While it’s been an amazing year for video games, it hasn’t been a great year for those working in video games, with thousands of people laid off from companies including PlayStation, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Naughty Dog, Bungie and BioWare. Embracer is one company that has particularly felt the pinch, cancelling several projects and trimming its workforce, even shutting down studios entirely, such as Saints Row developer Volition.
Despite only reforming in 2021 to work on a new TimeSplitters with series creators Steve Ellis and David Doak, Free Radical Design is potentially the next studio to be culled from Embracer’s roster as a part of its “restructuring program” if a report from VGC is to be believed. According to the report, Free Radical Design has been informed that it is being assessed and could potentially close. As a result, 15 team members have used LinkedIn to advertise that they are looking for work, including a lead game designer and senior artist.
None of Free Radical, Embracer or the game’s publisher Plaion has commented on the report, which mentions that under UK employment law Plaion companies cannot make any redundancies without consulting employees for a minimum of 30 days.
The original iteration of the studio went bankrupt in 2008 after its Halo killer Haze flopped, but the studio was rebranded to Crytek UK after being given a lifeline. The studio was rebranded once more to Dambuster Studios in 2014 after Crytek sold it to Deep Silver and would go on to release Homefront: The Revolution in 2016 and Dead Island 2 earlier this year.
It would be a crying shame if Free Radical Design was to close its doors once more, even if we haven’t seen anything of its new TimeSplitters project, given how many fans have been begging for a new entry in the series since the fourth entry was put on ice after it failed to attract a publisher and then previous IP owner Crytek sat on it for years.
Hopefully, the reports are nothing more than rumours and we get to play a new TimeSplitters sometime in the not-too-distant future.
What do you think of Embracer potentially shutting down its TimeSplitters project? Let us know in the comments or on social media.