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Ion Fury |OT| Maiden Build

Mr. Tibbs

Oct 27, 2017

Platform(s): Windows PC (will also be "coming later" to PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.)
Release Date: PC - August 15th, 2019 on Steam, GOG, and the official 3D Realms Store.
Genre: FPS
Price: $24.99
Size: 90MB
Player(s): 1 (multiplayer will be coming post-launch - "stay tuned.")
Developer: Voidpoint
Publisher: 3D Realms/1C Entertainment
Format: Digital and a physical big box edition from 3DR that includes extras like a 60+ page making of booklet.

What is Ion Fury? It's a first-person shooter created in the style of 1990s FPS games, except unlike its contemporaries, it's coupling retro gameplay with retro tech by using the original Build engine plus 20 extra years of development know-how to make something true to the fundamentals that made the original games stand the test of time.

LMAO, why are people using the Build engine to create a FPS in the 21st century? Because of these fine fellows.

The 90's are back! Built on eDuke32, a source port of Build designed to support modern operating systems that runs natively without relying on emulation of any kind, allows Voidpoint to avoid the limitations imposed on the engine in order to run better on lower spec systems. EDuke32 provides a huge number of new extensions to the game's robust scripting system. The game incorporates elements of the polymer renderer, so the map lighting goes beyond what has been seen in Build levels before. The game is more colorful than its antecedents, as the team created a brand new and expanded 8-bit palette, which includes green, blue and brown tones and a full black gradient which offers far more visual variety than the original Build engine titles. For instance, Duke 3D and Shadow Warrior have four hues with 32 shades, with the remaining hues limited to 16 shades. Blood only had one hue with 32 shades. Ion Fury's palette is more visually adventurous and offers a richer range than the older titles. It actually costs more in licencing fees to use the Build engine than it does Unity or Unreal. Ken Silverman still owns his parts, while Voidpoint own their additions to eDuke32. There's also now support for movable props, enemy patrols, location-based damage, and an expanded particle system. For more information on the technology behind the game, check out this excellent DF Retro episode, and 3D Realms wonderful dev blog series on the history of the engine.

Music? The score's being handled by Jarkko Rotstén (aka Roz) from the European C64/Amiga demo scene in Finland who has been making mod tracker music for about 20 years, and the engine has be updated to support tracked module music!

What game modes does Ion Fury offer? In addition to the primary offering of the Capital Offense campaign, the game features Bonus Missions which are comparatively small things developed during their time in Early Access. Crisis in Columbia is the original Preview Campaign released in 2018, and it doesn't have any gameplay modifiers, the Bombardier Trial applies the bowling bomb-only and 25 health gameplay modifier to Crisis in Columbia, and Queen of the Hill contains an ever escalating gauntlet against increasingly powerful waves of enemies.

Are there cheats, secrets, and easter eggs? Yes, there's a handy menu option to enter cheat codes, and if you explore the levels thoroughly enough you might even find some hidden in the environment. As far as secrets go, yes, an absurd number, but don't expect finding them to be easy. These are actual secrets that you have to be pretty observant to find. Little areas, like vents and side rooms off the critical path, don't even count, which is a cool change. As far as easter eggs, I won't spoil any, but you could try using the first ATM in-game.

What weapons are in the game? There's the Electrifryer, Loverboy, Penetrator, Disperser, Bowling Bombs, Chaingun, the Ion Bow (takes some inspiration from the prototype BFG of a pre-release press beta of the original Doom), Disperser Grenades, and the Clusterpuck, all of which offer an alt-fire mode. As in OG Doom, each weapon is super effective against a certain enemy type, which encourages the player to strategize.

Is there a story? You play as Shelly "Bombshell" Harrison, a bomb disposal expert for the Global Defense Force, on a mission to stop the trans-humanist cult-mastermind Dr. Jadus Heskel who has unleashed a cybernetik army on Neo D.C. The setting is a unique take on an dystopian future, which avoids leaning too heavily into familiar Cyberpunk tropes, while remaining true to the exuberant and creative tradition set by the trio of the best Build-engine games.

Will run under under DOS? To get EDuke32 to run on DOS would require getting the entire project building under DJGPP, which would involve reintroducing all the hardware code which has long been ripped out. So, no, it's not happening!

Will there be Steam workshop support? Yes, on day one.

The Euro-game journo question of how many levels are there? The game offers 28 massive levels across 7 zones, all of which are bespoke with zero elements of procedural generation. Here's a deliberately low-quality comparison shot to avoid spoilers pre-release between Ion's levels on the left and HL1's (excluding Xen) on the right. This is legitimately old-school! Expect multiple paths, cool effects, and complex set pieces while you hunt for key cards and spout off one-liners.

What, is this connected to that Bombshell game? Yes, Ion Fury is a FPS prequel to the poorly received Bombshell, an isometric shooter from Interceptor Entertainment, a now defunct studio whose leadership acquired 3D Realms, which they continue to run today. Work on Ion Fury as a stand-alone project began in early 2015 with Voidpoint, an independent venture founded by Richard Gobeille and Evan Ramos, handling development duties. The game was first hinted at on a poster back in July 2015 as an extra for the digital deluxe version for Bombshell, before being formally announced on a July 2017 Duke4 livestream with Randy Pitchford, 3D Realms, and members of Voidpoint. Since then, however, the scope and team size has expanded considerably and the game is a full commercial product. The developers' chose the name Ion Maiden to distance themselves from the negativity associated with Bombshell (2016), though this name was also changed shortly before release thanks to a lawsuit from the band Ion Maiden. On February 28, 2018, the game entered early access, where it received an overwhelmingly positive rating on Steam! As far as continuity is concerned, both the original voice actors for Shelly and Heskel reprise their roles in the prequel. For those interested in the history of the character Shelly/Bombshell, 3D Realms has a thorough visual history of how the concept evolved from 1997 to present (yes, Bombshell entered the concept phase alongside DNF). Ultimately, though, this is largely a stand-alone effort, and should be judged accordingly.

Are there voxels?

Does the game offer gibs? Yes, and now thanks to Voidpoint's efforts the engine now supports headshots!


Early Impressions:

"Ion Maiden may just be the second coming of Duke 3D." - RPS
"Ion Maiden is the true inheritor of Duke Nukem 3D's crown." - PC Gamer

Eurogamer - Recommended.
Civvie 11's Video Review.
Game Informer - 9/10.
LGR's Review.
Digital Foundry's video.
Destructoid - 8/10.
PCGamesN - 9/10.
PC Gamer - 77%.
PC Invasion - 9/10.
Tech Raptor - 9/10.
Flophouse Reviews' Video.
GManLives Video Review.

Is the game endorsed by John Romero?


Voidpoint's Twitter Account 3D Realms' Twitter Account

Gifs (more will arrive on release day):

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Oct 27, 2017
So excited for this one. Need some more old school FPS action in my life


Oct 25, 2017
Holy goodness, a true to return to form approaches! Super excited to get lost in the frenzied combat of yesteryear. This OT Mr. Tibbs is GOD TIER AWESOME!


Oct 25, 2017
Western Australia
That grenade gif brings to mind fond memories of crashing Blood on my family's Win95 PC because I'd enabled cheats and spent 20+ minutes coating the entire level in dynamite.


Oct 26, 2017
I'm excited to play the final version. I really liked the early demo.


Feb 27, 2018
I played through the preview campaign recently and it was pretty great, even liked the bonus 'infinite blowing balls, no other weapons mode' (good way to practice with them too)

Even the boss was pretty well designed, more interesting than pretty much any other build engine boss encounter


Oct 31, 2017
I doubt this will surpass Sunder or SIGIL as my favorite thing of the year but it seems neat enough on it's own.


Oct 26, 2017
Really looking forward to this, Dusk and Amid Evil were great but this has always been the one I’ve been most interested and of course it’s taken the longest time to come out.

Great OT as well!
Oct 25, 2017
New York City
I'm not an FPS fan, but I loooove the classics, especially Duke 3D. Looking forward to this game and Wrath very much.

And I recently played through Duke 3D in Come Get Some difficulty for the first time (the same as the hardest difficulty, but without the respawning enemies) so I'm ready.


Oct 27, 2017
Fuck its out in 2 days? Finally get to play this (media blackout and didnt early access it, wanted to experience it with very little knowledge).


Oct 31, 2017
oh right and Prodeus is this year as well. what do you know there's actually some decent fps games nowadays. a shame about the last decade.


Oct 28, 2017
I hope they expand the "Queen of the Hill" mode. I spent several hours in it, but the last level had so much enemies that the game became unplayable. I wonder how much better the final version will run compared to the latest update (which is very old already).


Oct 27, 2017
I'm really hyped for this game, everything about it sounds amazing, probably my most anticipated game this year


Oct 25, 2017
Not digging the name change, but super excited to finally play the whole game after having the early access forever


Jan 27, 2018
Also the name Ion Maiden is better & im gonna still call it that, fuck the band for being salty about it.


Oct 28, 2017
Everyone knows helicopters are the most natural FPS bosses.
Judging from the launch trailer, there might be a gunship battle in this game... reminded me of Perfect Dark. But besides Half Life 2, I can't think any great helicopter battle. The one in the first Half Life for example was pretty forgettable. In Black Mesa it was better, but I wouldn't call it great.


Dec 10, 2018
Been looking forward to this since it was announced. This was developed by modders who used to just make stuff as passion projects.In this case the game is comprised of Duke4.net forum members and long time Build engine modders who were hand picked by 3D Realms. It's fucking cool to see.

lvl 99 Pixel

Oct 25, 2017
Judging from the launch trailer, there might be a gunship battle in this game... reminded me of Perfect Dark. But besides Half Life 2, I can't think any great helicopter battle. The one in the first Half Life for example was pretty forgettable. In Black Mesa it was better, but I wouldn't call it great.
Half-Life succeeded where its bosses were more integrated into the story and environment than usual. Like the Blast Pit Tentacle sort of felt like a boss to me, as well as things like the Ichthyosaur and Helicopter encounters. They don't have health bars or boss music or anything, just strong and rare enemies presented in specific scenarios.