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Immortals of Aveum Developer AMA 1

Immortals of Aveum Developer AMA
Immortals of Aveum Developer AMA

Ascendant Studios did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on the Games SubReddit on July 7 from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM PT. During this event, you were able to ask them anything about their upcoming game, Immortals of Aveum. Members of the development team were there answering our questions.

Immortals of Aveum Developer AMA Recap

MiloOmega: What inspired the development team to create this game, and what were the key influences during the creative process? The game looks beautiful so far!

Visually we were inspired by a lot of different sources! Classic fantasy series like lord of the rings and the elder scrolls have influenced so much of what people expect a fantasy genre to look like. We wanted to keep some of those classic grounding elements, such as large stone fortresses, pastoral villages, and fantastic creatures – but we also wanted to blend in more modern elements to reflect our modern character designs and story. We drew inspiration from sci-fi sources and even modern day skyscrapers for some architecture types. In Lucium, one of our hub levels, you can see elements of Frank Lloyd Wright in the patterns and details.


From a gameplay perspective, we were inspired by our years of working on Call of Duty to create a single player narrative experience, while mixing in elements of fantasy and RPG games we love. We wanted the feel of spellslinging to be frenetic and fluid, chaotic and impactful. These inspirations harken back all the way to Hexen and Heretic, Destiny, God of War, and ofcourse Call of Duty.


Cursed_69420: is there an updated System Requirements chart? since you have delayed the game, have you optimized it for more systems?

We’ve been hard at work optimizing the game on all platforms and adding more options in the settings menu. Stay tuned for another tech-focused update, including final system specs, in August before release.


ACG-Gaming: I know it was said that the genesis of the game was watching a shooter and saying “Why don’t we have that for a magic game?” Now that it is heading our way what are some of the particular difficulties trying to achieve that vision has introduced?

There were a lot of challenges in getting the “magic” part of “magic shooter” to feel right. We did a lot of experimentation early on with different types of spells and control schemes, and not everything worked well at first. Getting the magic attacks to feel really powerful and impactful was difficult, and figuring out the spell combo system took a lot of time. We eventually finished a combat prototype in 2020 that really became the foundation for what the full game would become. It was really, really fun, and I knew we had something special at that point.


CaptainMarvelLove: Hey, Bret, Julia, and Jason! The game’s spell and visual effects look awesome.
And so does the skill tree UI. This is for each of you: What is your favorite power in the game to use (if you can say)?

It’s hard to pick a favorite since they are all well balanced with each other, but if I had to choose, it would be Bash. It just feels great to cast every single time.


I love every spell we have created, but when combined my favorite combination are Limpets and Javelin. Use Limpets to lock down a mobile or large enemy and then charge up a Javelin and get an easy headshot. Devastating!


My favorite spell is definitely Fragfire, especially when coupled with Lash. It makes me feel like a badass powerful mage, and it also happens to be Zendara’s magic style!


Leather-Tomorrow4221: Why did you get rid of the Angry Cube and can we expect it back in a patch?

Ha! I’m not sure how you heard about the Angry Cube, but who knows, it could always make a comeback someday.


GeorgeEBHastings: I understand Michael Kirkbride (beloved among the Elder Scrolls community) has a hand in developing the broad setting of this game. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Bearing that in mind: on a scale of CHIM to Sermon 14 of the 36 Lessons of Vivec, how batshit can we expect your game’s lore to be?

Michael is our lead writer! Michael and I have been friends for 20 years, ever since we worked together on Return of the King back in 2003. We wrote Immortals together and it was one of the most fun writing experiences I’ve ever had. He is enormously creative and talented, and we have very similar sensibilities in terms of character and world building.

Closer to Where Were You When the Dragon Broke


N3DSdude: What was the inspiration for developing Immortals of Aveum?

There were lots of inspirations! We actually made a video where we talked a bit about that.

Ascendant Studios

MentalMars: Immortals of Aveum has quite some star power in their cast and their likeness shines through in the characters themselves. How much of an impact did casting these actors have on the development of the game?

I’m really proud of our cast. I used an amazing casting director, Ivy Isenberg, who I had worked with on Call of Duty. She found us amazing actors like Gina Torres, Darren Barnet, and Lily Cowles. I directed the actors myself for all the cinematics, and they were so fun to work with and really brought these characters to life. I think players are going to really like some of our characters.


Assassin5299: What was going through your guys minds when Geoff Keighley revealed Immortals of Aveum at the Game Awards last year, and how does it feel knowing there’s a lot of anticipation for your first ever game? Thank you guys so much for the AMA, best unintentional birthday gift 😁 see you at launch!

First off, Happy Birthday!

I was in the audience and it was an awesome moment. We had been “dark” for almost five years, no one had heard of our studio or the game, and suddenly there we were, teasing our game. The trailer got a great response in the audience, it was a great moment for me and the team.

You can get an inside look at what it was like for us in this TikTok video of ours.


MentalMars: How is legendary gear different from the common loot rarities, do they have unique special bonuses and do they require legendary essence to be upgraded?

Legendary Gear is the zenith of a particular playstyle. Some of these are simply the best-in-slot style of sigil, and some Legendary items fundamentally change how a spell works. Legendary items require Legendary Essence to craft and upgrade, however, Legendary Essence is rare and hard to find. Something that is important to us is build experimentation. We want players to try all kinds of combinations of talents, spells, and gear to fit their own playstyle. So if you were to dismantle a Legendary item, you will receive back all of the Legendary Essence you’ve spent on it, and will be able to craft it again if desired.


DE4THINC4RN4TE: I rather like the idea of being able to move objects around as part of the core gameplay, but didn’t see too much use of this aspect in the trailer. Does the team have any plans to integrate this feature in interesting ways in the combat, moving around the world, etc.?

Animate is a unique mage ability where you are able to manipulate and move large objects around in environments in a puzzling capacity. You can bend down giant statues and unfurl massive tree roots that allow you to access new areas in the maps outside of combat spaces.


N3DSdude: How well experienced is the team at Ascendant Studios?

Bret Robbins heads up our studio and in the past he served as the creative director on the original Dead Space, creative director on three Call of Duty campaigns, and before that he was lead designer on The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and James Bond: From Russia With Love. We’re a team of 125+ veteran devs, many of which have held senior positions on franchises like BioShock, Tomb Raider, Spider-Man, Borderlands, Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Mafia, and The Elder Scrolls.

You can learn all about us in this origin story video we created.

Ascendant Studios

MentalMars: I noticed throughout the trailers that Sigils have various Prefixes. For example, there is a “Purified Arclight” and an “Oremic Arclight”. How much impact do these prefixes have on the gear itself and is there lore related to variants?

Every piece of gear in Immortals of Aveum is given a unique name related to where the item comes from, how it was crafted, or what kind of magic it is used to manipulate. Many items are named after famous Magni or events in history.

The “Oremic Arclight” is a sigil created by one of the nations of Aveum, Oremen. This one is a powerful hand-cannon style sigil that focuses on Crit damage. You might find a “Azure Ring” that will improve your Blue Magic or a “Cinder Ring” that improves your Blastwave spells.


MentalMars: I read that you can upgrade your gear and noticed that each item card has a number of circles on the top right depending on their rarity. I assume these are the number of upgrades you can perform on a specific item but what are we upgrading? Are these overall stats or can you specialize gear a certain way?

Yes! The circles are the number of times that item can be upgraded, and once you fully upgraded those dots are replaced with a crown. Our upgrade system increases the core stats and secondary stats of gear that is upgraded. And I cannot help myself with secrets, some items have secret stats that only unlock when fully upgraded.


OkStudy2231: Really digging a fresh design to the FPS genre. My only hesitation is that I’m an old man now, and first person tends to give me motion sickness. Do y’all have settings that can help with that (FOV sliders, motion blur, etc)? Or maybe even a 3rd person mode?

Though the game is built to be played exclusively in first-person, we will have some features at launch to provide all players with a more accessible experience. FOV slider, motion blur is off by default, graphical settings, difficulty options, and more.


DittoDat: Has the achievement/trophy list been decided on yet? How difficult would you say it will be?

Our achievements/trophies focus on the story and gameplay mechanics, but a couple of them will reward sleuthing, and maybe being a friend to animals.


HunterTAMUC: How many different kinds of magic will there be to use in the game?

There are three colors of magic: Blue (Force), Red (Chaos), and Green (Life). There are 25 spells, each are shaped by their schools of magic, so Blue spells are precise and impactful, Red spells are explosive and rend enemy armor, and Green spells move as if they’re alive and seek out enemies.


Bigbuttress: This looks sick!!! Are there any roleplay elements to the game?

While Immortals of Aveum is an action adventure game, and it isn’t a true RPG, there are quite a few elements of RPGs fused into our game’s design. For example, on the lore side of things, there are many optional conversations you can have with NPCs and the main cast will allow you to make different choices to lie, tell the truth, or just bolster the courage of a soldier. These conversations help to flesh out the rich lore of the world of Aveum.

On the combat side of things, there are three talent trees with over 80 talents to choose from that allow you to customize your spellcasting playstyle, and there’s also a gear/crafting system that lets you find, craft, and upgrade your sigils/totems/rings/bracers (basically all your magic gear) to further customize your playstyle.


MentalMars: What were some of the challenges with setting up the tone of the game and telling a story?

I wanted to set ourselves apart from the more traditional type of fantasy storytelling that we are used to seeing. We made a bold choice early on in terms of tone. Our characters talk and act with modern sensibilities, against the backdrop of this unique fantasy setting.

I wanted relatable characters, and took a page from the MCU’s playbook, adding in some humor to balance out the drama. Writing a big epic story that takes the player across a 20+ hour journey is always challenging, but I think we have created something really compelling and special. I can’t wait for people to experience the story.


Cheap-Maintenance: Love the theme of the game that’s been revealed so far, but one major point for me is: Will there be an option for a third person mode because from the trailers I found it difficult to tell what was happening on screen because of how many explosive magic colors were being occurring in combat?

This game has been built for a first-person experience, so there won’t be a third-person mode.

Ascendant Studios

General_Snack: There seems to be only one at least recent game that has a comparison point to the “hand being the gun” which is Ghostwire Tokyo, do folks at the studio like this comparison? Are you frustrated by it because it’s not as similar as people think?

I never played Ghostwire Tokyo, but I’ve definitely heard the comparison. We started working on this game over four years ago and I think we are something very different. Our combat is very fast and fluid, our magic and world is unique, our story is a huge fantasy epic. We are first and foremost a magic shooter and pretty different than anything out there.


Sidegift: There will be any limited edition with figures or something like this?

We have a standard and a deluxe edition for players to choose from! The deluxe comes with a few unique in-game items, include sigils, rings, bracers, and totems.

Ascendant Studios

megaapple: My first impressions seeing it was “Mage FPS/Magic FPS”. Which is great because I feel that genre is severely untapped (ever since Heretic/Hexen).

Was IoA made to fill that niche? What was your philosophy that originated this game so as to serve the current generation of players?

When I first started pitching Immortals, everyone would immeditately say “Hexen,” which shows how long it’s been since someone tried a magic shooter! To me it felt like it was this huge missed opportunity. I had wanted to play a game like that for a long time, so that was the impetus to actually make the game.

In terms of philosophy, for me it always starts with establishing a few “pillars” of the game that will be the most important things in development. So things like “Be the Battlemage” or “Spell Comboing” or “Strange and Beautiful World” were established right from the start, when I was sitting in a cafe and writing up the original game design document. I felt that if we focused on a few key things, and did them really well, we would attract an audience and people would enjoy what we created.


CaptainMarvelLove: Can you spend special time with and chat to major cast members/story team mates (like Zendara, Devyn) outside of the main story quests and cinematics? Get to know them more personally. Perhaps do special missions from them?

There are opportunities to chat with the main cast and other NPCs, yep!

Ascendant Studios

MentalMars: How challenging was it to translate the traditional aspects of a shooter to a Magic shooter and how do you balance the visual spectacle without making the screen cluttered?

Certainly, this is a balancing act. What parts of a standard FPS do we keep and what do we change to be more magical? We decided to choose mechanics that supported fluid and fast combat, no crouch or “take cover” mechanics. Do things like “Gun sway” make sense without a large gun? We decided no. But things like Recoil and reloading, clip sizes and fire rates, made our spells feel ballistic and familiar. I love how the feel landed, and I hope you all do as well. The visual effects are key to the feel, but it is important for the gameplay to be legible. It was difficult, but again I think we landed on a chaotic but legible experience that reflects the game’s fast-paced magical vision.


MentalMars: If you could have one ability from the game, which one would it be and why?

Lash! Who doesn’t want a magical grapple hook in real life?


Hover. Wait, Blink. No…Shatter. Eh, too many good ones…


In real life? I think having a spell like Timeburst would be my pick. Who wouldn’t want to dilate time so you could finally get 8 hours of sleep in a night.


burritosenior: The trailer talked about sigils as a way to focus magic for combat. But it also said magic is everywhere. Do regular people have them for non-combat uses? I’m a world building fan!

In Aveum magni (magic users) are pretty rare, and those without magic are known as lightless. Even though they don’t posess their own magic powers, magically embued weapons and tools help to assist the lightless on the front lines of the Everwar. Outside of the Front, magical tools and constructs are used to fix carts and haul goods. If you look closely you can sometimes see children playing games with magical toys.


Thank you so much for all the questions today! If you’re interested in learning more, follow us on Twitter and be sure to join our Discord server. We’ll be doing another AMA on the 14th over there.

Ascendant Studios
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I'm a Content Creator by day and a BattleBread Baker at night. I'll provide you with your recommended slice of entertainment! I'm a Gearbox Community Badass and a proud member of the official Borderlands & Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Creator Team (2K Games / NextMakers).

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