Free Radical Design closes doors

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

Independent UK studio Free Radical Design closed its doors this morning, 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, 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 yesterday and today have not been returned.

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Latest comments (7)

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.13 years ago
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.
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Neil Castle13 years ago
A real shame. Best of luck to everyone.
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Alex McLean Studio Head, Codemasters13 years ago
All the best to everyone at Free Radical - you guys made some great games.
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Show all comments (7)
Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D13 years ago
Yeah, not good. Tough times for developers in the UK.
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Caspar Field Consultant, Talk Management13 years ago
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=

All the best,

PS Hi Alex, nice to see your face again!
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Franck Sauer Creative / Tech Art Director, Fresh3d13 years ago
Sad news indeed. Hopefully the staff will find new opportunities quickly. All the best to everyone.
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Edward Buffery Head of LQA (UK), Testronic13 years ago
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.
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