Despite taking to the stage to announce Ion at Microsoft’s E3 press conference, DayZ creator Dean Hall revealed almost nothing about his new project. Other than it being set in space and being isometric perspective, we’re still blind to Ion’s design.
However, in interviews Hall has been a little looser with the details. Ion is inspired by Space Station 13, a favourite of 4chan and Reddit users. There’s also influence from EVE Online and Minecraft in there, along with one very important element: a solid road map of planned features.
Talking to Polygon, Hall explained that the idea comes from Space Station 13, a round-based game where 50 players do their own thing on a space station before it explodes two hours later. “It’s incredibly intricate in what you can do, but also incredibly difficult to learn how to play. That was the core idea of the game,” he said.
EVE Online’s approach to taking on an actual role in a working space envionment was also a key influence, as was the ability to build incredible things in Minecraft’s Tekkit mod. “My friends would say, let’s play Tekkit, let’s build a nuclear reactor, and I’d say, why? I want a context. I want it to occur in a broader scheme of things,
“That’s what Ion is about. It’s taking Minecraft and Tekkit and everyone’s own separate worlds, their own servers, and mashing it all together, linking all the regions,” said Hall.
Ion will let players take on any role they want, which – like DayZ – could potentially lead to Lord of the Flies style violence. But Hall says it shouldn’t be the case. “ I expect it to not be too violent. A lot of DayZ lessons have flowed into Ion… that’s why we have this idea of reputation. We have the concept of the Federation. The Federation is run by me, by us as the game developers. We play characters in the game.”
Admittedly, being president of the federation doesn’t mean you’re safe. “[players] could kill me as the president of the Federation.”
Like real life, Hall is looking to create opportunities for all kinds of behaviour, but attempt to promote the more moral roads. “What we want to do is provide the mechanisms for people to do what they want, but also have a policing approach to it. If you play Space Station 13, any Space Station 13 gamer will know—They call it “shitcurity.” The players who play as security, they’re just walking around beating everyone up to try and make everyone behave. We’re taking in elements of that. The players will be involved in policing the Federation areas,” he said.
“If you want to be a bandit in the game, you can, but you will be branded as a bandit. You will need to live that life as a bandit. This setting makes it a lot easier to do than a hyper-realistic post-apocalyptic Russia.”
Hopefully all these features will be implimented with little issue, thanks to a much more defined development road map, something DayZ lacked. “Ion has a solid road map. But I guess that’s why we haven’t released a lot of details. Until we really lock that road map down, we don’t want to say, this feature, this feature, this feature. I can talk to the parts that are there,” said Hall.