The studio behind the announced revival of the Timesplitters first-person shooter series is reportedly in danger of being shut down. UK-based Free Radical Design, which reformed in May 2021, could be closed by its parent company Embracer, as part of its previously revealed restructuring plan.
VGC reports, via unnamed sources, that Plaion, the division of Embracer that operates Free Radical, has given notice to the developer’s employees that it could be shut down. Under UK law, employees must be given at least 30 days’ notice of such a decision before layoffs begin. It’s possible Embracer could keep the studio going, or sell it to another company.
The same article notes that 15 employees of Free Radical have posted updates to their LinkedIn pages stating they are looking for work in just the last 24 hours. So far, Free Radical, Plaion, and Embracer have yet to confirm or deny these reports.
Free Radical Design’s first iteration was formed in 1999 by a number of ex-Rare employees who worked on the classic 007 Goldeneye shooter for the Nintendo 64. Over the years, the team created the popular Timesplitters console shooters, along with games like Second Sight and Haze. The studio was working on Star Wars: Battlefront III, and it was mostly completed when LucasArts decided to cancel the game in 2008.
The studio was then sold to Crytek and its team members worked on the company’s Crysis games before it finally closed down in 2014. The 2021 revival of Free Radical under Deep Silver, which later morphed into Embacer, was led by original Timesplitters team members Steve Ellis and David Doak.
After Embracer announced its restructuring earlier this year, it started laying off employees at studios like Beamdog and Crystal Dynamics and shutting down studios like Saints Row developers Volition. It’s also reportedly explored selling off companies, including Gearbox Software.