Launching a new IP, Immortals of Aveum, from an unknown studio in the middle of Baldur’s Gate 3 and Starfield may have been too high a hill for Ascendant Studios to climb.
For many gamers, 2023 has been one of the pinnacles of gaming. We started with shadow-dropped Hi-Fi Rush which was highly reviewed. Almost immediately after that, we were portkeyed to the Wizarding World which was magical. We’ve seen Zelda, Final Fantasy (in name at least), Kirby, and so many others. When Bret Robbins, the CEO of Ascendent Studios, decided on his release date of August 22 for Immortals of Aveum, there was no way to anticipate the most densely packed time of year would be August through October.
No One Expects The Baldur’s Gate 3 Inquisition
Baldur’s Gate 3 was originally set for release in September 2023. That changed shortly after the release date for Starfield was announced for September 6. Larian Studios decided their PC release date should move to August 3. This meant that Immortals of Aveum went from an appetizer for holiday gaming to a tiny slice of turkey sandwiched between the behemoths of Baldur’s Gate 3 and Starfield. There aren’t many games that could survive that titanic crush.
So why didn’t Ascendant Studios just move their release date? Bret Robbins, in an interview with Windows Central said, “We were not in a position where we could delay or push out of our launch window. You set those windows quite a bit ahead of time because you’re spending marketing dollars, you have commitments to a particular date.” Anything short of a generational game would likely be lost then. So was it generational? It was decidedly not, being described in our review as “competent, yet safe.”
Never Stop Never Stopping
Selling far fewer games than they needed to keep their operations going led to Ascendant Studios letting go of nearly half their employees. Speaking of the layoffs, Robbins acknowledged, “The layoffs really sucked… We are not a big corporation. Our business relies on selling games, and we didn’t sell enough games. And that forced me to make that decision, which, it was really unfortunate.” Robbins expressed hope that Ascendant Studios can now continue forward and grow. Ideally, they could even work again with some of those who were let go.
They released a large update alongside a free trial on November 17, 2023. This update adds some features that the team was unable to put out with the initial release. It also shows a commitment to keep supporting this game. Perhaps gamers will have some time this holiday season to try it out. Maybe we can see this game rise up from this near-death experience.
For more, be sure to check out Lord Joseph LaFleur on X at @JLaFleur282