Wednesday, February 28, 2024

It was a ‘truly awful idea’ to spend $125 million on Immortals of Aveum, former developer says | VGC

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A developer who worked on Immortals of Aveum has said it was “a truly awful idea” to release a game of its type, with such a large budget attached to it.

Immortals of Aveum was released on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC last August 22 and was met with reasonable review scores, with a Metacritic score of 70.

However, the following month developer Ascendant Studios laid off nearly half its staff, with its CEO later saying it was down to poor sales during a crowded release window.

Now, in a new report on IGN, an anynomous former employee of Ascendant Studios said the game cost around $125 million in total, and that making a single-player game with that budget was asking for failure.

“At a high level, Immortals was massively overscoped for a studio’s debut project,” they 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.”

VGC’s Immortals of Aveum review called it “a promising debut that doesn’t quite ascend to excellence”.

A second Ascendant Studios developer, who IGN says is still currently employed at the studio, complained that the game ticked a number of boxes that players seemingly want, but still sold poorly despite that.

“It’s not a sequel or a remake, it doesn’t take 400 hours to beat, has zero microtransactions, no pointless open world grinding,” they 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 also suggested that while people may call for CEO paycuts or unionisation following news of mass layoffs, sometimes they’re just the result of an industry that currently isn’t compatible with certain working environments, and that in their opinion Ascendant didn’t actually do much wrong.

“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,” they 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.”