|Founder(s)||John Romero, Tom Hall, Todd Porter, and Jerry O'Flaherty|
Ion Storm, Inc. was a development studio founded in Dallas, Texas under the slogan "Design is Law". Due in part to the people involved and the willingness of some members to give over-the-top interviews to press, there was significant hype around the company's potential games. The company signed a six-title deal with Eidos Interactive, and planned to complete the terms of the deal quickly by scooping up titles from other developers that were almost complete.
Todd Porter had brought with him Dominion: Storm Over Gift 3 from his previous employer, 7th Level. They expected to finish the game in three months for $50,000. Instead they took over a year and hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete it. It was released on the same day as StarCraft, a highly anticipated title in roughly the same genre, and received poor reviews and sales.
John Romero planned to use the Quake engine to develop Daikatana in roughly 7 months. Around the time the game was supposed to be finished, they decided to port it to the Quake 2 Engine. Tom Hall's Anachronox was given roughly the same treatment.
The company suffered with large development turnover through this period, and showings of Daikatana at trade shows were poorly received (in at least one case the game was shown running with software rendering at 12 fps). In June of 1999, after spending $25 million, Eidos and Ion Storm reached an agreement wherein Eidos received majority ownership of the company, and Todd Porter and Jerry O'Flaherty left the company.
Daikatana was released three years after its initially advertised release date, hitting shelves in time for Christmas of 2000. After over three years of marketing hype it was widely considered a massive let-down. While considered a major commercial failure, John Romero has claimed that it made back its production costs (not exactly a success, but many games have done worse if that is the case).
Anachronox was finally released in June of 2001, to good reviews, but didn't end up selling very well. Unfortunately, only half of the originally-planned game was finished, and the promised sequel that would complete the story was never made.
In July of 2001, after Anachronox was released, Romero and Hall left the company, and Eidos closed the Dallas office.
A spin-off studio, Ion Storm (Austin), was created in 1997. The Austin office largely avoided the extravagance and bad press the Dallas office maintained. They were responsible for the critically-acclaimed and commercially successful Deus Ex, and eventually outlived Ion Storm's Dallas office. They went on to work on the sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War.
The Austin studio was founded by Warren Spector, who was known for his work not only in pen-and-paper RPGs (with TSR and Steve Jackson Games), but also with Origin (on the Wing Commander and Ultima series) and Looking Glass Studios (on System Shock and Thief: The Dark Project).
When Eidos closed Looking Glass, they convinced many of the developers to move to Ion Storm's Austin studio, and acquired the rights to the Thief series. The Austin team then went to work on Thief: Deadly Shadows.
Warren Spector left the company in 2004, and Eidos announced the closing of Ion Storm in early 2005. Eidos itself was having financial difficulty at the time, and was bought out by SCi Entertainment in May of 2005.