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TimeSplitters 2 | Why I Love

Digital Cybercherries' Joe Henson reflects on the variety of experiences crammed into Free Radical's beloved shooter

Why I Love is a series of guest editorials on intended to showcase the ways in which game developers appreciate each other's work. This entry was contributed by Joe Henson, game designer and marketing director at Digital Cybercherries, which has just released Hypercharge: Unboxed onXbox Series X|S and Xbox One.

When I reflect on my childhood filled with gaming, many cherished memories come to mind, featuring a host of remarkable games. Yet, as the sands of time have shifted, one game consistently stands out, always managing to bring a smile to my face and ignite a comforting warmth deep within. This game makes me yearn to turn back time, if only for a day, to relive the thrill of playing it for the first time (it’s probably not a surprise I get this nostalgic given that we made an action-figure, Small Soldiers-inspired shooter in Hypercharge: Unboxed).

That game is none other than TimeSplitters 2.

A first-person shooter developed by Free Radical Design, TimeSplitters 2 might not have boasted the most profound or compelling narrative during its era, but it excelled spectacularly in areas where many others fell short. Its rich assortment of game modes – including a co-operative story campaign, a variety of player-versus-player modes, and notably, the innovative MapMaker feature offered an unmatched breadth of gameplay.

It’s easy to overlook just how spoiled we were by the rewarding gameplay experience, with its plethora of unlockables that seemed almost endless. Looking back, we didn’t realize just how fortunate we were (and shout out to the unlockable Gingerbread Man character!).

TimeSplitters 2's MapMaker allowed players to create their own mutliplayer arenas and even single-player missions

Another aspect I absolutely adored was the diverse arsenal of weapons in TimeSplitters 2. Each weapon, some of which could be dual-wielded, ranged from tommy guns to alien energy balls, not to mention traditional arms like grenade launchers and shotguns. They were not only visually impressive but also satisfying to use, thanks to their impactful sound effects. The wide range ensured we were never at a loss for options, with each one fitting different play styles and scenarios.

However, the game mode that holds a special place in my heart is Virus. It was straightforward yet extremely fun – a tag-based mode where one player starts as the 'infected,' and the objective is to evade infection as long as possible. The thrill of dodging fiery, green-tinged characters intent on your capture, sprinting into dead ends with adrenaline pumping, was simply electrifying.

Whether playing alone with AI bots or in split-screen with friends, Virus was always a highlight. I fondly recall betting small change on each round during lively sessions with friends, where our makeshift tournaments became legendary among our group.

Virus was among Henson's favourite multiplayer modes in TimeSplitters 2

Co-op mode also brings back fond memories, especially of missions filled with hilarious mishaps. One mission required us to tail a character without being too conspicuous – a task at which I frequently failed, thanks to my penchant for mischief, like firing bullets near the target’s feet or attempting reckless speedruns past her. Our failures often turned into impromptu one-on-one battles when frustration peaked, transforming cooperative play into chaotic yet hilarious duels.

It remains a testament to the timelessness of well-made games. Its legacy of innovation, particularly through its MapMaker and varied gameplay modes, continues to influence the design of modern shooters. As I look back, I am filled with gratitude for the unique, fun experiences it offered, reminding me of the joys of gaming during a simpler time!

A monkey wielding a melon. No, we can't remember why either

TimeSplitters 2 wasn't just another game; it was a comprehensive, engaging experience that combined action, customization, and a wide selection of modes to cater to all tastes. It challenged players when necessary and provided endless fun, making it a true classic in the realm of first-person shooters.

This rich variety in gameplay and the seamless integration of multiple game modes served as a blueprint for our own title, Hypercharge: Unboxed. We aimed to recreate that sense of versatility and fun, incorporating diverse game modes that could appeal to both nostalgic players and newcomers alike.

I am immensely grateful for the countless hours of joy TimeSplitters 2 provided, and it holds a treasured spot in my gaming history, influencing not just how I view games but also how we designed our own.

Developers interested in contributing their own Why I Love column are encouraged to reach out to us at

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TimeSplitters 2

Nintendo GameCube, PS2, Xbox

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