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,Leighton Milne and Andrew Pahuru decided to leave their jobs and make Ashen. But that is getting a bit ahead of ourselves, let’s go back to the beginning.

Leighton, Andrew and Derek met in 2008 while working at Sidhe Interactive, a New Zealand based games studio. After leaving Sidhe, Leighton and Derek 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.
Aurora44 was formed in September 2013. Shortly after, the three quit their jobs to focus on bringing Ashen to life.

Meet the Team

Derek Bradley has worked in an array of roles throughout his professional career, from advertising to film and games. He wears many hats, while coding, designing or producing art for Ashen.
Leighton Milne is the Art Lead on Ashen. As an accomplished sculptor and environment artist, his vision drives the look and feel of Ashen.
Andrew Pahuru brings years of experience as a programmer to Aurora44, having collaborated on indie games as well as working at larger studios.
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.
Brian Holl and Eric Hillman of Foreign Fields are the minds behind the soundtrack for Ashen. Their music has a way of transporting the listener to another place, we plan to take players there.

In total, the team has racked up an assortment of credits, including AAA movies such as The Hobbit, The Avengers and The Adventures of Tintin.



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



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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
    • "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

    Foreign Fields

    Yannick Gillain

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