Indeed, some of the game's developers worked on the game even after Ion Storm Dallas dissolved. Programmer Joey Liaw put together some unofficial patches that fixed a lot of the game's flaws, Jake Hughes put together the movie, and so on. Clearly this game meant a lot to the people that worked on it. I asked him why. "It's hard to explain," he answered. "It's like soldiers bonding. We went through such turmoil but stayed for the love of the universe, the game and each other. Former team members often mention that if I ever got the intellectual property back and was going to make Anachronox 2, just tell them when and where. We have, as we say, 'The Love.'"
KingsIsle, where Hall is now the Creative Director, is about as far from Ion Storm's deafening hype as it's possible to get. Hall will only say, "We are a new MMOG-focused company, trying to do new, creative things that haven't been done before. Our founder is putting good money behind the idea that people will want something beyond another World of Warcraft clone." He offers a little bit more detail when I ask for the appeal of this particular project. "I can't tell you what it is," he says, "but it's not fantasy. It's quite a different take on the market and what you do in an MMOG.
"There are many things appealing for me about MMOGs as a designer. The ability to sculpt a huge 'world,' the variety of experience, the social nature of the game, the ability to expand the content as you go, to maintain and grow this living, breathing entity of an experience." And the innovator in him tacks on, "And, of course, I haven't made one yet - the new is always exciting. I wasn't going to do one, but I came up with such a good base idea for one, I kind of had to. And talking with Elie Akilian, the brilliant founder of KingsIsle, I felt his passion about doing something new and not 'me-too.' So rare and precious in this day and age!" When asked about his personal creative philosophy, Hall keeps it snappy. "What's my philosophy? Make games easy and consistent to use ... and explore new continents."
[em]Shannon Drake is a Contributing Editor for The Escapist and changed his name when he became a citizen. It used to be Merkw