Cancelled TimeSplitters Reboot Was Originally Meant to be a Free-to-Play Battle Royale – Rumour

Developer Free Radical Design has been shut down by Embracer Group, and the TimeSplitters reboot the studio had been working on has been presumably cancelled. In the wake of the studio’s shutter, several former employees have shared concept art for the shooter, showcasing weapons, environments, characters, and more.

On top of that, an alleged interview with a developer choosing to remain anonymous has also been published on the community-managed Free Radical Archive, revealing details about the cancelled project and its development. The Free Radical Archive claims that the anonymous developer verified their identity by sending a previously unseen version of a piece of character concept art that aligns with a different render of the same character that has been publicly shared, with a few different details.

According to the interview, the new TimeSplitters game was originally meant to be a free-to-play battle royale shooter, with additional modes like deathmatch, team deatchmatch, capture the bag, and more. “Characters and skins were microtransactions,” the developer said. “At least that was the plan. There was debate over what would be offered as standard and what was purchasable. But for the sake of the publisher we showed everything as purchasable.”

However, the developer has claimed Free Radical Design was never fully sold on the original vision for the game. “Nobody wanted that really, not even us, but we didn’t have much of a choice for a long time,” they said.

As per the developer, co-founder Steve Ellis pitched the game as a battle royale shooter to then-publisher Deep Silver in order to get the project greenlit. They said, “I think Steve pitched the BR to them [Koch Media/Deep Silver] in order to get it greenlit. I’m not convinced it was ever his end goal.”

They added: “I personally think that Steve never intended to release a BR, he always intended to get the funding and the interest first and deviate once the investment was there. I could be wrong though. He’s a hard man to read.”

Allegedly, the game was rebooted as a remake of TimeSplitters 2 of sorts, while also incorporating elements from TimeSplitters 1 and 3. The developer described it as a “remake with a few new/slightly changed levels and an alternate timeline story”.

As per the developer, it was Ellis who pushed for the game to be rebooted as a linear, single player experience. “Yes, he basically had everyone stop and spend a couple of weeks throwing together the Dam and a ‘Campaign’ mode with some semblance of a questline to follow in order to demonstrate the power of a linear game and how quickly we could put levels together,” they said.

Speaking about the narrative premise for the game, they explained: “There wasn’t a whole lot of story while it was a battle royale, but we had things like the Ancient Astronauts and the ‘Space Bar’ which was a hub area similar to The Cycle’s lobby area where you could buy things and prep for games etc. Once we switched to the remake, it was going to be a ‘What If…’ where Corporal Hart went through instead of Cortez so we could make things slightly different.”

Given that Embracer Group still owns the TimeSplitters IP, it remains to be seen whether the company still plans on doing something with it, but as per the anonymous developer, the project that Free Radical Design was working on has been cancelled.

They said, “As of this moment in time it’s cancelled. Whether Plaion will try to have another studio in the future to give it a crack, I don’t know. But everyone at Free Radical got laid off except perhaps Steve, I’m not privy to his arrangement, but none of the people who worked on the project are still doing so.”