TimeSplitters, Haze Dev. Free Radical Not Closed Yet, But Bankrupt

By Maarten Goldstein, Dec 18, 2008 9:41am PST Update: Free Radical has not closed, but has instead gone into administration, which will allow the company to continue operating despite an inability to pay its debts.

"It's business as usual, although we have asked that almost all of the employees apart from a skeleton crew remain at home," Cameron Gunn, an employee of administration firm Resolve Partners, told local newspaper This Is Nottinham.

All of Free Radical's 185 employees have been paid through the end of December. The studio hopes to make an announcement regarding its fate later this month, following an analysis of its "financial position" by Resolve Partners.

Along with TimeSplitters 4, rumors suggest Free Radical was working on Star Wars: Battlefront III for LucasArts, with some claiming that the title has since been moved to Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron developer Rebellion.

Original Story: According to a report by GamesIndustry.biz and numerous other sources, UK developer Free Radical Design is closing its doors. The company behind the popular TimeSplitters series most recently released the critical and commercial failure Haze, a PlayStation 3-exclusive action game.

Though studio director Steve Ellis told GI.biz last month that "Nothing unusual is happening here" and "we certainly won't be laying off any staff today. Or, for that matter, any time in 2008," that is apparently what has happened.

According to today's story, staff still at the company were met by locked doors and instructions to go to a nearby hotel for a final company meeting.

Prior to the studio's closure, Free Radical was working on TimeSplitters 4.

Thanks to Shacker Granf for the link to This Is Nottingham's report.

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22 Threads | 94 Comments*

  • I'm truly sorry to hear so many people lost their jobs, but I can't say this comes as a surprise given their continued rocky, derivative and uninspired releases. Even TimeSplitters had zero ideas of its own but got away with it by cramming so much into the game - guns, maps modes. They might not be closed but I don't ever recall a developer recovering from administration.

    I also can't help but expect the new studio to tank hard. They've pissed off pretty much every publisher they worked with so it wouldn't surprise me. Notice how only Eidos worked with them twice (on TS1 and 2) and then no other subsequent publisher worked with them more than once? Yeah, there's a reason for that. If you're being that demanding and difficult with your publisher you better have a damn good game to go with it, and they never did.

  • I think that developers may have to start churning out DLC or smaller side games to help fund their larger titles. I don't really see smaller independent game studios being able to stand on a single title and hope for the best in the current market. That could have helped keep Flagship Studios open if they monetized Mythos in Korea where they eat that sort of model up.

    I know I would have no problem buying more tracks for Wipeout HD or another expansion to Warhawk on PS3. Same for GTA4 on 360 or even Fallout 3 on PC.

    It takes less man power and they can make quite a bit more profit off of these smaller releases.

    The main problem with that is they need to capitalize on the initial wave of buyers so they need to put out content within roughly 3 months to keep players interested. It also helps to be more open to the community to keep them their and wanting more. It worked for the Halo series.