Ascendant Studios' debut game was Immortals of Aveum, a single-player, magic-based first-person shooter with semi-open environments and high production values. Published by EA Originals, it launched last summer to a somewhat mixed reception, and reportedly didn't sell. As a result, the developer let go of practically half its employees. Now, an anonymous source has offered their thoughts on what happened.
Speaking to IGN as part of a larger report on the industry's widespread layoffs (which is well worth reading), a former Ascendant Studios employee lamented the decision to make a big budget new IP as its first project. "At a high level, Immortals was massively overscoped for a studio’s debut project," they said. They recall the development budget was "around $85 million", with EA providing an additional $40 million "for marketing and distribution".
The ex-staffer said that, despite "serious talent" on the team, "trying to make a AAA single-player shooter in today’s market was a truly awful idea", adding that it being a new IP and using new tech with Unreal Engine 5 only exacerbated the issue. "What ended up launching was a bloated, repetitive campaign that was far too long."
Someone else, who's still at Ascendant, said the game was predicted to do well, but while it received fairly positive reviews, sales were a "tiny fraction" of projections.
Again, it's worth reading IGN's report about layoffs for more insight like this. It makes for pretty sobering reading, but if you're interested in industry ups and downs, give it a look.