A Surprising Amount Of Recent TimeSplitters News

Sadly, most of it isn’t great.

I am a HUGE fan of the TimeSplitters video games. I absolutely adore them. For anyone not in the know, TimeSplitters is a series of wacky FPS games made by FreeRadicalDesign, a studio started by a bunch of the folks who used to work at RARE and worked on Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. TimeSplitters very much follows in the same vein as those previous games but with a wacky time and space hopping story that let them work in all sorts of weird characters and locations. These games really had it all: 2-player coop story, 4 player death matches with a bunch of weird modes, and single player arcade and challenge modes. I’ve probably put hundreds of hours into these games over the 20 odd years since they first released. I still go back and play the TS2 campaign again every couple of years. They are just that good! The closure of Free Radical in 2008 when they were trying to get TS4 off the ground (and had virtually completed Star Wars Battlefront III) is in my mind, one of the great injustices in gaming history.

Weirdly, there’s been a bunch of news on the TimeSplitters front in the last couple of months.

First up, some guy on Reddit bought a PS3 on eBay and realized it had a dev build of TimeSplitters 4 on it! He recorded a video of him playing it and even managed to dump it and release it online. It appears to be a single death match map of a gothic cathedral type setting. David Doak of FRD basically confirmed on Twitter that it was a demo to try and attract studio investment (which obviously didn’t work out). Still a cool little piece of gaming history.

Next up, Embracer Group had purchased what remained of FreeRadicalDesign in 2021 from CryTek (who scooped up their assets when they initially folded in 2008) and had restarted the studio and development on a new TimeSplitters! How Exciting! Welp… after the recent financial trouble Embracer has been in they went on a layoff spree and totally closed down FRD… AGAIN. Very disappointing and very sad for all of the developers working there who are now looking for work again.

One such developer was feeling a little fed up and leaked an internal preview video of the TimeSplitters game they were working on and… it basically looks like Fortnight? That’s kinda weird. Not exactly the type of game FRD was known for. According to Steve Ellis of FRD, this is actually an older build but since then they had pivoted in a very different direction. (That whole interview with Steve is worth a read).

And finally some mostly good news! TimeSplitters Rewind, the fan made mod project (that’s been in the works since the CryTek days), is getting close to completing TS1! What they’ve got so far looks great and I can’t wait to give it a go. Unfortunately, they are lacking in developers to get it across the finish line. Hopefully some people with the right skills will be able to lend a hand. It might be the only chance for new TimeSplitters content we ever get.

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