"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?