Storm blows over
It's official - Romero is out
Five years after John Romero and Tom Hall co-founded Ion Storm as a developer's paradise where design would be law, the pair have apparently left the company "to pursue other interests", according to a short statement from Eidos USA sent to several websites last night. It's still uncertain whether or not this means the end of Ion Storm's Dallas studio, although the Eidos statement says that "Ion Storm will continue as a wholly owned subsidiary of Eidos and work on the sequels to the awarding winning Thief and Deus Ex titles as well as Deus Ex for the PS2". Given that all three games are being developed at the sister studio in Austin, the future of the Dallas office certainly seems bleak.
Indeed, American website GameSpy Daily is reporting that an insider has told them that the entire Dallas staff was laid off last Friday. If so it would be a raw deal for the people who still worked there, because although Ion Storm's first two releases (Daikatana and Dominion) were both multi-million dollar duds, Tom Hall's recently released role-playing game Anachronox is actually rather good, even if it did end up millions of dollars over budget and two years behind schedule.
Eidos themselves admitted that "without [Hall and Romero] we would never have put together such talented teams in both our Austin and Dallas offices". It remains to be seen whether this means that a skeleton crew will continue working in Dallas, or maybe that some of the surviving staff from there will be transferred to Warren Spector's team in Austin. Either way, our sympathies are with the many hard-working staff at Ion Storm Dallas who did their best under difficult circumstances, and succeeded in producing at least one genuinely good game.