- Get a first look at Immortals of Aveum, a new single-player magic shooter launching July 20th
- Dig into what inspired the world of Aveum with Art Director Dave Bogan and Associate Art Director Julia Lichtblau
- Learn how Ascendant Studios is drawing from its Call of Duty background to craft a compelling first-person combat system
The moment you virtually step into the vibrant, mysterious world of Aveum, everything feels simultaneously new but extremely familiar. It looks like a landscape that you’ve stepped into, the characters talk to you in a way that feels commonplace, but this fantasy setting is nothing the worlds you’ve experienced before. In a recent preview, we got to take a first look at Immortals of Aveum, and chat to two of the game’s designers about the inspiration behind this magical new realm.
Immortals of Aveum is an upcoming single-player magic FPS set in the titular land of Aveum. You’ll assume the role of Jak, a Battlemage learning to harness the magic coursing through his world. As an Unforeseen, Jak discovers his abilities later in life, and Aveum’s most powerful kingdoms are at war. It’s up to Jak to unlock his power, and work alongside the Immortals to help save Aveum from destruction.
What makes Immortals of Aveum feel unique at first glance is the combination of two things. First up is the studio’s backstory; Ascendant Studios is led by Bret Robbins, Creative Director of Dead Space, and former Creative Director at Sledgehammer Games on several Call of Duty titles. This best-in-class FPS design shines through Immortals of Aveum’s combat; it’s a first-person shooter but the weapon that you wield is magic. We’ll delve more into that in a bit.
The second component is that Immortals of Aveum is inspired by a seemingly endless smorgasbord of magical realms, but it’s this dense mixture of inspiration from countless places that makes it stand out. Dave Bogan, Art Director at Ascendant Studios, tells us that from the very get-go, the team set out to create a “new look” for fantasy.
Bogan cites a handful of the creative influences he grew up with, including Dungeons and Dragons, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and “cartoons with cool Japanese robots” to name a few. The team starts by selecting several references from their own preferences — visual inspiration that they would like to bring into the game, and examples of ideas that they don’t want to include.
“It’s really about subconsciously drawing inspiration and influence from all those things, and letting it come out in interesting shapes and languages, while keeping an eye on things that exist out there and trying not to replicate anything,” he says.
Julia Lichtblau, Associate Art Director at Ascendant Studios says that Immortals of Aveum’s unique feel comes from the juxtaposition of old and new. A lot of the structures in the world are inspired by oppressive, medieval forts of old, and the villages are brimming with rustic, pastoral charm often seen in old Europe. This design is mixed with the presence of magic, which allows the inhabitants of Aveum to combine antique settings with advanced crafting.
“Magic is essentially their technology,” Lichtblau explains. “They’re able to use it to bend the rules of architectural design, so you’re seeing big sweeping shapes and giant white skyscrapers that could have been built by advanced magic users of that time. That dichotomy makes it feel a bit unexpected.”
This combination of familiar and futuristic goes beyond the world design, seeping into character styling, dialogue and language, giving the inhabitants of Aveum a unique edge. Bogan points to Jak’s design, the cut of a motorcycle jacket giving sci-fi vibes with chainmail stitched to it for an medieval fantasy flavour.
“Aveum is always binding elements from different worlds and times that are helping it feel otherworldly,” he adds.
Ascendant Studios’ background in Call of Duty shines prevalently through Immortals of Aveum, but the team has opted to embrace those elements rather than shy away from it. Robbins asks a simple, but idea provoking question in the preview: “What if instead of a helicopter, you’re fighting a dragon?”, and it’s that line of thinking that has allowed Immortals of Aveum to feel familiar to FPS players, but fresh and exciting to fantasy fans too.
The shooting mechanic in Immortals of Aveum consists of three main types of magic. Jak harnesses his powers through his Sigil, and can fire Force (blue), Chaos (red) and Life (green) magic. Each of these types have different ranges and fire rates, giving you the opportunity to mix it up depending on your playstyle. There’s over 25 spells and 80 Talents to unlock throughout the game, so combat can be deeply customised for every brawl and battle.
Bogan explains that there’s a lot of direct correlation between the Sigils and a regular FPS with guns. The Sigils all have crystals, which allow the spells themselves to act like projectiles with different properties, similar to traditional weapons.
“It was important for people that play first person shooters to feel the relation and to understand, ‘oh, this is the type of weapon I use for this or that’,” Bogan says. “But it’s a little bit more unhinged in visual design, which is cool.”
Lichtblau adds that this framework means anyone that loves first-person shooters will be able to jump into Immortals of Aveum, and says that the combat is “really easy to pick up and really satisfying to master.”
Immortals of Aveum promises a unique new magical world to explore and a robust combat system that allows for much more freedom than your standard shooter, but Lichtblau says that it’s the game’s story that sets it apart from games of its ilk.
“The way the characters are written, the way they interact with each other, it feels incredibly fresh,” Lichtblau says. “It’s hard for me to even pick a favourite because they all have such nuance, and that’s something I haven’t seen in a long time.”
Immortals of Aveum is set to launch on Xbox Series X|S July 20th. Preorders for the game will go live on EA’s website tomorrow, so stay tuned for details.