DayZ’s Dean Hall says his new sci-fi survivalbox Stationeers is launching early access in September, and he isn’t sugarcoating the game’s difficulty.
You might remember Stationeers from its rather casual reveal back in March, hot on the heels of the apparent cancellation of Dean Hall’s other big sci-fi game, Ion, an EVE Online-inspired MMORPG that dissolved in a puddle of cagey and contradictory statements from the studios and platforms involved.
Stationeers, however, isn’t an MMO; it’s a sandbox, and it hates you, so don’t be fooled by the adorable graphics. “This is not a casual game,” Hall’s studio, RocketWerkz, says.
“Easy to start but hard to master. Well, kind of easy. Maybe not really. This game has been designed for the hardcore players who want games that are very systems oriented. This is a game about complex systems and how you optimize them. The game presents a variety of science-based survival problems that you have to solve yourself, and then try and optimize your solutions over time. For those not seeking a very intensive and hardcore experience, this game is not for you.”
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.”
After all of the talk about how this was to be the year of virtual reality, the actual reality does not seem to be bearing that out. Why is that? There are lots of reasons, but RocketWerkz CEO and DayZ designer Dean Hall took to Reddit to post about some of the realities that aren’t evident from the other side of the screen. In short: Making VR games isn’t profitable. Not in the “no one gets a new summer home” sense, but in the “well, this game actually lost us money to make” sense.
Several factors contribute to this, although the incredibly low installed base is a major reason for this; there just aren’t enough people buying VR games to make good sales enough for a game to recover its money. Instead, developers have to rely on incentives from specific platforms, which means exclusivity… which is something that most gamers aren’t willing to accept. The full post is well worth a read if you’ve got any interest in the future of VR and the realities of game development.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week Bruce Wayne (AKA Batman) threw a special gala in DC Universe Online. We’ve got that plus stories and videos from Destiny, Marvel Heroes, Elder Scrolls Online, and more, all waiting for you after the break!
DayZ creator Dean Hall announced his new RocketWerkz studio last winter. This week, we’ve got a better idea of what he’s been up to alongside “simulated worlds” developer Improbable. The two entities revealed Ion, a simulation MMO and a “massive open world universe” inspired by beloved RPG Space Station 13.
Ion looks to be set in space and it may involve disasters and cryosleep. At least that’s what we gleaned from the brief trailer that’s embedded after the cut.