TimeSplitters developer Free Radical reportedly facing closure

Free Radical was re-established just two years ago, but may already be in danger.
timesplitters game studio closure

TimeSplitters developer Free Radical Design reformed in 2021 with the goal of reviving its most popular and enduring franchise – but according to a report from VGC, that plan is now in jeopardy. Multiple sources speaking to the website have alleged the studio is in danger of shutting down, as part of parent company Embracer Group’s restructure.

As announced earlier in 2023, Embracer Group is in the process of being revamped following a difficult financial year that included the collapse of a significant US $2 billion investment in future game development.

Since this deal fell through, Embracer management has been making vicious cuts, initiating layoffs at Crystal Dynamics, 2K Games, Private DivisionFiraxis Games, and other studios, and also closing down Saints Row studio Volition. In addition, it was reported that Embracer is looking to sell off Gearbox, the studio behind the popular Borderlands franchise.

Read: Embracer Group reportedly considering Gearbox sale, as layoffs continue

Free Radical Design may be next in the firing line, as VGC has learned the studio has been part of an “evaluation” and employees have been notified of a potential closure in future. As cited by VGC, UK employment law forces consultation for at least 30 days before redundancies can be made. With employees reportedly being warned of potential closure, it could be that this process has now begun.

Employees have already started putting out feelers for fresh work on LinkedIn, presumably in anticipation of the studio’s potential closure.

As for what’s next, that remains unclear. When Free Radical was re-established, returning founders Steve Ellis and David Doak spoke of their excitement to rebuild the TimeSplitters franchise for a new generation. “To finally be able to confirm that the studio has been formed and that we have a plan for the next TimeSplitters game is incredible,” Ellis said at the time.

Since this announcement, there has been no further updates on the next TimeSplitters. With the potential closure of the studio, it feels likely that this project will be cancelled, with Embracer retaining the rights to the series, regardless. But for now, that remains pure speculation.

Embracer Group has yet to officially confirm the closure of Free Radical, but with many employees now looking for new work, and multiple sources believing the end is near, the future of the company is looking dour.

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.