Dean Hall’s space sandbox MMO Ion is dead

Way back in 2015, Dean Hall announced Ion, a ridiculously ambitious sci-fi space sandbox MMO built using Improbable’s SpatialOS. And now it’s dead.

Eurogamer went digging and got statements from Improbable and Hall that imply it’s game over for the game; Improbably says it’s not working on Ion but wouldn’t really comment further, and Hall said that he and his New Zealand studio aren’t working on it either — in fact, it hasn’t been active since fall of last year and couldn’t be done without Improbable. There’s clearly plenty left being unsaid.

And just so we understand exactly what we’re losing here: Hall was adamant at E3 2015 that the game was an MMO. “We had a lot of marketing people saying, don’t call it an MMO. Everyone will think it’s orcs and wizards running around,” he said at the time. “It’s stale [the MMO genre]. My point is, that’s exactly why we have to own it as an MMO. It is. It’s inspired by EVE Online and Space Station 13. I’m hoping that we can show there are so many areas you can innovate in terms of MMOs.”

Dammit.

Source: Eurogamer
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25 Comments on "Dean Hall’s space sandbox MMO Ion is dead"

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CloakingDonkey .

He’s a grenade, though.

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Alberto

It was dead the minute Dean Hall’s names came up for me….. its a shame but I guess Hellion will have to give me my hard core space survival fix.

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Sorenthaz

That’s incredibly disappointing. Space Station 13 is one of the real gems that have come from BYOND. Hell there are games on BYOND that are pretty much 2d sandboxes like DB Finale and its several spinoffs/rips. Basically was doing things better than Dragon Ball Online and Xenoverse in terms of getting to make a character in the series universe and build up power and skills and do stuff around a pretty large 2d universe.

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Rottenrotny

Bummer. We really need some more sci-fi MMOs.
All the current ones are faceroll casual fests or vaporware.
I don’t really count Eve as an MMO. :P

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Robert Mann

Sad, but expected.

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Greaterdivinity

Considering the fate of DayZ (year 3 of paid alpha, baby!) this should come as a surprise to nobody.

Can we go back to ignoring him and whatever the next vaporware project he works on? That would be real nice.

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nobleeinherjar

Pretty much this. I had no idea this project existed but I can’t say I’m surprised to hear it got canceled.

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MesaSage

There was a drive-thru coffee shop that went up near me called “Bean and Gone”. Cute. It lasted less then six months. Words have an effect and you should choose them carefully.

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silverlock

I remember working at a marina when I guy pulled up to the dock with a boat named “On the Rocks II” I was like didn’t he learn the first time?

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agemyth 😩

Making games is hard.

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Alex Willis

Why is there all this talk of “blame”, or deflecting blame? Quoting Hall, from the article: “You know me, I don’t like not saying anything”…”I’m definitely of the opinion that you don’t deflect blame to someone else simply because it falls at you”.

1) Nobody is suggesting anybody but Hall is responsible. So he can drop the white knight routine.
2) There’s nothing to mourn because nothing ever happened — besides promises, all of which originated from Dean Hall.

This isn’t even Vaporware — it’s WoolgatheringWare.

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enamel

“There’s nothing to mourn because nothing ever happened”

Exactly, it seems very odd to mourn the loss of something that never existed in any meaningful way in the first place.

mednioz
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mednioz

Oh this ion’s temptation – once was Ion Storm, now just Ion …

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Rhime

Star Citizen is shaping up nicely. I didn’t read up on any features about Ion’s gameplay, but I’m sure it probably wouldn’t have measured up to SC which may have been a factor in stopping development.

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Armsman

I did find it interesting that some on their team had the same aversion to calling it an “MMO” that Chris Roberts did – namely that they thought doing so would make people think “High-Fantasy with Orcs/Elves…”

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Alberto

MMO is NOT a term game publishers want to hear right now it means 1) very expensive to make and can take many many years to develope & 2) Not Blizzard IP so doomed to failure.

Crow
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Crow

*sigh* I always cry for dead space games. Not enough of them!

Nathaniel Downes
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Nathaniel Downes

He is right about how marketing folk consider the term “MMO” and “fantasy RPG” to be synonymous. It’s really a shame.

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Sray

It’s not just genre, but it’s also structure, and therein lies much of the blame for that perception. Outside of EVE you’d be hard pressed to find an MMORPG that isn’t a schizoid mash up of standard single player RPG, and a co-op gear grinding dungeon crawler. The generic-ness of the game play across the majority of these games heavily colors the perception of genre as well.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

Zeph
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Zeph

I was kind of looking forward to finding out more about this project. It’s a shame we’ll probably never know more.

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John Kiser

Yeah. I think him working on it would of been fine. I don’t think he has the ability to be a proper resource manager and the head of a studio realistically let alone a company building out an MMORPG. I think he’s a better modder than he is a full on game maker and I think ultimately that will lead to problems if he tries to head any company. Shame really as it looked interesting just was sorta apprehensive when I saw him on it. As soon as DayZ required more work he seemed to abandon ship fast and an MMORPG needs way more work than a game like DayZ

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Koshelkin

I think the success of DayZ was a bit too much for this good man.

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John Kiser

No big surprise there he never finishes anything after all.

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silverlock

I was going to ask if he actually ever finished anything. I don’t know much about him tbh but the impression I get is that he’s just a decent modder who’s gotten in way over his head.

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