The sun finally seems to be about to set on Ion Storm, with rumours emerging earlier today that publisher Eidos was about to close down the company's ill-fated Dallas studio. At the time of writing Eidos were unable to give us any official comment on the reports, while Ion Storm's Tom Hall would only tell us that he doesn't like commenting on rumours, before assuring us that his team are currently finishing Anachronox and that it's going well. American site the Adrenaline Vault claims to have confirmed the studio's imminent demise with co-founder John Romero though, and given their links with Ion Storm through the site's parent company New World (which runs the CPL from Ion Storms' offices) it seems likely that they are correct.
Over the last few years the troubled developer has suffered from mass walk-outs, public back-biting, leaked e-mails, overdue projects, threatened law suits, back-firing PR campaigns, and an affair between John Romero and former beta tester turned Playboy model Stevie "Killcreek" Case. All the ingredients of a great soap opera. Unfortunately, most of the entertainment the company provided came from what it did rather than what it made, which for the Dallas studio amounted to just two decidely mediocre games - the over-hyped shooter Daikatana and real-time strategy flop Dominion. Now it looks like the company's rather more successful Austin studio will be the only part of Ion Storm to survive intact, continuing work on a sequel to hit role-playing action game Deus Ex and a new installment in the Thief franchise. All this comes just a few years after Doom designer John Romero unveiled his dream company where Design would be Law, and then promptly announced that he was going to make you his bitch.
Meanwhile final tweaks continue to get Tom Hall's long overdue role-playing game Anachronox ready for release, with June 29th the current target for Eidos in the UK. The last time we saw the game back in November it was looking quite promising, and hopefully it will prove to be a swan song for the studio rather than another expensive dud. With any luck we should have a clearer picture of what's going on soon, including whether or not the planned mission pack for Anachronox completing the game's storyline will now ever see the light of day. In the meantime, our thoughts are with the many hard-working developers who have poured their hearts into Ion Storm and are now facing an uncertain future.