Immortals of Aveum developer Ascendant Studios has announced that nearly half of its staff is being let go, less than a month following the release of its most recent title. The exact reasoning for the layoffs are somewhat unclear, but seem to be related to lower than expected sales figures.
— Bret Robbins (@BretRobbins) September 14, 2023
“Today, we are heartbroken as we part ways with friends and colleagues at Ascendant Studios – about 45% of our team,” announced Brett Robbins, Ascendant Studios CEO, on social media. “This was a painfully difficult, but necessary decision that was not made lightly; nevertheless, we have to make this adjustment now that Immortals of Aveum has shipped.”
“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.”
Despite higher-than-average review scores from many outlets, including our own, the game’s poor sales were a key reason behind the mass layoffs, according to one of Polygon’s sources. Although Immortals of Aveum sported bombastic and colourful production values, its unusual “modern military shooter but with magic” concept might have been a difficult sell for gamers. Coupled with a fairly crowded August 2023 release period where it was competing against highly anticipated titles like Baldur’s Gate 3 and Starfield releasing in close proximity, a new IP without the pedigree of a known developer or strong marketing push just didn’t have much of a chance.
These staff layoffs at Ascendant Studios follows a turbulent time in the video game development industry. Many other development studios, such as Deck Nine, Brace Yourself Games, Volition, Rainbow Studios and more have recently either closed or been forced to let go a large proportion of their staff in order to stay afloat. Hopefully the Ascendant Studios staff who have lost their jobs find new ones very soon.