Parting Shots: Immortals of Aveum
Game: Immortals of Aveum
Occupation: Founder, Ascendant Studios
Career Highlights: Call of Duty WW2, Dead Space, Gex
Founded in 2018, Ascendant Studios is a new independent video game developer located in San Rafael, California. For its first project, founder Bret Robbins and his team decided that they wanted to create an original IP that would be something a bit different from the norm. Enter Immortals of Aveum, a first-person action adventure that fuses magic-based shooter gameplay with a fantasy setting that’s not as “fantasy” as you might expect. To learn more about the game, we conjured up the main man himself to survive our barrage of questions.
What are the challenges—and also the opportunities—in making a first-person shooter based more around fire spells than firearms?
Bret Robbins: Creating a magic-based shooter allowed us to totally redesign the familiar shooter experience that players have become used to. We were able to design from the ground up by our own rules, which is both a challenge and a massive opportunity. Fans of shooter titles will find that Immortals of Aveum is just familiar enough to pick up quickly, while being fresh enough that there’s a lot to learn and master. We all know what guns look and feel like in a video game, so it was fun to invent entirely original magical gear like Sigils, Totems, and Rings.
How do the different colors of magic work in Immortals of Aveum?
BR: There are three different types of magic used in the game. Force (Blue) magic allows the caster to manipulate physical energy or gravity over distance, like a ranged rifle attack. Chaos (Red) magic controls light and energy and are meant for up close and personal encounters. Life (Green) magic allows control over life, death, healing, and the control of inanimate objects, giving you the power to lock on to targets and deal focused magical power. We encourage players to constantly switch between the three types of magic and use different creative combos and perk choices to take down enemies in unique ways.
In thinking about other first-person action games based around magic, it’s easy to imagine medieval themes and locations, but Immortals of Aveum has a unique style to it. What did your team want to do with the game’s story and setting in that regard?
BR: When we first envisioned the world of Aveum, we wanted to reject all your typical fantasy tropes. Of course, some of that stuff, like dragons, found its way back in because, well, dragons are just awesome. But we decided early on that Aveum would not be Earth, and that freed us to imagine our world differently. Here, magic is a precious resource that powers the world, ultimately engendering great conflicts and mankind’s endless war for control of the magic. In other fantasy IPs, magic is often displayed as a little soft or ephemeral, not as something you would use in a high-intensity combat situation. So, it was a unique challenge to be able to meld the two ideas together to create visceral, powerful spell-casting combat within a first-person shooter setting.
How does it feel to be part of a new studio that’s working on a totally original IP? In this day and age, that certainly isn’t as common of a situation as it used to be.
BR: It’s not lost on us how rare of an opportunity that is these days, and it feels so creatively fulfilling to create the narrative, combat, and world of Aveum from the ground up. It’s hard to release a new IP with a new concept when there are so many well-established franchises out there—and that’s especially so this year, possibly the greatest year ever in gaming. I can only hope that the players will be able to feel the amount of love, passion, and hard work that has gone into Immortals of Aveum when they play it.
If you could wield any of protagonist Jak’s magical abilities to help you get through your day-to-day life, what would you pick and why?
BR: Not necessarily one of Jak’s abilities, but I would love to have my own Sigil in real life. To be able to customize something that helps me accomplish whatever I’m doing would be really convenient. Plus, it just looks flat out cool.