Back in November, the “potential closure” of Free Radical was brought to light for the first time.
This is the cover art for Timesplitters 2, which was created by Free Radical Design.
It would seem that the TimeSplitters firm Free Radical Design has been shut down, as was first speculated all the way back in November. The website of the studio has been cleaned up and now displays a straightforward statement that reads “404 Company not found:,” while a number of workers have said that today was their final day of work.
GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark were both developed by Free Radical, which was first established in 1999 by developers who had previously worked for Rare. Through its wacky shooter series TimeSplitters, which made its debut in the year 2000 as a PlayStation 2 launch game, Free Radical was able to achieve a great deal of popularity. More sequels were released in the years 2002 and 2005. TimeSplitters is considered to be an undervalued first-person shooter of that period, despite the fact that it was never released for personal computers. It has a humorous narrative, arcade-style shooting that is based on its GoldenEye ancestry, and a respectable small map editor for a PlayStation 2 game.
A number of years after being purchased by Crytek, Free Radical finally shut down its operations in 2014. Within the Deep Silver section of the Swedish holding firm Embracer Group, it was “reformed” in 2021 with the intention of producing new TimeSplitters. However, the collapse of a $2 billion investment agreement earlier this year resulted in several layoffs and studio closures at Embracer.
Rumours about Free Radical’s “potential closure” were reported at the end of November, leaving open the option that the studio would be salvaged by a new owner. However, it seems that this possibility did not materialise.
“As the sun sets on my last day at Free Radical Design, I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to collaborate both with industry legends and with emerging talents who will no doubt shape the future of the industry,” Kevin Ellis, the QA manager at Free Radical, said on LinkedIn. “Free Radical Design was a hub of creativity, but sadly, we join an ever-growing list of casualties in a broken industry where entire studios are treated as replaceable cogs in a soulless machine fixated on nothing but share prices.”
“Well, that’s it, officially the final day of our time at Free Radical Design, and an entire studio (just over 80 people) is out of work,” Daniel R. added in a separate message. “We are all out of work.” “It has been an incredible delight to collaborate with each and every one of you here. There are a number of really skilled individuals that are now looking for employment.
“And now it’s over.” Mark Normington, a senior artist at Free Radical Design, said on his LinkedIn profile that this was his last day working there. “It sees myself and just over 80 people out of work at the worst time of year for it to happen.”
In contrast to my expectations, the last day at FRD turned out to be rather different. When I left the building for the final time, I turned in my keys and left the building. I don’t believe it has really registered with me just yet. It’s time to part ways.
“The final day at FRD was very different from what I imagined,” senior technical artist Adam Kiraly tweeted. “I thought it would be normal.” When I left the building for the final time, I gave in my keys and left the building. I don’t believe it has really registered with me just yet. It is time to part ways.”
There have also been changes made to the Free Radical website, which formerly included a statement that said “we are hiring” and listings of a variety of positions available. Unfortunately, the connections are no longer operational, and the only thing that remains on the homepage is the following:
At this date, neither Embracer Group nor Plaion, the division that Free Radical worked under, have made any public statements on the current state of the studio. A request for further information has been made, and I will provide an update if I get a response.