laid off nearly half of its staff due to poor sales.

A former studio employee has now spoken out about the project, estimating that it cost around $125 million (£98 million) in total to make and stating that making a high-budget single-player shooter in the current market was doomed. from the beginning.

'At a high level, Immortals was massively overhyped for a studio's debut project,' says former Ascendant employee IGN. “The development cost was about $85 million, and I think EA raised $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 really horrible idea, especially since it was a new IP that was also trying to take advantage of Unreal Engine 5. Which What ended up launching was a bloated, repetitive campaign that was far too long.

Another employee, who currently works at Ascendant Studios, said the game had all the features requested by many players, but still sold poorly.

“It’s not a sequel or a remake, it doesn’t take 400 hours to beat, there are no microtransactions, no pointless open-world grinding,” said the unnamed employee. 'Although not everyone liked it, the review was very good, currently with 74 points on Open Critic and a Most Positive on Steam. Nobody bought it.

It is claimed that sales for Immortals Of Aveum were only a “small fraction” of what was projected, which caused nearly 50 people at the studio to lose their jobs.

As noted in GameCentral's interview with Bret Robbins prior to the release of Immortals Of Aveum last year, he was fully aware of the financial risks.

“I think everyone has become more risk averse,” Robbins said when asked if it’s harder to launch an original IP now. 'The cost of games has only increased, which only increases the risk of trying to do something new. So, over time, it became more difficult to try something new, especially at the AAA level.

“What we see are huge inventions and big games coming out of the indie space in low-budget titles, because that's where you can take the risks, you're not going to break the bank. Doing what I'm doing is riskier with a bigger budget, but I think it's worth it.'

For reference, as revealed in leaked Sony documents last year, Horizon Forbidden West, from Sony studio Guerrilla Games, had a budget of $212 million (£168 million), while The Last Of Us Part 2 cost around US$220 million (£174 million). .

While the budget for Immortals Of Aveum is smaller in comparison, it's still surprisingly close for a studio's debut game.

This, however, may be the byproduct of an industry-wide problem. In the same IGN report, it suggests that Ascendant Studios may have simply been a victim of a “stupidly volatile market that requires mountains of capital to participate on a professional level.”

While other factors are at play, such as the influx of funding during the COVID pandemic, we are seeing the impact of this volatile market continue through mass layoffs into 2024, with companies like Microsoft, Riot, Twitch, and Thunderful cutting staff in the past few months. .

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