Immortals of Aveum was one of the most promising games of 2023, reflected by how they managed to get Electronic Arts as its publisher. However, its financial failure upon release led to its developer, Ascendant Studios, having to play off 45 % of their employees.
In a new interview, as reported by Video Games Chronicle, Ascendant Studios CEO Bret Robbins took stock of the situation, and where they ended up in what is regarded as one of the best years of video games.
Robbins gives his candid, blunt assessment of what happened:
“We are an independent company. We’re not EA, we’re not a large organisation. Our bottom line required us to sell a lot of video games, and we didn’t meet our targets, and that’s just the unfortunate dollars and cents of it, and that meanst we had to do some layoffs.
There are so many things when you’re making a game that are out of your control – certainly the market can be largely out of your control – and it was unfortunate for us, but my hope is that I can work with a lot of those people again and that with our next project, or future projects, we continue to grow.”
Robbins was also asked about having to release Immortals of Aveum at a time when so many other major titles where coming out. Robbins pointed out that they were wary of some known commodities they knew where coming out, such as Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon. But there was definitely one game that caught them off guard:
“But we didn’t realise that Baldur’s Gate 3 would blow up in the way it did right in front of us, it seems to have caught everyone by surprise. And before that, Jedi Survivor, and now we’re seeing even games like Alan Wake doing huge, so it’s been one after another.
And it’s hard when you’re a new IP, especially from a new studio that no one had heard of, to cut through that noise. So for us, release timing was crucual and really did affect how much people have engaged with the game.”
To put all that in perspective, Immortals of Aveum released on August 22, 2023, and Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon was released on August 24, 2023. Baldur’s Gate 3 trounced both of them at launch, releasing on PC on August 3, 2023.
Now, to be clear, Immortals of Aveum received a Metacritic of 69. Metascores and critical reception does not always determine a game’s financial performance. But in this case, the critics identified issues that gamers would also find with the game, corroborating their claims about it.
Robbins ended the interview with promises of a price reduction and future sales to encourage gamers to give it a try.