Immortals of Aveum, a new single-player, first-person magic shooter is one of the many games to be released this year. It tells the story of Jak as he joins an elite order of battlemages to save a world on the edge of abyss. It released back in August for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S. Unfortunately for developer Ascendant Studios, the game didn’t have the reception they were hoping for despite positive reviews. 45% of Ascendant Studios staff were laid off roughly a month after the game’s release adding to this year’s insane number of layoffs occurring within the video game industry. Now, in a new interview, Ascendent Studios CEO Bret Robbins talked about how the game’s poor sales led to the layoffs and how this year in general, with the high number of game releases occurring every month was a factor.
“It’s a crazy time right now,” Robbins explained. “There’s an article every day about some kind of huge layoff, and it’s unfortunate. It’s certainly the hardest thing I’ve had to do.
“You work really hard with people, they’ve put their faith in you and their trust in you, and you want to honour that as much as you can, so when you have to make a decision like that it really sucks.
“We are an independent company. We’re not EA, we’re not a large organization. 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 also talked about releasing Immortals of Aveum this year, which saw blockbuster after blockbuster getting released each month was a factor considering that it is a new IP.
It’s maybe the craziest time, I’ve ever seen”, Robbins said. “One huge game after another. We knew some big games were coming – we knew Starfield was going to be huge, we knew we were releasing the same week as Armored Core 6, and we knew that would be big. We know that Assassin’s Creed and Spider-Man, games like that were coming out.
“But we didn’t realize 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 crucial and really did affect how much people have engaged with the game.”
Despite everything, Ascendent Studios is still supporting the game and recently released the Echollector Update alongside a free trial and game demo. The update adds New Game+, a new difficulty option, and new content.
“I’m happy that people that have engaged with the game really like it and enjoy it, and we’re really hoping that with our new push coming out later this week, that a lot of people who didn’t have the time for it because there were so many other things to play, they find it.
“We’re also going to have a big reduction, a half-off sale, and things like that, so that hopefully will help people too.”