Dean “Rocket” Hall made a name for himself working on the DayZ mod for Arma II that eventually evolved into the standalone release of DayZ. Well, his next game is called Ion and it isn't for everyone, even though it is classified as an MMO.
Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, Hall explained that Ion won't be newb-friendly and it'll likely turn off a lot of players due to its complex systems and design, but he's okay with that. Hall stated...
I don't want it to necessarily be about being fun, I want it to be something you can lose yourself in. I lost myself in Ultima Online, because I believed in the world and it gave me context to what I was doing because I was making choices and decisions. That to me is far more important.
It's sad that marketers see games like that. I imagine they do the same thing with first-person games: “Don't call it a first-person game, people will think it's another Call of Duty!”
We lose out on a lot of neat concepts when studios get pigeonholed into design concepts to fit marketing agendas. I already appreciate Ion for wanting to step outside the box. We seriously don't get enough games like that, unless they're crowd-funded and Greenlit on Steam.
I'm hoping Hall's project can reclaim the MMO moniker because it's being ravaged by clones and a lot of forgettable titles at the moment.
Nevertheless, the game itself will be similar to SpaceStation13, according to Hall. For those of you unfamiliar, SpaceStation13 is like a mix of the gametype Trouble in Terrorist Town for Garry's Mod fused with Star Trek. If that sounds like a crazy combination that because it is. You can check out SpaceStation13 over on the official website to get a better idea of what it plays like.
As for Ion, the game is an isometric simulation, played a little bit like Diablo. Apparently there are a lot of similarities between the mechanics of Ion and DayZ. Players can steal equipment, kill other players and make choices that will supposedly have lasting consequences for their character. However, Hall doesn't go into detail about what those consequences are.
Instead, Hall wants players to focus on their character instead of just their gear and they'll have to do so through an unforgiving learning curve, not unlike DayZ...
I would not want to compromise the context of the game just for a new player experience. I'd rather us have less players and a better experience for those players who really want this type of game.
I'm curious to see more of Ion and how the game will play out. Right now I have no idea what to really expect but any developer attempting to really push the genre forward with a creative new project is a developer worth keeping an eye on.