Veteran FPS Devs Form New Studio To Make Games Inside Fortnite

Veteran game developers from Bungie, EA, and Kongregate have come together to form a new video game studio, Look North World. And this new studio will be focused on making… Fortnite games?

Since Fortnite’s release in 2017, Epic has continually updated and expanded the game, adding new content, weapons, and modes like Creative Mode, which lets players build their own maps to share online. The most recent major evolution came this March when Epic launched Unreal Engine for Fortnite (UEFN). This lets people create, for free, more advanced maps and even different games inside Fortnite. This not only makes it easier than ever to create games and playable prototypes, but all UEFN creations can be played seamlessly in Fortnite, providing indie devs a giant audience for their creations. It’s likely this ease of access combined with the huge Fortnite audience is what’s attracted some veteran game devs.

On July 18, Alex Seropian, Jay Pecho, Patrick Moran, Kyle Marks, Aaron Marroquin, and Prashant Patil announced their new game development studio, Look North World. This team of developers is made up of vets from EA and Kongregate and will be led by Seropian, who helped found Bungie (Halo, Destiny) back in the day.

Now, if you’ve been paying attention to video game news over the last two years, a new studio formed by devs from other, bigger companies might sound like a familiar situation. That’s because we’ve seen plenty of game devs leaving big publishers and studios to create their own new outfits, as detailed in this (shockingly) long thread on Twitter. But what makes Look North World different is that these vets formed a new games studio to exclusively build projects inside Fortnite.

“Developing in UEFN opens a whole new world of opportunities, and we are in uncharted territory,” said Seropian. “Through experimentation, we will see what the players like and involve them in decisions.”

“We are jumping into it with a ‘the virtual sky is the limit’ mentality,” he continued. “As we develop creative ideas, we will learn how these platforms engage, entertain, and boost social interactions in order to iterate accordingly.”

Why make games inside Fortnite?

Look North World’s first game is already here. Outlaw Corral, live now in Fortnite, is a Wild West-themed 1v1 shooter that can be played for free inside Epic’s popular game. Look North World says this is just one of several UEFN games it currently has in development.

While it might seem wild that some devs are jumping ship to make games inside Fortnite, the reality is that UEFN games can become hugely successful.

A Fortnite-based clone of Only Up has become one of the most popular games in the world, and has probably made its devs a lot of money, thanks to Epic’s system for paying UEFN devs. If Look North World can create a few games that are even just a fraction as big as that Only Up clone, it’s likely it could make real money in the process.

And because Fortnite handles all of the servers and infrastructure, it seems reasonable that it’s a cheaper way to create online video games, helping even small hits become profitable. If this new studio succeeds in Fortnite, don’t be surprised if others start investing more time and money into creating UEFN games, too.

New Last Of Us PC Mod Turns Game Into Intense FPS

The Last of Us Part 1 is a brutal game that features a lot of murder and gore. But because the game is played from a third-person perspective, there is a bit of distance between players and its intense action. But that distance disappears when the game is modded into an action-packed first-person shooter.

In March, Naughty Dog released the remastered PS5 version of the original Last of Us on PC. Initially, this version of the popular post-apocalyptic zombie survival game was a mess, filled with bugs and other problems. But since then, the developers have apologized for the lousy port and improved it. And now, as the Last of Us Part 1 on PC gets more stable, people are beginning to mod the game.

As first spotted by, YouTuber and modder Voyagers Revenge is working on a first-person mod for Last of Us on PC. The mod is intended to make the game not only play like a first-person shooter, but also make the combat more intense and violent. You can see the mod in action in a recently uploaded eight-minute gameplay video.

The Last of Us in First Person Mode – Brutal Combat & New Aggressive Gameplay [PC Mods 4K 60FPS HDR]

In the video, the creator shows off how the combat from the Last of Us Part 1 translates to a FPS-like perspective. At one point we see Joel holding off waves of infected enemies with a handgun and rifle, and it almost plays out like something from Dying Light or Far Cry. It’s surprising that, even in this unfinished state, the mod looks extremely playable and professional. If you told me this was some new VR mode being added to the game by Naughty Dog themselves that would work with PSVR2 headsets, I’d probably believe you.

According to Voyagers Revenge’s videos, the mod, which they’ve been working on for a few months already, is being developed using tools created by other modders Flawless Widescreen, JediJosh920, and TheMagicalBlob.

Now the bad news: Voyagers Revenge doesn’t have a release date for this FPS mod. In the comments under the new gameplay video, they explain that this version of the mod is “unstable” and was built on an “older build of the game” that is prone to crashing. However, the creator does suggest that some version of the mod might be released publicly in the future, telling viewers to “stay tuned” and adding that “the mod community for [Last of Us] is going to wake up.”

Studio Behind EA’s Magical FPS Has Layoffs After Low Sales

On August 22, Immortals of Aveum was released on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. Three and a half weeks later, around half of the staff who worked on the game have reportedly been laid off after it failed to sell enough copies to satisfy its publisher. It’s yet another round of layoffs to hit the game industry this year.

Developed by Ascendant Studios and published by EA as an “EA Original,” Immortals of Aveum was billed as an AAA FPS that ditched guns for wild-looking magic attacks. Originally scheduled to launch in July, the game was delayed until late August, putting its release date near the launches of Starfield and Armored Core VI. Some worried that this might lead to Immortals of Aveum getting overlooked as players flocked to the bigger, more hyped releases from Bethesda and FromSoftware. It didn’t help that when Immortals did launch on August 22, the game suffered from performance woes on PC as players with even powerful rigs struggled to play it.

Now it seems the game failed to meet sales expectations, and Ascendant Studios is laying off staff to cut costs.

As first reported by Polygon, on Thursday around 40 people were laid off at Ascendant Studios. The layoffs were announced in a meeting by studio CEO Bret Robbins. Three employees at the studio told Polygon that around 80 to 100 people worked at the company before the layoffs. Another former employee told the outlet that the poor sales of Immortals of Aveum were cited as the reason for the layoffs. Employees at the studio were reportedly told the layoffs were necessary to keep the company running.

Kotaku contacted EA for comment and was pointed toward a statement from Ascendant Studios’ CEO posted on Twitter on September 14, which confirmed that the layoffs affected about 45 percent of the studio’s staff and which called the decision “painfully difficult, but necessary.”

“We are supporting those affected in every way we can,” wrote Robbins in his statement, “including comprehensive severance packages and job placement assistance, as well as support services for those who remain.”

I am so proud of what our independent development team has accomplished with Immortals of Aveum. Together we’ve created a new AAA studio, a new IP, on new technology, during an era of our industry when that is exceedingly rare. We’ve poured our passion into Immortals, while wearing our hearts on our sleeves. The studio will continue to work that way as we support the development of this game and our Immortals IP moving forward with future updates and offers.

According to the report from Polygon, a former employee of the studio explained that Immortals of Aveum is probably one of Electronic Arts’ worst-selling Originals and it was claimed that, before this larger round of departures, several other people were laid off shortly after the game’s launch.

This latest round of layoffs is sadly not the first of 2023. Since the beginning of this year, Firaxis, CD Projekt Red, Unity, Kabam Games, Ubisoft, Take-Two, Riot Games, Meta, and other companies have announced rounds of layoffs. Back in March, EA itself announced that 800 people had lost their jobs. We also saw the recent closure of Volition, the studio behind Saints Row, after 30 years of developing games. It’s a tough time to be a game developer, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier.

Correction 09/14/2023 16:35 p.m. ET: This story’s original headline suggested that EA made the layoff decision. It’s been reworded to make clear that Ascendant studio management made that choice.

FPS Crushing Steam Charts Already Ruined By Cheaters, AI

The Finals is a forthcoming free-to-play first-person shooter from new studio Embark, set in a fictional game show’s death arena. Its open beta—which you can sign up for now through November 5 on Steam, PS5, or Xbox Series X/S—promises confetti colors and similarly striking flames and explosions. It looks exciting, and its playtest reviews seem promising, but some early players are finding its ugly dust bunnies: a bunch of cheaters and stiff AI-generated voice acting.

The cheaters will presumably be easier for Embark to take care of; The Finals doesn’t have a release date yet, so there’s time to patch holes. But there are (if you listen to the subreddit) so many cheaters plaguing the open beta.

The FPS currently stands at number five on Steam’s Top 100 played games chart, peaking at nearly a quarter of a million concurrent players. Even with this huge audience, some players say the cheaters stand out and destroy gameplay.


“Today I’ve run into up to 3 obviously hacking players in each match, sometimes for several matches in a row,” one Reddit user said in a post about cheaters. “It’s a flood, and I worry it’s rapidly going to get worse.”

“We’re actively working on improving the situation,” Embark wrote in The Finals’ Discord on October 30. “Accounts that are cheating are not going undetected despite cheat vendors’ assurances. We have the necessary information, and we’re taking action on it.”

The developer encouraged players to continue to report instances of cheating, and noted that players who have been “running unauthorized third-party software, scripts, vulnerable drivers, or badware” might now be blocked or suspended from the game.

Embark is less likely to align with its fans’ interests in terms of AI, though. In a July episode of its podcast, Embark said that “with a few exceptions” for grunts and breaths, The Finals uses AI text-to-speech voice acting.

“The reason that we go this route,” audio director Andreas Almström said, “is that AI text-to-speech is finally extremely powerful. It gets us far enough in terms of quality and allows us to be extremely reactive to new ideas.”

Players and voice actors alike, however, find it “unnatural,” one Reddit post said. “With how polished the rest of the game is, could they not have spent a bit of money hiring some voice actors?”

“I hope they take player feedback into consideration and just cast someone,” voice actor Gianni Matragrano wrote on Twitter. With no set release date, like with The Finals’ cheating, Embark has a chance to turn things around, or not.

There’s hope: in a statement provided to IGN on October 31, Embark said that “making games without actors isn’t an end goal.”

“In the instances we use [text-to-speech] in The Finals, it’s always based on real voices,” a spokesperson said. “In the open beta, it is based on a mix of professional voice actors and temporary voices from Embark employees.”

Update 10/31/2023 10:15 a.m. ET: Included Embark’s public statement on A.I.

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