The premise of Ion could've changed how we think about video games but now we'll never know.
Ion, the ambitious space-survival game led by Dean Hall, the designer of DayZ, has been canceled, according to Eurogamer. Before now, we hadn’t learned anything new about the game since it was revealed at Microsoft’s E3 press briefing in 2015. Hall accompanied a brief teaser trailer with a lofty and ambiguous statement on what Ion was meant to be.
“I want a game that is not a game. I want a game that is a universe. A universe built not on scripts or quests, but on the laws of physics, biology, and chemistry. A simulation MMO that explores mankind’s expansion into space; the chance to be a pioneer in a harsh universe swamped with the risk of death yet peppered with the havens of fortune,” Hall said. The project was said to be inspired by Space Station 13. The MMO would ask players to explore the reaches of space, build inhabitable structures, and eventually die, all in the name of getting closer as a species to colonize the universe.
To accomplish his vision, Hall’s studio, RocketWerkz, partnered with Improbable Studios, the creators of the SpatialOS engine, which was slated to be used to bring Hall’s vision to fruition. While it’s unclear exactly why the game is no longer development, it appears as if the collaborators simply wanted to move in their own directions.
Improbable stated that it has been moving toward a platform for games to be deployed on, rather than a studio that offers development assistance to games like Ion.
Hall confirmed that neither he nor anyone else at RocketWerkz is working on Ion at this time. He also said, “Ion could only happen with a company like Improbable, with the scale of technology like that, and that’s not a game we could do alone.”
Since Improbable has no plans to develop games, it seems Ion is officially scrapped.
RocketWerkz has developed for virtual reality systems as of late. The small studio’s debut HTC Vive exclusive Out of Ammo received positive reception in 2016. A stand-alone follow-up, Out of Ammo: Death Drive to Italica is expected to launch sometime in 2017.