TimeSplitters is one of those video game anachronisms that feels weird to remember even existed today. The humor-based first-person shooter was in many ways the spiritual successor to Rare’s earlier shooter Goldeneye, featuring much of the same staff from the N64 classic newly named Free Radical. After TimeSplitters: Future Perfect released in 2005, the series more or less disappeared, with a number of cancellations over the next 15 years with every new attempt to revitalize the brand.
In 2018, Koch Media, an arm of The Embracer Group, formerly known as THQ Nordic which still exists but as part of The Embracer Group, acquired the TimeSplitters IP and heavily implied they were interested in both remasters and new games. The former was a given considering Embracer’s business model, but we finally have official confirmation of the latter under the banner of Free Radical once again.
All of this might require a short history lesson.
Free Radical developed Haze, an anticipated PS3 shooter that got poor critical reception, and things sort of went downhill for the studio from there. In 2009, it was acquired by Crytek and renamed Crytek UK, but internal struggles within Crytek itself limited the studio’s output. It was only a few short years later that Free Radical was shut down and most staff moved to a new studio called Dambuster.
Here’s where it gets complicated: Dambuster, which took over Homefront: Revolution from Crytek UK under publisher Deep Silver, inserted a cheat-code accessible version of TimeSplitters into Homefront. Deep Silver was also the publisher of Dead Island 2, revealed at Sony’s 2014 E3 press conference, and was passed from Techland to Yager to Sumo Digital to eventually Dambuster following THQ Nordic’s acquisition of Deep Silver.
You with me so far? It’s okay to take a break.
After acquiring the TimeSplitters IP, the Embracer Group hired Steve Ellis, one of the founders of Free Radical to guide the brand. Now Ellis is heading up a new reformed Free Radical alongside David Doak, another Free Radical founder that fans will remember as a NPC in Goldeneye. While it is not clear if any of the developers from Dambuster will be leaving Dead Island 2 to come back to Free Radical, Deep Silver did confirm that the studio is continuing to work on the beleaguered and tumultuous zombie game.
Work has yet to begin on the new TimeSplitters, as Free Radical is still continuing to staff up, but they expect development to start in the coming months.