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What Is Worse Than Layoff? Ascendant Studios Furloughing Their Staff!

What Is Worse Than Layoff? Ascendant Studios Furloughing Their Staff!

The video game industry has lost tens of thousands of workers since last year. While it is a terrible thing to be laid off, did you know there was something worse than layoff? Well, Ascendant Studios has reportedly laid off a couple of employees and furloughed others.

What Is Worse Than Layoff? Ascendant Studios Furloughing Their Staff!

Furlough is a situation where an employer imposes a leave of absence on its employees, mostly for economic reasons. During this time, the employee is usually not paid. It is practically a limbo between being employed and layoff because the employee doesn’t qualify for severance.

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The info was shared by Kris Morness who left the company last summer for Phoenix Labs. “Ascendant Studios has furloughed the majority of their staff,” Morness wrote. “I can’t imagine what that would be like as that is worse than getting laid off. Not sure what the numbers are like, but I’m probably guessing around 30 folks.”

Ascendant Studios released their first IP, Immortals of Aveum, on August 22, 2023. A month later, the company laid off 45% of its employees. The decision was blamed on the game’s poor sales. However, it appears the studio which was founded in 2018 is not out of the woods.

Ascendant Studios describes itself as “an independent AAA video game studio with ownership and creative control over our original game, Immortals of Aveum”, according to their LinkedIn page. The studio also said they were obsessed with originality and committed to quality.

Unfortunately, players couldn’t find all that in their games which failed to attract many players. In December last year, the game was spotted being sold for £1. Inasmuch as developers and publishers often discount games, that usually happens after a year or more of being in the market. Discounting a game a few months after release is evidence of poor sales.

What Is Worse Than Layoff? Ascendant Studios Furloughing Their Staff!

In February, it was reported that the game had recorded a fivefold increase in sales after it was heavily discounted. The information was revealed by Ascendant Studios CEO Bret Robbins, during an interview with

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“You learn more from failures and mistakes than successes,” Robbins said, trying to explain the reason for the failure of Immortals of Aveum to make its mark. “People should hear all sorts of stories, not just about the huge breakaway hits, but also when things don’t go so well. And that doesn’t mean they’re not good, and it doesn’t mean that story shouldn’t be told.”

“When we were heading to launch, we knew it was very crowded. This was a very unusual year. Zelda had come out, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor was a little before us. And as we were nearing launch, Baldur’s Gate 3 suddenly blew up right in front of us. That one, more than any of the others, seemed unanticipated.”

Ascendant Studios is not done with Immortals of Aveum

What Is Worse Than Layoff? Ascendant Studios Furloughing Their Staff!

Ascendant Studios blew around $125 million in the development and marketing of Immortals of Aveum. Sadly, it is believed that the game made just around $5 million which is a far cry compared to how much the studio sunk into it.

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However, Ascendant Studios is not giving up on its IP. The studio has continued to release updates for the game. On April 2, 2024, Ascendant Studios announced that HDR and AMD FSR 3 support were coming to the game on console.

“Wondering what the studio has been up to these last few months? Well, not only are we hard at work on our next project (shhhhh!….), we’re also continuing to work on improving Immortals of Aveum™ so that more players can enjoy it to the fullest,” the studio wrote in the post.

“That means two big updates are coming your way: HDR (high dynamic range) support on all platforms, and thanks to our incredibly talented partners at Enduring Games, IOA will be the first game to rollout AMD FidelityFX™ Super Resolution 3 (FSR 3) with frame generation on consoles!”

What do you think went wrong with Immortals of Aveum? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.