Cancelled TimeSplitters game revealed in new footage

The new footage posted reveals a Fortnite-like third-person shooter with unique stages.
timesplitters game studio closure

A first look at the cancelled TimeSplitters game in development at Free Radical Design has been posted to LinkedIn by a developer, in a video reel showcasing an early build. Based on the details included, the footage was taken in July 2023, around six months prior to the closure of Free Radical Design.

TimeSplitters Next, as the game is known, would have featured a third-person over-the-shoulder perspective much like Fortnite – and the comparisons between the games don’t stop there. Combat footage shows off player skirmishes that seem very familiar, and there does appear to be an open world-style map that players would have explored and hidden within. Parachutes are also deployed to drop players on the battlefield, and there is a similar cosmetics store.

According to developers speaking to The Free Radical Archive, the game actually started life as a “Fortnite clone” before ambitions grew. “Nobody wanted that really, not even us, but we didn’t have much of a choice for a long time,” one developer said. You can certainly see part of this vision in the gameplay footage.

That said, there are also familiar elements of the beloved TimeSplitters series in the reel, in its weapons, level design, and commitment to strange and wonderful characters. In one portion of the footage, a female hero can be seen fighting against a skeleton being, and in another part, the player is a colourful clown hero. Some of these character designs were recently glimpsed in concept art shared by game designers, and others are completely fresh.

Read: Unreleased TimeSplitters game revealed in concept art

The footage of the game is fairly polished, and suggests TimeSplitters Next was well into development at the time of Free Radical Design’s closure. While there are unfinished elements and terrain is fairly simple, it appears basic combat and exploration were well-developed as of July 2023. You can certainly the see the bones of a hearty multiplayer shooter in this early glimpse.

Unfortunately, whatever TimeSplitters Next could have become will not be realised, as the entire development team is now disbanded, and work on the project has ceased. What has been revealed of the project so far is very intriguing – but as it stands, the game will remain only a small footnote in the history of Free Radical Design and Embracer Group.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.