How Call of Duty directly inspired new magic-infused FPS Immortals of Aveum
Different types of magic pave way for different methods of dispatching foes.
Former Call of Duty creative director Bret Robbins grew tired of the “typical” CoD campaign experience and ventured out to create something fresh, something more magical, something we now know as Immortals of Aveum.
After years of top-level experience guiding the development of Modern Warfare 2, Advanced Warfare, and Call of Duty: WWII, now CEO of his own team at Ascendant Studios, Bret Robbins, sought a fresh approach to the FPS experience, one with a more magical twist.
In fact, it was his time working on the CoD franchise that directly influenced his new venture in the industry. While working on a particular campaign level, a vision all but seared itself into his mind. A vision he couldn’t shake, Robbins described during a recent media event.
“I was reviewing some work, it was a very typical Call of Duty level,” Robbins explained. “A big battle scene happening down a city street. There were helicopters flying overhead, RPGs blowing up around you, typical chaos out of a Call of Duty level. I just remember stopping and thinking, you know, instead of a helicopter, what if that was a dragon?”
From that initial thought, seeds were planted for what would eventually blossom into Immortals of Aveum years down the road. Pulling together experienced developers with a history working on FPS juggernauts like CoD, Bioshock, Borderlands, and Halo, to name a few, the team at Ascendant Studios has been working for the last half-decade on bringing Robbins’ dragon-led idea to life.
“Instead of RPG shells hitting a wall, what if those were fireballs cast from a Battle Mage?” he continued. “What if I was a Battle Mage? Instead of Assault Rifles, I was using some kind of awesome, magic weapon? This whole idea formed in a flash to me. I just remember stopping and thinking, man, where’s that game? I want to play that game. Fast forward a bit and I said, I want to make that game. That one idea really stuck with me.”
From that early idea, maintaining the action-packed flow of a Call of Duty experience, but looking at it through a new magic-oriented lens, Immortals of Aveum was born. Though it’s more than just a shared baseline concept that links the new Electronic Arts Originals title to Activision’s hit FPS franchise, quite the opposite. CoD remains part of this new game’s DNA in a number of ways, Robbins added.
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“My time with Call of Duty was instrumental to how I wanted combat to feel [in Immortals of Aveum],” he said. “In that franchise we spent a lot of time making sure combat was fast, fluid, smooth, running at a high frame rate, so I brought a lot of that to what we’re doing here.”
So when players jump in, they expect all the hallmark qualities of the industry’s most successful FPS series to be of paramount importance here. From top-level fundamentals like a smooth frame rate in hectic combat scenarios, down to the variety of weapons in moment-to-moment gameplay, in many ways, the new title is a traditional shooter at its core, just with a completely original flair.
Speaking of the unique weapons. With three different colors of magic to cycle through, players have plenty of options quite literally on their hands in Immortals of Aveum. One may come across like a shotgun blast, dealing high damage to enemies up close. While another may appear as a more fully automatic-style magic cast, locking onto targets and hunting them down from afar. All of the various tools will “feel really good, visceral, and impactful,” Robbins stressed, assuring the key CoD qualities remain intact. Magic won’t “feel soft or strange to what a shooter fan might expect.”
Ultimately though, while CoD clearly served as a key inspiration throughout development and of course proved pivotal in the game’s genesis, Robbins and the team at Ascendant Studios implored Immortals of Aveum is so much more than just Call of Duty with a “fantasy” label slapped on. “We are our own game.”
Promising a campaign with a runtime north of 25 hours, a rich history of lore for fans to unravel, and a stat-heavy equipment system to dive into, there’s certainly a lot for players to look forward to when Immortals of Aveum rolls out on July 30.