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Dean Hall and Improbable have abandoned work on organ-simulating space game Ion

At E3 2015, DayZ creator Dean Hall announced a partnership with technology company Improbable that’d see the pair work on an “emergent narrative MMO” named Ion. Information has been thin on the ground since and now, almost two years on, it appears work on the project has been halted indefinitely.

Billed as a world where players would “build, live and inevitably die in huge floating galactic constructions”, Ion was showcased during Microsoft’s E3 2015 conference with the following trailer.

Said to be inspired by EVE Online and Minecraft, Ion would feature survival elements, a Diablo-like camera, and organ simulation. At the time Hall said he wanted “a game that is not a game—I want a game that is a universe.” He’s since launched the HTC Vive game Out of Ammo, and is said to be working on a new triple-A project.

In conversation with Eurogamer, however—”after weeks of investigation”—both Hall and Improbable have confirmed neither is working on Ion at present. Here’s the statement Improbable sent EG:

“Ion was initially conceived as a project for co-development between Improbable and RocketWerkz. A lot has changed since then. Dean Hall moved back to New Zealand from London, RocketWerkz has started work on a number of other games, and we have grown increasingly into a platform for games to be deployed on.

“We can definitely say that Improbable is not currently working on Ion. However, we have not previously commented on and cannot now comment on RocketWerkz’ current or future plans.

“We are focussed on making SpatialOS available to developers, and supporting developers such as Bossa Studios and our SpatialOS Games Innovation Program partners as they make games on our platform. We currently have no plans to develop or release a game ourself.”

Hall also told Eurogamer neither he nor his New Zealand-based studio RocketWerkz are actively working on Ion—something he reckons could only be possible with the “scale of technology” Improbable has.

After explaining he’d rather see prospective players annoyed at him for failing to release something that couldn’t work as opposed to launching a broken game in a bid to make money, Hall said: “Look, games get paused, cancelled, pulled back all the time in the industry,” he says. “The reason why people don’t announce this stuff is because what’s the value in it?”

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