Despite the focus on blockbuster franchises such as Halo 5, which was shown off via an exhilarating campaign gameplay trailer, Microsoft’s E3 2015 press conference also featured a number of smaller gaming projects and new IP. One of the most surprising and mysterious projects announced is a new concept from the creator of the popular online zombie multiplayer game DayZ, Dean Hall.
Taking the stage during Microsoft’s press conference, Dean Hall introduced the world to his brand new concept in gaming, called Ion. Ion came about from Hall’s desire to play a game that is not like any other game before it. “I want a game that is a universe,” Hall said on Microsoft’s stage. “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.”
Hall then showed off a brief trailer for the game that created more questions than it answered. The game is set in space, and seems to feature a space station of some sort as one of its primary settings. The possibility of switching to different bodies was somewhat teased during the video, though concrete gameplay details were not made available.
Ion was revealed as a part of the [email protected] program, Microsoft’s initiative to attract indie talent to develop games for the Xbox One. Ion will also benefit from being a part of the new Xbox One Game Preview Early Access program. Similar to Steam Early Access, this new program will allow Xbox One users to purchase games while they’re still early on in development in order to provide feedback to the developers that will later be incorporated into the final product.
The Xbox One Game Preview program is scheduled to launch today, with two games available. Those games are The Long Dark and Elite: Dangerous, but some future Game Preview titles were announced as well. Perhaps most notably, it was announced that the game that made Dean Hall famous, DayZ, will be a part of the Xbox One Game Preview program at some point down the line.
Dean Hall is no stranger to Early Access programs, and it’s likely that this new Xbox One feature attracted him to developing for the console to begin with. After all, DayZ sold over 3 million units in its first year on Steam Early Access, and Hall is looking to repeat his success with Ion. When Ion will hit Early Access remains to be seen, but perhaps more information on the game will come during Microsoft’s Gamescom conference in August.
Ion has no release date yet, but it will be available first on PC and Xbox One when it does finally release. Other versions of the game, such as a potential PS4 release, were not discussed during the press conference.