Anachronox is a third-person role-playing video game produced by Tom Hall and the Dallas Ion Storm games studio. It was released worldwide in June 2001 for Microsoft Windows. The game is centered on Sylvester "Sly Boots" Bucelli, a down-and-out private investigator who looks for work in the slums of Anachronox, a once-abandoned planet near the galaxy's jumpgate hub. He travels to other planets, amasses an unlikely group of friends, and unravels a mystery that threatens the fate of the universe. The game's science fiction story was influenced by cyberpunk, film noir, and unconventional humor. The story features a theme of working through the troubles of one's past, and ends with a major cliffhanger.
The gameplay for Anachronox is turn-based; the player controls a party of up to three characters as they explore a 3D environment of futuristic cities, space vessels, and outdoor areas. Inspirations for the game include older role-playing video games such as Chrono Trigger and the Final Fantasy series, animator Chuck Jones and the novel Ender's Game. The game was built with a heavily modified version of the Quake II engine, rewritten chiefly to allow a wider color palette, emotive animations and facial expressions, and better lighting, particle, and camera effects.
The development of Anachronox was long and difficult, originally planned for a third-quarter 1998 release. Tom Hall planned to create a sequel with the copious content removed during production. Despite critics enjoying the game and awarding it high marks for its design and story, Ion Storm closed its Dallas offices one month after the game's release. In 2002, Anachronox cinematic director Jake Hughes spliced together gameplay footage and cutscenes to create a feature-length, award-winning machinima film.