- 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.
Player(s): 1 (multiplayer will be coming post-launch - "stay tuned.")
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!
"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.
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):