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Free Radical Design closes doors

Thu 18 Dec 2008 12:45pm GMT / 7:45am EST / 4:45am PST
Development

TimeSplitters, Haze developer lays off staff, Rebellion picks up Battlefront III project?

Independent UK studio Free Radical Design closed its doors this morning, GamesIndustry.biz understands, with multiple sources claiming that staff, including senior executives, have already left the company.

It is also believed that the unnamed project for LucasArts - announced back in 2006 and thought to be Star Wars Battlefront III - has been shipped off to Rebellion, the developer behind PSP hit Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron.

One source claims staff turned up to work today to find doors locked, and instructions to meet at a nearby hotel for a final company meeting.

Last month, when contacted by GamesIndustry.biz, director Steve Ellis denied there were any changes at the company.

"Nothing unusual is happening here. Projects end. New projects start. That's how things have worked for nearly 10 years," he said then.

TimeSplitters 4 and the unnamed project were both still in development said Ellis, as were "other unannounced projects, which are in the process of being signed."

And days later, when more industry chatter questioned the future of the Nottingham studio, Ellis said that "we certainly won't be laying off any staff today. Or, for that matter, any time in 2008."

"If something happens in 2009 I'm sure we'll be prepared to comment - but from where I'm sitting, whatever happens is far more likely to be positive than negative," he added.

Calls to senior staff at Free Radical Design by GamesIndustry.biz yesterday and today have not been returned.

7 Comments

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,232 2,161 1.0
It sounds so odd to read one article about the industry breaking sales records and growing only to have it followed up by articles of studio closures, layoffs and heavy losses.

Good luck to all those at Free Radical.

Posted:5 years ago

#1

Neil Castle

1 0 0.0
A real shame. Best of luck to everyone.

Posted:5 years ago

#2

Alex McLean
Studio Head

6 0 0.0
All the best to everyone at Free Radical - you guys made some great games.

Posted:5 years ago

#3
Yeah, not good. Tough times for developers in the UK.

Posted:5 years ago

#4

Caspar Field
CEO & Co Founder

38 88 2.3
This is very sad news - not least at this time of year. I was a huge fan of the TimeSplitters games - real highlights in my gaming life. I loved the level editor - an under-hyped feature, I always felt.

I offer the following with only good intent toward those affected by the closure: Relentless is hiring at the moment, so if you were working for Free Radical and are now wondering 'what next?' then please check out our website for details of open positions - [link url=http://www.relentless.co.uk
]http://www.relentless.co.uk
[/link]

All the best,
Caspar

PS Hi Alex, nice to see your face again!

Posted:5 years ago

#5

Franck Sauer
Creative / Tech Art Director

63 9 0.1
Sad news indeed. Hopefully the staff will find new opportunities quickly. All the best to everyone.

Posted:5 years ago

#6

Edward Buffery
Pre-production Manager

148 96 0.6
I have very fond memories of working in their offices as a functionality tester for Time Splitters 2 back in 2002. This news is sad indeed.

Posted:5 years ago

#7

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