I was a guard for the merchants of the Hub. However, I was shot during a raid by bandits. I've been staying here, since the people have helped me recover. Still, my knowledge of the outside world and my experience make me useful here.
A no-nonsense man, he used to be a guard for the Crimson Caravan in the Hub, but was shot during a bandit raid and recovered in Shady Sands. Having a debt to them, he remained in Shady Sands and helps defend the village from raiders and occasionally visits the Hub and Junktown to do some trading. Overall, he is very self-reliant, tough, and rather overconfident.
When asked he says his home is now Shady Sands, but mentions his hometown and having "someone waiting for me back home".
The following is based on Fallout 2 cut content and has not been confirmed by canon sources.
At one point in the planning for Fallout 2, Ian had survived and was living in Vault City under the name of Old Joe. According to his dialogue, Ian would mistake the Chosen One for the Vault Dweller and would reminisce about events from Fallout before realizing the mistaken identity. Commenting on the prejudiced nature of Vault City's citizens, he would give the Chosen One a gun, apparently his old Colt 6520 10mm pistol before sending him away, encouraging the Chosen One to "make proud" the memory of the Vault Dweller.
End of information based on Fallout 2 cut content.
Ian is one of the few companion NPC's in Fallout. As a companion, he is notorious (or rather, infamous) for his problematic inaccuracy in combat. He can - more often than not - shoot the player character instead of the enemies, especially if he/she is in his line of sight.
Otherwise, because of his experience from being a former caravan guard, he can inform the player about locations of several towns.
The Hub is the biggest trading center in the New West. It's run primarily by a group called the Water Merchants, but there are some other traders there, too. It's a booming town, but there's a lot of political fighting between the traders.
Ian was a test case character designed to see if the engine could handle non-player-controlled followers who would move from map to map with the player's character. Though the initial implementation required some troubleshooting, it functioned well enough for the team to decide to implement more followers.
The character of Ian is roughly based upon Ian Dunteman, roommate of designer Jess Heinig. However, the developer found it hard to portray the real-life Ian's characteristics in just a few short lines of dialogue.
Ian's line when asked to Tell me about "Apocalypse" is a reference to a quote by Albert Einstein: "I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."