Forspoken was supposed to be the next-gen technological gaming showcase, but EA’s Immortals of Aveum may have it beat in the “your PC need not apply” realm. Today, the company’s revealing the system requirements for Ascendant Studios’ “Call of Duty but with magic,” and they blow past anything a developer’s ever dared ask for.
The minimum spec is an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super or better or an AMD 5700 XT, paired with a Core i7-9700 or Ryzen 7 3700X, 16GB of dual-channel RAM, and with an SSD “strongly recommended” to play the game. That’s at a mere 1080p resolution, low to medium spec.
Based on the GPU requirements alone, it’s likely that under 9 percent of today’s gaming PCs will even qualify, based on the latest Steam hardware survey.
Why go so far when even games like Forspoken and Returnal still support a GTX 1060 or better and cater to the vast majority of PC gamers? Well, Ascendant CTO Mark Maratea talks a big game about breaking away from the past.
“From the start of development, the team here at Ascendant Studios wanted Immortals of Aveum to be a truly next-generation (now current generation) experience on a technical level,” his blog post begins. Here are a few more choice quotes:
- “In any other game, you might see what looks like a big craggy wall, but it’s actually flat with a craggy texture and maybe some shader trickery. We don’t have to do that; we actually build an object with all of that detail, and Nanite determines whether that detail shows up based on your distance.”
- “You’re watching an in-game cinematic and then the camera flies into Jack’s head and you assume first-person control—and everything looks the same. The visual fidelity is one-to-one, with only some changes to depth of field, motion blur, and other cinematic cutscene effects. Everything is in real time.”
- “When the lighting feels strange in a game, or there’s a lack of shadows, or the light doesn’t bounce right in places you’d expect to see it—that breaks the player’s immersion, even if only for a moment. This technology helps us get past that.”
- “On your travels through Aveum you’ll encounter structures and statues that reach into the sky, and they’re not just for show; with the power of your sigil, you’ll be able to reform the world around you to create new paths to traverse and new ways to explore. Giant statues made of ancient stone will move with life under the guidance of your hand. Overgrowth that wrapped itself around mountains eons ago will untangle and reach out at your will.”
- “On PC, our texture pool and visual quality floats based on your video card. So if you’re running a 4090, it feels like you’re playing the cinematics.”
- On Unreal Engine 5: “Some of the ideas the team would throw out there, we just wouldn’t have been able to do it, because we didn’t have the technology. ‘Hey let’s have a 400-foot walking mech level, in the ocean, and we can have the mech come under attack from airships, and you’re fighting inside the mech, and you’re fighting on top of the mech, and maybe you almost fall off the mech at one point?’—and it would be like, ‘How would we ever make that a reality?’ But that level is in the game.”
I’m a little skeptical, first because this is a game that also runs on a $400 PlayStation 5 with a fraction of the horsepower Ascendant requires on PC, and second because it’s hard to see most of what Maratea is talking about in the new videos that EA and Ascendant are releasing today, both below and at the top of this story. They look good, though.
But perhaps that’s because game developers have gotten very, very good at crafting illusions without as much horsepower as it would take to do things “for real.” And by building the world a little differently, Immortals is promising it will take advantage of future graphics cards more than you’d normally expect, too.
“Our art assets are absolutely massive in quality and size because we didn’t compromise and develop for last gen and instead built for next-gen and optimized for current-gen,” Maratea tells The Verge. “As more powerful graphics cards and consoles are released, it’ll unlock greater visual fidelity in the form of higher poly models and textures, higher quality shadows, more bounces in the lighting calculations, further draw distances, and more.”
“You could say we used the technology available to us today to future proof our game for many years to come,” he adds.
Ray tracing “has become the new line of demarcation”
Maratea says that with these particular system requirements, Ascendant is drawing a line in the sand between systems that support ray tracing and those that don’t — that’s why the PS5 and Xbox Series X qualify with their integrated AMD RDNA2 graphics but an old GTX 1060 won’t. “Simply put, Lumen requires GPUs capable of ray tracing, which both the PS5 and Xbox Series X have. Obviously, not all PC GPUs support ray tracing and that has become the new line of demarcation,” he says.
That doesn’t entirely make sense given that the AMD 5700 XT is not a hardware accelerated ray tracing card — when I pointed that out, the company provided this statement:
The 5700 XT would be the minimum spec we are targeting for software-based raytracing, and our team is working hard to continue optimizing the game until launch in July. We will be transparent with our community and update our recommended minimum requirements if anything changes.
The game is also playable on console because of fancy tech, not just in spite of it. Maratea tells The Verge that Immortals will use AMD’s FSR2 upscaling “to maintain HD and UHD quality visuals without compromising framerate” and that console players will have their pick of Quality or Performance modes.
Since the PC minimum system requirements are so high, we asked Maratea if he could provide components from each subsequent generation that meet the minimum spec as well — lest I think my 3060 Ti is good enough to substitute for a 2080 Super. (It’s not.)
For Intel CPUs, it’s that Intel 9700 or higher, 10600 or higher, 11500 or higher, 12400 or higher, or 13400 or higher. For AMD CPUs, it’s the stated AMD 3700X or higher, 5700G or higher, 5700X or higher, or 7700 or higher.
On the GPU side of things, you’ll want an Nvidia 2080 or higher, 3070 or higher, 4060 or higher, or an AMD 5700 XT or higher, 6800 XT or higher or AMD 7700 XT or higher. (It’s not clear why the 5700 XT is sufficient, and yet some more powerful Nvidia and AMD cards are not. Originally we were told the 5800 XT was min spec, but that card was never sold.)
Immortals of Aveum is due out July 20th for PS5, Xbox Series X and S, and Windows PC. The studio says it’ll keep optimizing the game “all the way up to launch,” so there’s still some time for the system requirements to change. It’ll cost $60 on PC, $10 less than it does on console.