Layoffs hit Immortals of Aveum development team following sales shortfall

Toplitz Productions
Toplitz Productions /

The game industry faces another wave of layoffs as Immortals of Aveum, a AAA first-person shooter with a magical twist, failed to meet sales expectations. Released on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC in late August, the game suffered from performance issues on PC, and its sales reportedly fell short of publisher satisfaction. Developed by Ascendant Studios and published as an “EA Original” by Electronic Arts, Immortals of Aveum was anticipated as a unique addition to the gaming world.

Around half of the staff at Ascendant Studios, the developer behind the game, found themselves laid off as a cost-cutting measure. The decision to downsize was announced by studio CEO Bret Robbins in a meeting, impacting approximately 45 percent of the workforce. Before the layoffs, an estimated 80 to 100 people worked at the studio. The poor sales of Immortals of Aveum were cited as the primary reason behind the layoffs, with employees being informed that these measures were necessary to ensure the company’s survival.

EA responded to inquiries by pointing towards a statement from Ascendant Studios’ CEO, posted on September 14. In the statement, Robbins expressed pride in the studio’s achievements with Immortals of Aveum and acknowledged the difficulties of the decision. The affected employees are being offered comprehensive severance packages, job placement assistance, and support services.

Notably, this round of layoffs is not an isolated incident in the game industry for 2023. Several other companies, including Firaxis, CD Projekt Red, Unity, Kabam Games, Ubisoft, Take-Two, Riot Games, Meta, and even EA earlier this year, have all announced staff reductions. The closure of Volition, responsible for the Saints Row series, added to the industry’s woes. This string of layoffs paints a challenging picture for game developers, highlighting the industry’s ongoing struggles amidst changing dynamics.

This ongoing trend of layoffs in the game industry raises concerns about job security for developers. While the industry continues to evolve and adapt to new technologies and player demands, it also faces increasing pressures, particularly in the wake of underperforming titles. Immortals of Aveum’s struggles serve as a stark reminder that even projects backed by major publishers like Electronic Arts can fall short of expectations.

Developing and publishing games is a high-stakes business, and the competition is fierce. Companies are under constant pressure to deliver successful titles, which can sometimes lead to ambitious projects that come with high development costs and risks. When a game fails to meet sales targets, it can have a ripple effect on the developers involved, as demonstrated by the layoffs at Ascendant Studios.

Despite these challenges, the game industry also continues to grow, offering opportunities for talented developers to create innovative and successful titles. However, it’s essential for both developers and publishers to navigate these challenges responsibly, with a focus on long-term sustainability and the well-being of the people behind the games.

As the game industry grapples with the ongoing impact of layoffs and sales challenges, it remains to be seen how the landscape will evolve in the coming months and years. Game developers and publishers must continue to adapt to changing market dynamics while prioritizing the welfare of their teams to ensure a healthier and more stable industry in the future.