Based in Wellington, New Zealand

Founding date:
September 30, 2013


Press / Business Contact:



+64 27 425 0732


The Game - Ashen

Ashen is an action RPG about a wanderer in search of a place to call home. There is no sun and the natural light that exists comes from eruptions that cover the land in ash. This is a world where nothing lasts, no matter how tightly you cling to it.

At its core, Ashen is about forging relationships.
Players can choose to guide those they trust to their camp, encouraging them to rest at the fire and perhaps remain. People you meet out in the world will have unique skills and crafting abilities to bolster your chances of survival.
Together, you might just stand a chance.


  • Passive Multiplayer. People you meet out in the world are players with their own agendas. It will be up to you to decide how to deal with them.

  • Non-linear progression. No two games will ever be the same. This is a world that moves on without you. Simply being in a different place at a certain time will alter the story in dramatic ways.

  • Open World Exploration. Your settlement is nestled in the mountains, surrounded by handcrafted environments as far as the eye can see.

  • High Risk Combat. Each encounter, no matter how trivial seeming, has the potential to end in disaster. Knowing the land and being patient are some of the most valuable weapons available to a lone wanderer in Ashen. Sometimes it is best to turn and run.

  • The Creatures of Ashen include rare, lonely giants and hungry, twisted inhabitants of the night. Despite the perils of the darkness, life always finds a way. This is a land teaming with a diverse array of flora and fauna.

  • The Town will be cobbled together from survivors you choose to bring to your settlement. They might provide you with help ranging from blacksmithing to foraging expertise.

  • Platforms - PC


The Beginning

Aurora44 was founded in 2013 when Derek Bradley and Leighton Milne decided to leave their jobs at Weta Digital and make Ashen. But that is getting a bit ahead of ourselves, let’s go back to the beginning.

Leighton and Derek met in 2008 while working at Sidhe Interactive, a New Zealand based games studio. After leaving Sidhe, they once again worked together at Weta Digital in 2011 on everything from The Planet of the Apes to The Hobbit.
In 2012, they decided to make a game, and so Ashen was born.
The two formed Aurora44 in September 2013. Shortly after, they quit their jobs to focus on bringing Ashen to life.

Meet the Team

Thomas Scholes began creating concepts for Ashen in April 2013. He has provided the team with a rich tapestry from which to draw narrative and visual inspiration.
John Robert Matz is the Sound Designer on Ashen. John's passion for games and music makes him an ideal candidate to create an immersive soundscape for the game. His previous projects include Artemis and Enemy Starfighter.
Brian Holl and Eric Hillman of Foreign Fields will be creating the soundtrack for Ashen. Their music has a way of transporting the listener to another place, we plan to take players there.
Yannick Gillain brings a wealth of animation experience to the team having animated on films such as The Hobbit and Iron Man 3. Yannick currently works at Weta Digital.
Andrew Pahuru, who also worked at Sidhe Interactive back in 2008, has joined up as the second programmer on the team. Andrew brings years of experience as a programmer to Aurora44, having collaborated on indie games as well as working at larger studios.

In total, the team has racked up an assortment of credits, including AAA movies such as The Avengers and The Adventures of Tintin. Games credits include Halo 4, Guild Wars 2 and Gunpoint.



There are currently no trailers available for Aurora44. Check back later for more or contact us for specific requests!



There are far more images available for Aurora44, but these are the ones we felt would be most useful to you. If you have specific requests, please do contact us!

download logo files as .zip (1MB)

Awards & Recognition

    Selected Articles

    • "Every small thing you do and don't do, every person you ignore and fight alongside, even the times you give up and turn back home; it'll all be part of the experience that you forge and take away from the game. "
      - Chris Priestman, Kill Screen
    • "This is Ashen. It's "an action RPG about a wanderer in search of a place to call home". It looks awesome."
      - Luke Plunkett, Kotaku
    • "The Ashen website promises “open world”, “passive multiplayer”, “non-linear progression” and “high risk combat”, which are all things that sound exciting and Up My Street and My Bag so on."
      - Graham Smith, Rock, Paper, Shotgun
    • "Like the bold romanticism of Friedrich’s work, there’s a feeling here of steadfast duty in the face of darkness and uncertainty."
      - Chloi Rad, Indie Statik
    • "One look at the bleak windswept plains, the pale air tinged grey with ash, the low-poly art style, I knew this was a world I needed to explore."
      - Christian Valentin, Indie Game Enthusiast
    • "The art style somewhat reminds me of Superbrothers: Sword and Sorcery, but in a beautiful 3D setting – awesome."
      - Adam Gell, HITC Tech

    Team & Repeating Collaborators

    Derek Bradley

    Leighton Milne

    Andrew Pahuru

    Thomas Scholes
    Concept Art

    John Robert Matz
    Sound Design

    Foreign Fields

    Yannick Gillain

    presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks