Thursday, 23 May 2024

3D Realms Introduces Ion Maiden: The Future of First-Person Shooters

Welcome to the world of Ion Maiden, an exciting new first-person shooter game developed by 3D Realms. In this article, we will explore the studio’s approach to creating an authentic retro shooter that stands out from the nostalgia-driven crowd. We had the opportunity to sit down with Frederik Schreiber, the vice president of 3D Realms, to discuss the game’s unique features and its connection to the beloved shooters of the past.

Crafting an Authentic Retro Shooter

Ion Maiden takes place in the near future, where you step into the shoes of Shelly Harrison, a bomb disposal expert working for the Global Defense Forces (GDF). Your mission is to track down the rogue scientist, Doctor Jadus Heskel, who has unleashed an army of brainwashed cyborg zombies upon the United States.

The game is built around the legendary Build engine from 1996, which powered iconic titles like Shadow Warrior and Duke Nukem 3D. However, 3D Realms has expanded and enhanced the engine to deliver a fresh and immersive gaming experience. The team’s goal was not only to capture the look and feel of ’90s shooters but also to innovate within the constraints of the era. Each weapon sprite and environment in the game has been meticulously handcrafted to maintain authenticity.

Recapturing the Essence of Old-School Shooters

While retro shooters have gained popularity in recent years, Ion Maiden sets itself apart by prioritizing gameplay over aesthetics. The art style is mesmerizing, but it does not overshadow the core shooting mechanics. In designing Ion Maiden, the team focused on creating a true first-person shooter experience with elements that players loved in the past.

The game features hub-based multifaceted levels, diverse and exciting weapons, and secret areas to discover. These elements are often absent in modern shooters, and 3D Realms wanted to bring them back in a nostalgic yet fresh way. The game strikes a balance between honoring its predecessors and delivering a kickass gaming experience.

A Unique Protagonist and a Cyberpunk Universe

Ion Maiden features Bombshell, a character who differentiates herself from the iconic protagonists of Duke Nukem and Shadow Warrior while complementing them. The game is set in Neo DC, a futuristic version of Washington DC, inspired by the visual style of Blade Runner. The music combines synth-based and MIDI elements, creating a cyberpunk atmosphere that engulfs players in the world of Ion Maiden.

Embracing the Golden Era of First-Person Shooters

3D Realms consciously chose not to create a modern 3D shooter. Instead, they embraced the golden era of first-person shooters from the mid-90s. Rather than following the trend of cinematic experiences and linear gameplay, Ion Maiden offers open levels with numerous secrets and exploration-based gameplay. The game encourages players to think, experiment, and figure things out on their own without relying on text prompts or hand-holding.

The approach taken by Ion Maiden hearkens back to the days when games would teach players through gameplay, just like the classic Mega Man X. By providing a challenging and rewarding experience, 3D Realms aims to strike a balance between open-style shooters and their more linear counterparts.

Influences beyond the First Person Shooter Genre

Ion Maiden draws inspiration from games such as Super Mario Odyssey, where the focus is on exploration and discovery. Unlike Wolfenstein 3D, where secrets were hidden behind walls, Ion Maiden teases players with areas they can reach but must figure out how. Physics-based puzzles, secret doors, and hidden buttons add depth and intrigue to the gameplay. With a multitude of secrets waiting to be uncovered, Ion Maiden offers a gaming experience that goes beyond the boundaries of the first-person shooter genre.

A Game for Every Player

It’s important to note that Ion Maiden is not just another retro-style game. While it embraces certain old-school elements and an art style reminiscent of the past, 3D Realms aims to break free from the constraints of categorizing games solely based on their visuals. Each game is unique, and Ion Maiden is no exception. Its gameplay, mechanics, and overall experience set it apart from other shooters, creating a game that both looks and plays beautifully.

To learn more about Ion Maiden, be sure to visit Wqaindia for the latest gameplay footage and updates.


Q: How long has Ion Maiden been in development?
A: Ion Maiden has been in development for two years.

Q: Is there a compromise between open-style shooters and cinematic shooters?
A: Yes, the new Doom game is a great example of achieving a balance between both styles. While it can be played linearly, exploring alternate routes and paths opens up a whole new level of gameplay and rewards the player for their curiosity.


Ion Maiden is a testament to 3D Realms’ dedication to creating authentic retro shooters with a modern twist. By staying true to the essence of classic first-person shooters and incorporating innovative elements, Ion Maiden offers a unique and captivating gaming experience. Whether you are a fan of old-school shooters or simply in search of an exhilarating first-person shooter, Ion Maiden is sure to deliver. Get ready to immerse yourself in the world of Ion Maiden and embark on an unforgettable journey filled with action, exploration, and nostalgia.