Ascendant Studios, the team behind Immortals of Aveum has laid off nearly half of their staff. According to workers, from the 80 to 100 people employed there, about 40 have been laid off. These were initially announced by Ascendant CEO Bret Robbins, in a meeting he held earlier this Thursday. While talking to Polygon, one worker mentioned the game’s poor sales were one of the causes behind this.
The groundbreaking FPS game was among the first of its kind to ditch guns entirely, in favor of magical attacks. But it failed to garner decent traction from gamers, likely because of its release date being so close to the launch of Starfield and Armored Core VI. With both those games managing to take center stage, it’s unsurprising why Immortals Of Aveum wasn’t able to have as much of a significant impact on audiences.
The game also suffered from performance issues at launch, which didn’t help. According to SteamDB, it peaked at around 751 players, with a 24-hour peak of just 67. For a AAA shooter with a big budget, these numbers don’t quite look profitable, likely making the game one of Electronic Arts’ worst-selling originals. Following Polygon’s story, CEO Bret Robbins posted an update on X.
— Bret Robbins (@BretRobbins) September 14, 2023
Robbins stated that their team at Ascendant Studios is heartbroken, having to part ways with friends and colleagues. He further explained that while this was a necessary decision to ensure the future of the studio, it wasn’t made lightly. Following the release of Immortals of Aveum, they’ve had to make some adjustments, and are supporting those affected in every way they can.
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This includes comprehensive severance packages and job placement assistance. Robbins also called out to other studios, urging them to reach out to Ascendant, so they could introduce them to some talented UE5 artists and engineers. Despite the game’s lackluster sales, Robbins mentioned he’s proud of what he and his team have accomplished.
I am so proud of what our independent development team has accomplished with Immortals of Aveum. Together we’ve created a new AAA studio, a new IP, on new technology, during an era of our industry when that is exceedingly rare. We’ve poured our passion into Immortals, while wearing our hearts on our sleeves. The studio will continue to work that way as we support the development of this game and our Immortals IP moving forward with future updates and offers.”
Ascendant Studios isn’t the first company to suffer from layoffs in 2023. Earlier this year Scavengers Studios also dismissed over half their employees. Similarly, EA also announced that 800 people had lost their jobs. Plus, Volition, the studio behind Saints Row, announced its closure after 30 years of developing games. It’s clear this is a tough time for the gaming industry.
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