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Free Radical Is (Almost) No More

Edge reports the studio behind Timesplitters and Haze has closed up shop for good--but there may be a glimmer of hope yet for the company.

"Stop huffing nectar and get back to work."
The poor critical reception of Haze clearly did developer Free Radical no favors, as Edge has reported the UK studio has shuttered in a rather dramatic fashion.

"Staff arrived for work this morning to find the locks had been changed and notices on the doors advising them to attend a meeting at a nearby Novotel [a hotel chain] at 12 noon today," said the source, who preferred anonymity and worked with Free Radical in better times. "Heavy duty security staff was patrolling the buildings."

"...I think they're all a bit shell-shocked."

Who could blame them? The story goes on to paint a grim picture of Free Radical's recent fortunes, including the loss of a deal with LucasArts to make the latest Star Wars: Battlefront game, and an inability to find a publisher for Timesplitters 4, already a year into development. Edge's source stops just short of explicitly stating that it was Haze's failure which prevented Free Radical from securing and maintaining further contracts.

The seeming final nail in the coffin is the departure of studio founder and public mouthpiece David Doak, who has purportedly joined a new studio called Pumpkin Beach, started by fellow Free Radical founder and Rare alum Steve Ellis. Edge says the pair will "hand pick" about 20 Free Radical employees to join them. The rest of the 150-plus staffers will get pink slips for the holidays. How nice.

Shacknews at least offers a glimmer of hope, saying Free Radical isn't exactly closed per se, but has instead gone into third-party financial arbitration for the time being. Employees have at least been paid through the end of December, but aren't allowed to come into work right now. Supposedly, a final decision as to the company's fate will be announced later this month.

Obviously Haze failed to garner much of a fanbase, but this is still a sad way for a pretty long-lived and storied developer to end up. I can't speak for you, but I've had just about enough of layoffs and studio closures. Can we get some good news up in here already? Brad Shoemaker on Google+
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Posted by Brad
"Stop huffing nectar and get back to work."
The poor critical reception of Haze clearly did developer Free Radical no favors, as Edge has reported the UK studio has shuttered in a rather dramatic fashion.

"Staff arrived for work this morning to find the locks had been changed and notices on the doors advising them to attend a meeting at a nearby Novotel [a hotel chain] at 12 noon today," said the source, who preferred anonymity and worked with Free Radical in better times. "Heavy duty security staff was patrolling the buildings."

"...I think they're all a bit shell-shocked."

Who could blame them? The story goes on to paint a grim picture of Free Radical's recent fortunes, including the loss of a deal with LucasArts to make the latest Star Wars: Battlefront game, and an inability to find a publisher for Timesplitters 4, already a year into development. Edge's source stops just short of explicitly stating that it was Haze's failure which prevented Free Radical from securing and maintaining further contracts.

The seeming final nail in the coffin is the departure of studio founder and public mouthpiece David Doak, who has purportedly joined a new studio called Pumpkin Beach, started by fellow Free Radical founder and Rare alum Steve Ellis. Edge says the pair will "hand pick" about 20 Free Radical employees to join them. The rest of the 150-plus staffers will get pink slips for the holidays. How nice.

Shacknews at least offers a glimmer of hope, saying Free Radical isn't exactly closed per se, but has instead gone into third-party financial arbitration for the time being. Employees have at least been paid through the end of December, but aren't allowed to come into work right now. Supposedly, a final decision as to the company's fate will be announced later this month.

Obviously Haze failed to garner much of a fanbase, but this is still a sad way for a pretty long-lived and storied developer to end up. I can't speak for you, but I've had just about enough of layoffs and studio closures. Can we get some good news up in here already?
Staff
Posted by MeatSim

NOOOO! Timesplitters is awesome! who will give me more Timesplitters?

Edited by daniel_beck_90

it is no surprise considering the current global economical crisis , Haze was not a successful game at all .

Posted by Splitterguy

WHAT?!?!  This is awful!

Posted by Kraznor

This is probably the worst news thus far in relation to studios being in jeopardy. Hope Timesplitters 4 still happens somehow.

Posted by OmegaPirate

God dammit - another day, another developer gone :( this is bad news indeed

Posted by Yzzerdd

I got a cold the other day must be because of the current global economical crisis.

Edited by ArclightBorealis

I always feel like sources take things out of context on stories like these, but I can't help but worry for these guys.

Timesplitters 4 NEEDS to come. Damn you, economic crisis!

Posted by Media_Master

Yeah, this just shows how much more effort developers need to put into a game inorder to survive

Posted by Pibo47

Maybe if they didnt make a shitty game called haze, they would still be around. But this is sad news indeed. I hope all these guys find new jobs fast.

Posted by Joey2683

Free Radical was always a company I had high hopes for but was dissipointed with each release. I guess that's my own fault, expecting Goldeneye each time. Did you guys like Timesplitters? I hope they don't lose their jobs.

Posted by Light_Geiger

this sucks! not just for the loss of a great studio. (I was looking forward to timesplitters 4, they tripped up with haze) It's always disheartening to see people lose their jobs near the holidays. at least they got paid... good luck to the rest of them.

Posted by ReTarDedFisHy

When ReTarDedfisHy thinks about Haze, he thinks this as a good riddance.
But he is then reminded of the great TimeSplitters series... he wants them to survive and make another TimeSplitters title.

Posted by artofwar420

Nobody wants to make bad games (unless I missed the video games equivalent of Uwe Boll), but shit happens.

Posted by Slique

Fact: Haze killed Timesplitters.

Posted by BaronSamedi007

I'm a long time fan of this studios work and of the work the founders of it.
From Goldeneye ( bafta awarding winning) to the Timesplitters series this guys know how to make a console FPS well not including Haze anyway you get my piont.
With family friendly pre approved audience expaning hyper-marketed non-games selling hot-cakes spiked with crack,
a real video games company falls.
Now I'm going to shot some suits on TS2.

Posted by WilliamRLBaker

:( *sad face* i posted it first >_<

Posted by Arkthemaniac
Slique said:
"Fact: Haze killed Timesplitters."
Fact: Haze was on PS3.
PS3 Killed Timesplitters: . . . fact?
Posted by AndrewB

I don't think there is anyone in the world, and especially not anyone who frequents this site, that would wish for these repeated layoffs in the industry. Unfortunately, the same stuff is happening all around us.

Online
Posted by TwoLines

Oh Noooooooooooooooes ! Damn it ! My Timez SPLITTARS !

Edited by TOYBOXX

It's obvious that Free Radical is done. No publisher is willing to shell out the cash to keep them afloat and why should they? What properties do they have that will remain profitable still today? The only franchises they have is Time Splitters and Haze, but Haze was a dud so who wants that? It's a shitty way of saying goodbye to your employee's, though, by changing the locks on the door and laying them off, meanwhile the big wigs of the company is moving on. It's a sad way to go.

Posted by Contra

If only Haze had less issues.

But they couldn't afford to work on it for longer. 

Posted by LaszloKovacs

Ouch. Fired right in time for the holidays?

Distressing but (distressingly) not shocking.

Posted by unholyone123

Even though I wasn't a huge Timesplitters fan, I still found the series to be interesting. It's a damn shame that a developer with so much potential has to close.

Posted by JoelTGM

meh

Posted by Fire_Marshall_Bill

that sucks, one game should not be the detriment of a developer.  I don't know as much about game development as i should, other than it takes a long ass time to code a game, but maybe spend a few more months perfecting things.  Did they honestly think Haze was fun? 

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

Pity, the time splitters demo I played was pretty cool. I think its silly that you put out 1 crap game and instantly your worthless. I mean, Bungie started with effing GNOP.

Goddamn economy.

Posted by bingbangboom

The sad thing is that I doubt Timesplitters would have done that well if a sequal was put out. Possibly as a XBL title, but nothing more beyond that. They havn't had a successful title released in a while including the last Timesplitters, Second Sight and now Haze. Lucasarts is getting tighter themselves and didn't want to risk another game. Especially being independent, thats where their money comes from. Sucks to see it happen, but also I am not sure how many people from Goldeneye are still with the staff. Obvouisly they have made some poor choices with Haze and Second Sight. The best thing I think they could have done is just make TimeSplitters for XBL and PSN.

Edited by crusnchill

I really feel bad for the guys working at Free Radical. They don't deserve this.

I think though that they still should have released Haze on a multi-platform basis, it would have garaunteed a lot income and this would have been the case even if it was a terrible game. This fact maybe would have even saved the company, but alas this is not the case and now people have lost jobs becuase of hard-times which in turn causes even harder times for the guys who lost their jobs.

RRAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! this F**KING! Economic downturn is really really P***ING me OFF!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Dilly

Ouch, this was not cool news to come home to, im gonna miss Timesplitters

Edited by samcotts

I may shed a tear if Timesplitters 4 gets cancelled. If Free Radical are finished, someone else MUST take on the franchise.


This console generation is missing two things, new Timesplitters and SSX games.
Posted by SubTact

They should've checked with Jonathan Davies for funding Haze 2, since he thought Haze was "the shit", I mean he single handedly gave Fred Durst a music career, he probably has the bread to spare.  Or maybe that whole "Haze is the shit" thing was 100% marketing?

In all seriousness, it's terrible to see hardworking people lose their, but I'm willing to be the talented people will get other jobs.  I know there was a demand for game development professionals in the UK, at least pre-economic "crisis", I would imagine it's still there, just maybe not as urgent.

Posted by KillerKahuna

LOL, ok maybe not so but I bought Haze this week, for a cheap 20 Euros and I think it was well worth it, I found that the game was good looking and that the plot twist made sense but the dialogue sucked however. To bad, I'd still give Haze a 7 which is not bad imo.

To bad, I'd love to see Time Splitters 4 though
Haze could have used a bit of more work but the game got slammed by reviewers making it fail for the mainstream gamer.

So yeah, I actually recommend you try Haze now that it is a bit cheaper.

Posted by WilliamRLBaker

While its sad that free radical went out of buisness or is in the process its no real suprise there is no real talent at free radical now or in the past every thing they produced was a copy of past success in the company, the time splitters franchise alone was simply trying to replicate the success of golden eye and they kept doing it 3 different times and it never worked.

Posted by RHCPfan24

Haze sucked yes, but I wold love another Timesplitters. I hope they make the right choice.

Posted by TheHBK

Wow, thats sad.  Sucks to lose your job.  But its the funniest way i have heard someone being told their games suck.  now if only they would do this to more deserving studios, like those run by Eidos?

Posted by zityz

That's sucks hard.
Not just for the fact they're closing and no timesplitters 4, but FFS no battlefront 3? A free radical version of that game would have been amazing.

Posted by zoozilla

That's really too bad.

Free Radical's style was pretty refreshing, and is greatly needed now.

Posted by HatKing

This is the most heartbreaking thing I think I've ever read related to video games.  TimeSplitters 2 and Future Perfect have long been my favorite games of all time, I was looking forward to another TimeSplitters and was alway curious what the secret LucasArts project they were working on was.  To find out that it was Battlefront(another one of my all time favorite series) is devastating.  So now I don't get to see another TimeSplitters, another Battlefront and Free Radical possibly my favorite development studio is being shut down...this isn't right.  I feel so helpless to it all too....like I wish there were something I could do.

Posted by spilledmilkfactory

this is terrible news, not for the video game industry but for the employees themselves. getting fired is not the best gift for the holidays. also, i love timesplitters, so i hope this isn't the last we see of T4.
oh, and pumpkin beach is an awesome name for a studio.

Posted by ddensel

Wow, first Factor 5, now Free Radical?

It takes many games to build up a reputation of quality in the video games industry, but only one to ruin a company for good (see Lair and Haze for example)

Posted by ScottEFresh

F8ck man this is terrible news.  I fell for the HAZE hype and was sorely dissapointed by the game.  IT was a lackluster effort and deserved the poor sales that it got.  TS4 looked good and I love the Timesplitters series.  Hopefully David Doak and some FRD employees can keep the FRD spirit alive and still continue to make some good games.

Posted by MetalGearSunny

Ah, man. Sure, Haze sucked, but Timesplitters was REALLY fun!

Posted by Otacon

I'm a massive fan of TIme Splitters, bad news indeed.

Posted by jakob187

Wait, wait, wait...so the company made ONE bad game, and it's bye-bye for them?!  SERIOUSLY?!  Free Radical makes killer games, and the hype for Haze needs to be blamed on the media more than anything.  THEY are the ones that pushed that fucker to be a HUGE deal for the PS3.  Maybe if they had laid off it a bit...my goodness...

If Timesplitters 4 doesn't come around, I think I might just flip out!!!
Posted by Brackynews

Damn, that's The Shit. :-(

Good news?  Well... um.. I suppose Rare is currently making avatar clothing every week.  I'm hoping for a Pinbot helmet.  I'd pay 100 points for that.

Yeah, sorry, that's all I got.

Posted by bjorno

Pumpkin Beach better make TS4.
Also: THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULDNT MAKE PS3 EXCLUSIVES/

Posted by WilliamRLBaker
jakob187 said:
"Wait, wait, wait...so the company made ONE bad game, and it's bye-bye for them?!  SERIOUSLY?!  Free Radical makes killer games, and the hype for Haze needs to be blamed on the media more than anything.  THEY are the ones that pushed that fucker to be a HUGE deal for the PS3.  Maybe if they had laid off it a bit...my goodness...
If Timesplitters 4 doesn't come around, I think I might just flip out!!!
"
None of the time splitters games had a standing with any one but hardcores casuals really didn't play them and they didn't score that well either.
Posted by giyanks22

That sucks, cause I was looking forward to the next Battlefront game.

Posted by sdauz

haze was bad, really bad, i could tell soo from the trailers...if a game feels bad from trailers there is little hope left.....in some sense haze was their last BIG game....it set in motion all this

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