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Immortals of Aveum director says magical FPS flop could find cult success like Dead Space in the future

People will discover the “100% AAA” shooter for “years and years”, Ascendant head suggests

Fighting an enemy in Immortals of Aveum while simultaneously casting a protective shield.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/EA

Immortals of Aveum saw a very rough debut last summer, with the first-person magic-shooter from new studio Ascendant and EA reportedly suffering poor sales and mixed reviews - resulting in almost half of its developers being laid off mere weeks after its launch. Despite being a reported $125 million flop that “no-one bought”, its director believes that it could still go on to find an audience yet.

Ascendant studio head Bret Robbins told that part of Immortals of Aveum’s struggle was due to its arrival in the midst of a packed summer, launching shortly after Baldur's Gate 3 (the result of that game’s sudden move up the calendar), the same week as Armored Core 6: Fires Of Rubicon and less than two weeks before Starfield. That was despite the game being delayed from its original release date to add some final development polish.

“We absolutely got lost in the noise,” Robbins said. “Although the game was better, the timing was worse.”

Robbins didn’t ascribe all of Immortals’ difficulties to its release window, however, stating that putting out a brand new IP that people were unfamiliar with - even with a reported $40m of marketing help from EA - contributed to its mixed critical reception.

“I've never worked on a game that got both 4s and 10s,” he said, comparing it to his past work on the Call of Duty series where “people knew what Call of Duty was”. “I think that can be attributed, to some degree, to it being a new IP.

“We were a fantasy shooter, and we clearly got some reviewers who don't like shooters. Maybe they were surprised by it. New IPs face that. People are going into it blind.”

Jak, main character in Immortals Of Aveum, looks into the camera as his eyes and face tattoos glow blue
Image credit: Ascendant Studios / EA

Whether you agree with Robbins or not - personally, I’m not entirely convinced by the argument that people struggled to understand the simple concept of “FPS but magic” - the director remains optimistic that in time more players will give Immortals of Aveum a chance, helping it to find a cult following in the years to come.

“The story of Immortals isn't written yet,” he said. “I was the creative director on Dead Space, and people were discovering that for years and years. I think Immortals will be the same."

That may well be true, as Alice found things to like about Immortals in our review - but with 2023 offering such a plentiful bounty of acclaimed and ambitious games (many of which demanded dozens of hours of playtime), it’s perhaps no surprise a slightly more standard shooter struggled to find attention at the time.

Robbins still feels that the team succeeded in creating a “100% AAA” experience on a “pretty modest” budget, and remains steadfast in his belief that Immortals has potential despite its troubled debut, having previously committed to continue supporting the game and the wider Immortals IP in the future.

“We are still here, we are still supporting it, the sales are picking up and I hope more and more people play and enjoy it,” he said.

“If people want new IP, if they want innovation, they have to vote with their wallet. If you say it and don't buy it, maybe you don't believe it that much.”

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