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"Design is Law" note 

"There were very volatile extroverts in Dallas, and Warren's group tended to be very volatile introverts and nerds."
Harvey Smith
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Ion Storm was a Texas-based video game development studio that existed for about a decade around the Turn of the Millennium. Or, you could say, there were actually two studios known as "Ion Storm", with very different ethos and design priorities, owing to the very different personalities of their respective founders. Still others would say that it was Ion Storm's overarching culture of auteur design that allowed for this divide to flourish in the first place. The two studios/branches were:

  • Ion Storm Dallas was founded late in 1996 by John Romero, Tom Hall (co-founders of id Software), Todd Porter, and Jerry O'Flaherty (of 7th Level), who had signed a six-game contract with Eidos Interactive. It is best remembered for its extravagant marketing antics (not unlike those of other startups springing up around the same time) and for its two original games, Romero's Daikatana and Hall's Anachronox, which came to define, for worse or better, their respective creators' gaming legacies. Both left the studio in 2001, just one month after Anachronox shipped, and Eidos shut it down immediately thereafter.
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  • Ion Storm Austin, meanwhile, was founded in late 1997, when Romero persuaded the Origin and Looking Glass alumnus Warren Spector to found his own studio to make the game of his dreams, which would become Deus Ex. Spector's studio steered clear of Dallas' excesses and established itself as one of Looking Glass' successors by repatriating many ex-LGS developers, who went on to create Thief: Deadly Shadows. Soon after Deadly Shadows, however, Spector and most of the senior staff left, and, given how this was Ion Storm's sixth game for Eidos, the publisher closed the studio in 2005.

For more on the history of the two Ion Storms, see this PC Gamer article.


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Games developed at Ion Storm Dallas

Each game created at Ion Storm Dallas was a pet project of one of its co-foundersnote :

  • Porter's Dominion: Storm Over Gift 3 (1998) was an obscure Real-Time Strategy in development by 7th Level at the time of its closure.note  It had the misfortune of going up against StarCraft I while having little to show for itself and flopped badly as a result. Despite the title, the game was not a third installment, but an original story set on a planet named "Gift 3".

Games developed at Ion Storm Austin:


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