Amid the restructuring initiative that has been sweeping Embracer Group’s studios, Free Radical Designs is another developer reportedly facing closure.
According to a report by VGC, citing anonymous “people close to Free Radical Design,” employees have been notified that the studio could be shut down.
UK law mandates that Embracer’s division Plaion needs to enter consultation with employees for at least 30 days before enacting layoffs, so the studio could still be saved.
According to VGC’s report, at least 15 Free Radical Designs employees have signaled the fact that they are looking for work within the past 24 hours on their LinkedIn profiles.
Free Radical was originally formed in 1999 by Rare veterans David Doak, Steve Ellis, Karl Hilton, and Graeme Norgate, and rose to fame starting with the 2,000 release of TimeSplitters, followed by the sequel TimeSplitters 2 in 2002.
Following the cancellation of Star Wars: Battlefront III and the commercial failure of Haze under Ubisoft’s umbrella, the studio went bankrupt in 2008 but was saved by an acquisition by Crytek. After working for the German developer for several years on the Crysis franchise and Warface, the studio (then renamed Crytek UK) was effectively shut down and all remaining staff was transferred to Deep Silver’s Dambuster Studios.
In 2021, Deep Silver announced the reformation of Free Radical Designs with David Doak and Steve Ellis at the helm, to work on a yet unrevealed new TimeSplitters game. At the moment, the fate of this game is unknown.
Embracer has been engaging in a deep structural reform of its studios after years of intense acquisitions, including both studio closures and layoffs affecting several teams like Saints Row developer Volition, Neverwinter developer Cryptic Studios, and plenty more.
The whole industry appears to be in the midst of an employment crisis, affecting both large and small players including Microsoft, Epic Games, Bungie, Frontier, Motorsport Games, and more.