How Haze hurt TimeSplitters 4's chances of existing

Remember the critically-panned PS3-exclusive shooter Haze? The game's failure ultimately hurt prospects of making TimeSplitters 4.

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Remember Haze? You'll be forgiven if you can't recall the critically-panned PS3-exclusive shooter from 2008. It was the last game to come from Free Radical Design, before being transformed into Crytek UK.

Haze's failure ultimately hurt the prospects of a long-requested fan project: TimeSplitters 4. Free Radical had successfully launched three games in the series, but publishers couldn't help but be concerned after the game's disastrous release.

Former employee Steve Ellis told GamesTM (via Joystiq) about the company's struggle to get TS4 made. He noted that publishers "would ask what happened with Haze. We were the company that made a series of high-rated shooters and then we had released Haze, which wasn't as well received. This worried them."

Haze wasn't the only reason TS4 was denied a greenlight. The franchise was never a tremendous sales success either, and marketing the title would prove to be difficult. "The unanimous opinion among all publishers that we pitched TimeSplitters 4 to is that you can't market a game that is based around a diverse set of characters and environments – you need a clear and easily communicated marketing message, and TimeSplitters doesn't have one."

From The Chatty
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    November 26, 2012 3:30 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, How Haze hurt TimeSplitters 4's chances of existing.

    Remember the critically-panned PS3-exclusive shooter Haze? The game's failure ultimately hurt prospects of making TimeSplitters 4.

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      November 26, 2012 3:55 PM

      Damn shame. I'd actually like to see it come back as a downloadable game. Maybe use the TF2 model and give it out for free while selling cosmetic items.

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      November 26, 2012 4:16 PM

      This makes me think of a couple of other "Why the hell did you guys strain yourselves making X instead of Y?!" scenarios:

      Silicon Knights: instead of making an Eternal Darkness 2, worked on Too Human, intending it as a trilogy, and then sued Epic for their problems with Unreal Engine 3. Kept themselves going with an Activision contract for X-Men: Destiny, only to have that tank, and then lose all of their lawsuits against Epic.

      Io Interactive: after Hitman: Blood Money, pushed Kane & Lynch hard, with 2 games, and a movie project (which still isn't done). Eventually came back to the Hitman franchise with Absolution.

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        November 26, 2012 4:17 PM

        Too Human was awesome, too bad they ruined all chances they had to resurrect it.

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          November 26, 2012 5:10 PM

          Yeah, I definitely would have played a second and third game in that series if they had gotten around to it. Too bad making the game took such a toll on the studio though.

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            November 26, 2012 5:29 PM

            I wonder what would've happened if they stopped short of suing Epic. Maybe they already were trying to beg Epic to give them more platform support; maybe Epic felt that Silicon Knights wasn't performing enough due diligence with the SDK that was already delivered; I don't know the details. I do remember that "Gears Comes First" email from Dan Vogel that was outed by legal discovery and used by Silicon Knights as evidence.

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              November 26, 2012 6:21 PM

              Yeah, if they hadn't had so many engine issues and legal issues... the game wouldn't have taken so long, maybe would have been a bit more polished and things could have been quite different.

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        November 26, 2012 5:44 PM

        Most independent developers don't have significant runway so what gets developed is often a matter of which pitch gets greenlit first. Beyond that, fans' appetite for an IP is not necessarily shared by the developers who have slaved over it for multiple years. They might love that IP but need a break, or collectively they might feel like they want to deliver a different experience. I am disappointed that Eternal Darkness 2 didn't get made, but as a developer, I can certainly understand why.

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      November 26, 2012 4:27 PM

      i'll buy it if they ever make it... the timesplitter series is one of my all time favorites.

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        November 27, 2012 7:14 AM

        Agreed, the humor and ridiculous speed of the first game caught my attention, also long nights of multiplayer with ridiculously high team kill count requirements (16,437 I think was the highest we ever tried, I'm pretty sure it maxed out at 65,536 :D). They slowed down a little each game but added something akin to a story which, while corny as hell and not the most interesting were quite fun in their own right. I'd love an HD remake pack of the series maybe to test the waters for #4.