TimeSplitters Dev Had Been Offered Work on New GoldenEye While Making Star Wars Battlefront III and IV
Written Thursday, April 26, 2012 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Before closing down during Christmas 2008, Free Radical was not only working on Star Wars Battlefront III, but the UK studio famed for developing the TimeSplitters games had also signed on to make Star Wars Battlefront IV with LucasArts, a year before development was due to wrap on Battlefront III. Activision had also approached them about making a new GoldenEye game before releasing Eurocom's GoldenEye 007: Reloaded last year.
Free Radical Co-Founder Steve Ellis revealed these details to GamesIndustry International in an interview focusing on the collapse of the developer four years ago, saying that Free Radical and Star Wars license holder LucasArts had a strong relationship leading to Battlefront III and IV receiving the greenlight.
"They were big fans of our work, they liked our take on making games, they liked the way we work and they wanted to do this project," he said, referring to Star Wars Battlefront III. "It was a big thing, we were very excited and for a long time it was going very well."
Hence, LucasArts approached Free Radical at the end of 2007 to sign the studio up for Star Wars Battlefront IV.
"That was a big deal for us because it meant putting all our eggs in one basket. It was a critical decision - do we want to bet on LucasArts? And we chose to because things were going as well as they ever had. It was a project that looked like it would probably be the most successful thing we had ever done and they were asking us to make the sequel to it too. It seemed like a no-brainer."
Legendary and Turning Point developer, Spark Unlimited is now apparently rumoured to be working on Star Wars Battlefront III, as well as developing Lost Planet 3 for Capcom. It was a shift in focus at LucasArts in early 2008 that buried Star Wars Battlefront III and effectively signed Free Radical's death warrant after the critical and commercial failure of its sci-fi FPS, Haze.
"It was a change of direction for LucasArts as a company rather than for the games that we were working on. I think what had happened was the new management had been bought in to replace the old and given an impossible mandate. It was a financial decision basically and the only way they could achieve what they had been told to do was to can some games and get rid of a bunch of staff. So that's what they did but it was quite a long, drawn out process," Ellis revealed.
There was however a glimmer of hope for Free Radical as Activision considered the developer - made up primarily of ex-Rare staff who'd worked on the original GoldenEye on N64 - for its new GoldenEye title.
"As you can imagine that was something that was very well-received by a lot of the staff, it was going to be a great project to work on," said Ellis. "But as we jumped at the opportunity it suddenly disappeared. We never got a real explanation about why it disappeared. I suspect it was to do with rights about which platforms a GoldenEye sequel could be released on."
Free Radical was since acquired by Crytek to become Crytek UK, and is now rumoured to be working on TimeSplitters 4, which has reportedly been seen running. Hopefully an official announcement for a long-awaited TimeSplitters resurrection isn't too far off.