Ion: DayZ Creator’s Sandbox Space MMO Announced

DayZ creator Dean ‘Rocket’ Hall has announced his next game, Ion [official site], at E3. He calls it a “simulation MMO that explores mankind’s expansion into space” and Space Station 13 is cited as an inspiration, which sounds like a fine mix for wacky emergent antics. It’ll be simulation-heavy, and sounds great. Come have a look at the first trailer, and hear what he had to say about it.

First up, here’s a description from the trailer:

“‘ION’ is an emergent narrative massively-multiplayer online game in which players will build, live in and inevitably die in huge floating galactic constructions as humanity makes its first steps colonizing the universe. Technology from Improbable allows ION to have a massive interconnected universe with fully simulated environments such as power grids, air pressure and heat; all to help stave off the unending vacuum of space.”

Hall left Bohemia in December 2014 to start his own studio, having given a lot of forewarning. Here’s what he had to say about Ion during Microsoft’s E3 press conference this evening:

“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. For the past year I have been working with the technology company Improbable to turn my long-term prototype into a reality. It worked. We are the architects of this new universe, but you – the players, through Xbox One Game Preview and PC will govern its destiny.”

“Wait, hold up,” you might say, “what’s Xbox One Game Preview?” It’s Steam Early Access for consoles, basically. The announcement of the program was about the only applause-free section of the event, then DayZ was mentioned and people roared. Here’s Ion’s trailer:


  1. Clavus says:

    Looking forward to seeing more of it. The trailer isn’t much to go on right now.

    • tehosiris says:

      Worry not! Many many promises will follow. Not much else, but very many promises.
      Oh wait, did I mention all the promises?

  2. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Friendly, friendly!


  3. Lord_Mordja says:

    I can’t wait to see this finished!

    No, seriously, I’ll have been long dead by then.

    • Bashmet says:

      Heh, well says at the end “coming soon”, followed by “improbable”.

  4. drfdisk says:

    So he didn’t see the first one through, and now he starting one even more ambitious with a third of the resources?

  5. Primey says:

    Let’s hope he actually sees this one through and doesn’t jump ship half way through the development.

    • Clavus says:

      I wish people would stop bitching about that. Dean Hall was working abroad when he was at Bohemia. His contract originally ran out a year before he actually ended up leaving. He announced he would be leaving a year in advance. Seriously, what the f*** is everyone’s problem?

      • Primey says:

        No he wasn’t. He moved closer to Bohemia while working on dayz

      • WMain00 says:

        Hmmm, could it be because he didn’t finish the last game he was making but has decided to make a new one? Or maybe it’s his hostile treatment of the community that made him famous? Perhaps it’s the fact that dayz is no further forward and is still a complete mess? Or maybe it’s the fact he abandoned it? Who knows really!

        • Baines says:

          Maybe he should work for Valve.

        • manny says:

          Doesn’t Bohemia own Dayz? Seems to me they hired him to create the game but saddled him with their team from a foreign country instead allowing him to create his own team, at least to an extent.

          The working environment must have been poor given his lack of progress and him quickly leaving the property.

  6. jellydonut says:

    Those are all very nice words, but my faith in this project actually being anywhere near as fascinating (or playable at all) as those words imply requires a tunneling electron microscope to inspect.

    • Ethaor says:

      Yea I trust Dean Hall to come up with great game concepts and innovative approaches to game design. I don’t trust him to realize them.

      I’ll wait until it’s completely finished before spending anything on it. Which I guess means my money is rather safe.

  7. check engine says:

    Because that’s what space exploration is really going to be like don’t you know, I’ll kill anyone to protect my beans or to take theirs.

    …and by the time you manage to find both an allen wrench AND an adjustable wrench the stakes are just too high to trust anyone…

    • P.Funk says:


      Wouldn’t it be a great mechanic if starving players could lick algae that grows on the insides of bulkheads exposed to a particular type of radiation? You could see hopeless newbs in hallways licking walls.

      • check engine says:

        In the true spirit of space exploration and discovery there needs to be a mechanic which allows players to hold other players down and force feed them bleach.

  8. Chalky says:

    Sandbox Space MMO you say? Well that certainly sounds like a game that’s going to happen.

  9. slerbal says:

    I’m not a DayZ player – though I am an Arma one – but even I don’t trust the Dean Hall to deliver. You really should be making your reputation on *completed* games, not half-finished ones you jumped ship on. Tell me about this when it is finished and released and then maybe I’ll give a f*ck. Lief is too short for me to give a damn about vapourware.

    • nanophage says:

      A half finished game based on a mod that actually wasn’t that well done who’s main claim to fame was player interaction that was accidental (or “emergent.”) I don’t blame him for jumping ship though. Game development isn’t a process that is dictated by one person, it’s in BI’s hands now just as it has been since Mr. Hall joined them.

      I have the impression that he just wasn’t given the resources he needed to complete his vision so he left so he could take control of it instead. I wonder if he is going to fare any better as a indie developer though. That sort of vision is going to require a lot of cash (possibly from an XBox One exclusivity deal perhaps?)

  10. Cinek says:

    So… Xbone exclusive?

    • spindaden says:

      More likely a xbone windows 10 cross platform streamy thing exclusive

      Can we concatenate those?

      Windows Xenbone?

      • Janichsan says:

        Windows 10Bone? Winbox OneZero?

      • malkav11 says:

        So, an Xbone exclusive. You’re not going to be able to actually play Xbone games on Win 10 without owning an Xbone, last I heard, and I see no reason to believe Microsoft won’t continue to pay to deprive Windows gamers of games and DLC as has been their wont through the last decade or so.

  11. tehosiris says:

    “I want a game that is not a game.

    I’d much prefer to pay for a game that is a game this time thank you.
    (looking at you DayZ)

  12. Silent_Thunder says:

    Is that the Nanotrasen logo I spot 10 seconds in? And the ships name is Exodus?

    Never thought I’d see a reference to Space Station 13 of all games. Wonder if this game will let me murder people while making terrible, terrible puns because I’m a clown and a traitor at the same time.

  13. anHorse says:

    Wonder if this will make alpha before he leaves to go start a game somewhere else

  14. Banks says:

    From the man that never finished Day Z….

  15. Kraizk says:

    Dean Hall announces another game he will give up on well before its finished. Runs on the Arma 2 Engine though, so we’re saving time there.

    • manny says:

      Actually the studio link to looks pretty impressive, I don’t know if they are developing this game directly though, but this may bet he first game using their technology and flagship product. Not a good choice for a team leader.

  16. Shadow says:

    Conceptually, the game sounds awesome.

    Unfortunately, anchoring a game to a console is the most effective way to hamstring its potential.

    • EhexT says:

      Heading it with a man who has never finished a game in his love is a pretty strong knife to the back of the old foot too.

  17. SuicideKing says:


  18. Nokturnal says:

    Any reason why he went with Ion for the title? That was the PMC group in the Arma 2 PMC addon.
    Is this secretly another venture with BI?…

  19. Spluff says:

    Masses of negativity aside, I am interested to see how he goes when he’s not saddled with the awful, awful, awful ARMA engine. He clearly has good ideas.

  20. Kiko says:

    And no one really cares in the long run, due to the fact that Dean Hall didnt do a damn thing for DayZ the last year he was there promises that he made, and stuff which he never fixed nor directed any of his underlings to do so.
    Hello, ZOMBIE FIX anyone! They still walk through walls, and hit through walls to this day and it has almost been 2 years, and this still hasent been fixed at all.
    Then while he was still on it, changes the sounds so they can hear and SEE you from 2 towns over? Hello? 8months since that, and still no fix for that.
    They keep adding stuff over and over again but never fixing the core problems.

    This is what Dean Hall did to DayZ and I bet you Dimes to Dollars he is going to do it to this game too, dont get your hopes up on this game, it may have a shiny package, but the inside is doo doo and the maker of it as well.