Free Radical Design, the studio behind the TimeSplitters series, is officially closed and the fate of TimeSplitters 4 is unknown.
TimeSplitters has had a difficult history when it comes to its sequels. Although the franchise saw three games launch in the first half of the 2000s, it has since been in production hell. Plans for TimeSplitters 4 were reported as early as 2007 by Free Radical Design but nothing has ever come of this.
After a series of public business woes that saw the company dissolved and reformed multiple times, Free Radical Design is closing once again. The restructuring of Embracer Group, which also left the Borderlands IP in limbo, is now threatening the future of a cult classic.
Is TimeSplitters 4 cancelled?
There’s no official confirmation that TimeSplitters 4 is canceled, but it’s looking very likely after Free Radical’s closure.
Despite development starting around 2007, TimeSplitters 4 has been in a constant “stop-start” development cycle. The financial and critical failure of Free Radical Design’s Haze in 2008 alongside the scrapped development of Star Wars Battlefront 3 eventually led to Free Radical being bought out by Crytek.
Free Radical was renamed Crytek UK and contributed to the development of Crysis 2 and while there were rumblings of a desire to revive TimeSplitters, this never happened. Eventually, TimeSplitters came under the Embracer Group’s umbrella and Free Radical was reformed under publisher Deep Silver, with creators from the original trilogy being brought aboard.
Very few updates were given on the project before Free Radical’s sudden closure. The shutdown was made official in December, as Free Radical staff joins over 900 employees that had been let go from Embracer in the last year. It’s unknown how far along TimeSplitters 4 was into development, making it unclear whether the game might need to be finished by other developers or if the IP is once again dead.
The official statement for these layoffs was to “transform Embracer into a leaner, stronger company.” The move was met with frustration from fans, and with sadness from those who are now out of a job.
Is Embracer going bankrupt?
Embracer Group has been plagued by financial troubles in 2023, though it’s unknown if the company is going bankrupt.
Much of the trouble with the company stems from a $2 billion investment deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that fell through. Since this happened, Embracer has been closing studios and laying off staff regularly.
Embracer’s list of subsidiaries includes THQ Nordic, Gearbox Entertainment, and Deep Silver, with IPs including Tomb Raider, Borderlands, Dead Island, and Metro. Many of the studios and franchises are currently in limbo alongside TimeSplitters 4.