Since its inception in 2016, under its EA Originals label, Electronic Arts has published a number of legitimately great games, from It Takes Two and Knockout City to A Way Out and more. Soon enough, the next game in that line will be launching as well, with Immortals of Aveum set to release in July- and it’s also looking like possibly the biggest game to be published by EA under the Originals banner. Even beyond the sheer scale of the project though, from its central premise to all of the promises it’s making about what kind of experience it will deliver, there’s plenty about Immortals of Aveum that has caught the eye in the lead up to its launch.
Of course, in a market that’s saturated with first person shooters, it’s only natural to ask- why is another new FPS something that you should care about? There’s no shortage of shooters out there that are so concretely established, so thoroughly entrenched, that a new entry in the genre, especially from a new studio and in a new IP, is always going to have a major uphill battle on its hands, so what is it about Immortals of Aveum that should make you care? Well, interestingly enough, that’s where the game’s most immediate hook comes in. It’s being billed as a bombastic first person shooter filled with high octane action and set pieces galore, but instead of your usual military or sci-fi setting, Immortals of Aveum is set entirely in a fantasy world, and sees you playing as a battle mage.
Though set to be developer Ascendant Studios’ debut title, it’s worth mentioning that its director and the founder of the developer, Bret Robbins has had a lot of experience with directing big budget blockbuster first person shooter campaigns. He was at Sledgehammer Games for nearly a decade, and while at the studio, he served as creative director on the campaigns for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and Call of Duty: WW2. Clearly, this is a team that has got experience with the genre coursing through it right from the very top, so to see it working on a game that eschews a conventional setting and instead decides to blend the familiar mechanics and elements of a shooter with a more fantastical world is intriguing, to say the least.
That was, in fact, the core of the idea that Robbins initially started out with before Immortals of Aveum’s development even began. What if in this adrenaline fueled FPS campaign that you’re going through, instead of that chopper flying over you, it was a dragon? What if instead of a sniper taking shots at you from a distance, it was a mage? What if instead of shooting guns, you were shooting out magic from your hands? Sure enough, it’s an exciting idea, so we’re more than a little curious to see how it gets fleshed out in the full game. And yes, it wasn’t that long ago that Ghostwire: Tokyo did the whole “FPS that replaces guns with hand magic” thing, but to see that concept realized in a full-fledged fantasy setting should hopefully make for a much more complete experience.
Of course, another major thing about Immortals of Aveum that’s helped it garner attention is the fact that it is a completely single player game. Being a new first person shooter published by EA, that’s the last thing you’d expect it to be, but Ascendant Studios has made it abundantly clear that a hundred percent of its focus during development has been on crafting the game’s big, bombastic single player campaign. While the developer as confirmed that it has been playing around with ideas for multiplayer as well, and while that may eventually end up coming to fruition in some manner at some point down the line, for now, when Immortals of Aveum releases, it’ll be concerned with one thing and one thing only- deliver a cinematic, story-driven single player campaign. Yet another example of how EA has slowly come back around on single player experiences, and we’re all for it.
Of course, being a solo game in and of itself doesn’t necessarily mean it’s guaranteed to be a good time. For a game that’s claiming to be cinematic and story-driven, it goes without saying that how good its story, its storytelling, its world, and its characters are will have a big role to play in how hard it ends up hitting. Ascendant Studios says it has crafted a rich world that’s teeming with engaging lore, fun characters, and big moments, and though those are certainly the right promises, there’s no way of knowing whether they’ll be fulfilled until we’ve actually played the game ourselves.
One area where it does seem like Immortals of Aveum is going to deliver is the volume of content it will have on offer. According to its developers, the game will be over 20-25 hours long if you’re just sticking to the critical path, and much longer than that if you choose to engage with the side content more thoroughly. And there will seemingly be plenty of side content. Players will be going from area to area, but each will apparently be quite sizeable with plenty of room for exploration, leading to optional paths, hidden content, and more. Meanwhile, interestingly enough, Immortals of Aveum will also incorporate Metroidvania design elements, with new abilities gained over the course of the campaign allowing you to head back to older areas to reach previously inaccessible locations.
That, in fact, is another aspect of the game that’s turned a few heads, and certainly our own- that though it’s obviously supposed to be a first person shooter with explosive action, it’s not putting all of its eggs in the combat basket. Outside of combat, there’s exploration to engage in, Metroidvania level design to enjoy, plenty of puzzles to get through using your many abilities, progression systems to dive into, and more. Of course, the combat itself is one of the game’s core pillars, and from unique companion characters to a variety of different spells, it seems to have some interesting elements in place to deliver a solid combat system. How well it ends up using those elements when it comes to things such as enemy variety, encounter design, how players can mix and match their spells, and more remains to be seen.
Immortals of Aveum has been in development for five years at this point (which is surprised, considering the fact that until December, we hadn’t head a single peep about it), so clearly, Ascendant Studios has been chipping away at it for a while as it looks to realize its vision of a single player magic shooter. Meanwhile, the fact that the developer has also said that it hopes to turn this into a franchise of its own tells you all you need to know about how high its hopes for its debut projects are. Of course, very rarely will you find a developer that doesn’t big up its game in similar fashion before launch, but from what we’ve seen of it so far, Immortals of Aveum certainly seems to be a game that may very well end up vindicating said bigging up. Here’s hoping it can actually stick the landing.
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