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The development and marketing budget for Immortals of Aveum was estimated to be $125 million. It was Ascendant Studios’ first IP since it was founded in 2018 by former Sledgehammer Games and Electronic Arts creative director, Bret Robbins. For a game backed by a huge budget and an experienced team of developers, what went wrong with Immortals of Aveum is still a mystery, hard to explain.

What Went Wrong With Immortals Of Aveum? Game Now Sold For £1

After the fall of Telltale Games in 2018, most of its developers moved on to Ascendant Studios. In less than a year, Ascendant Studios grew from having just fifty developers to over one hundred. Immortals of Aveum was announced in 2022 at The Game Awards. In 2023, it was given a July release date. However, it was delayed until August 22, 2023.

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Less than a month after its release, Ascendant Studios laid off around half of its developers citing the game’s poor sales. Mixed reviews greeted immortals of Aveum. On Metacritic, it grossed an average score of 76 on Xbox, 69 on PS5, and 66 on PC.

Former and current Ascendant Studio employees disagree on the reason for Immortal of Aveum’s poor sales

What Went Wrong With Immortals Of Aveum? Game Now Sold For £1

Some of the former developers who worked on Immortals of Aveum have spoken up on the condition of anonymity. According to an IGN report, Ascendant Studios’ former employee said that making a single-player game with such a huge budget was unreasonable and always doomed to fail.

“At a high level, Immortals was massively overscoped for a studio’s debut project,” the former employee claimed. “The development cost was around $85 million, and I think EA kicked in $40 million for marketing and distribution.”

“Sure, there was some serious talent on the development team, but trying to make a triple-A 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.”

Another IGN source who is still working at Ascendant Studio said Immortals of Aveum ticked important boxes that players want but was surprised why the sales remained poor.

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“It’s not a sequel or a remake, it doesn’t take 400 hours to beat, has zero microtransactions, no pointless open-world grinding,” the anonymous employee explained. “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.”

One of IGN’s sources claimed the layoffs at Ascendant Studios was not the management’s fault, but rather, due to a volatile industry with a rising production cost. The source absolved Ascendant of any wrongdoing.

“There’s plenty of layoffs due to gross mismanagement and greed (looking at you Embracer), but there’s also plenty that happen because this is a stupidly volatile market that requires mountains of capital to participate in at a professional studio level,” the source said.

“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.”

Immortals of Aveum is reportedly being sold for £1 at Asda

What Went Wrong With Immortals Of Aveum? Game Now Sold For £1

Historically, Asda is known for heavily discounting the price of games whenever it needs to clear stock. For example, in the weeks leading to the 2023 Christmas holidays, Asda heavily discounted popular titles to make room for new stock. The store’s physical media continues to shrink as it transitions to digital media.

Several social media users have observed that Immortals of Aveum is now sold for just £1 at UK store Asda. This is arguably an attempt to clear every remaining stock of the game. During the Christmas holidays, the price of the game was slashed to £5, but that was still not enough. How bad could a game be that no one wants it even when the price is next to free?

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If Ascendant Studios did their research well, they would have discovered that the audience for magic shooters has continued to decline over the years. You can’t possibly make a game that doesn’t align with someone’s interest and expect them to like it. Forspoken met the same fate earlier in the year. Making a game in that genre is threading on murky waters.

What Went Wrong With Immortals Of Aveum? Game Now Sold For £1

Going through social media comments, it is easy to see that the game was totally out of sync with most of the players who purchased it. While those who are fans of magic shooters praised the game, those who are not, talked it down.

What Went Wrong With Immortals Of Aveum? Game Now Sold For £1

Another reason for Immortals of Aveum’s poor sales was because of the release window. The game was released during a crowded gaming window with sequels to established IPs lined up for release.

Since Immortals of Aveum was a new IP, it was natural for gamers with a slim budget to skip it for games they were already familiar with. Those are important lessons that every new studio should learn when foraying into the unpredictable AAA market.


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