Immortals of Aveum dev blames flop on "murderer's row of big games," insists it'll gain a Dead Space-like cult following, and quietly announces new project

Immortals of Aveum
(Image credit: EA)

Immortals of Aveum director Bret Robbins says the EA-backed FPS isn't down and out just yet, even as he quietly announces Ascendant Studios is working on a new project.

Reflecting on the project, said to have cost a combined $125 million in development and marketing costs, and which failed to live up to EA's financial expectations, Robbins points to the unprecedented onslaught of new games that was 2023's release calendar.

"When we were heading to launch, we knew it was very crowded," he tells GamesIndustry. "This was a very unusual year. Zelda had come out, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor was a little before us. And as we were nearing launch, Baldur's Gate 3 suddenly blew up right in front of us. That one, more than any of the others, seemed unanticipated.

"We knew we had Armored Core 6 the same week, and we were worried about that. And Starfield was like 10 days after us. We were sandwiched between a lot of different big games, or games from really big studios. We absolutely got lost in the noise ... It was a murderer's row of big games, and we are a new studio, people didn't know who we were."

This isn't the first we've heard Robbins attribute Immortals of Aveum's lackluster sales to the amount of big releases last year, and twice now he's specifically pointed to Baldur's Gate 3's wild success as an unpredictable factor.

Immortals of Aveum EA image Jak and Kirkan

(Image credit: EA)

Immortals of Aveum saw a last-minute delay – what Robbins calls here a "polishing pass" – that moved its release from July to August, even closer to Starfield and Baldur's Gate 3's orbit. "Although the game was better, the timing was worse," Robbins says.

"You just don't know what is going to happen. Maybe we could have moved to February 2024... and then suddenly Helldivers 2 eats our lunch."

Although Robbins freely admits Immortals of Aveum was a financial disappointment at launch, he also sees potential for a redemption arc similar to a certified sci-fi horror classic he directed back in 2008: Dead Space.

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

GamesIndustry reports Immortals of Aveum's sales have jumped recently, with the "bulk" of its sales coming between November and January following a 50% discount and the big Echollector update.

Even so, somewhat buried at the bottom of the article, Robbins says the team at Ascendant Studios is working on a new project internally and looking at potentially more projects beyond that, although nothing further has been revealed just yet.

Ascendant Studios laid off approximately 45% of its workforce in September following Immortals of Aveum's poor sales. Just this Wednesday, parent company EA let go of 670 employees – about 5% of its staff – in a massive restructuring that resulted in a closed studio and several canceled projects.

Amid the layoffs, Mass Effect 5 reportedly remains in pre-production as BioWare focuses on Dragon Age Dreadwolf.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.