Free Radical Design, a studio reestablished to revive the long-dormant TimeSplitters series, was officially shut down by its parent company, Plaion, due to the ongoing financial struggles faced by Embracer Group, which owns both studios.
TimeSplitters is a cult classic first-person shooter series from the early 2000s that has not received a new game since 2005 because its developer, Free Radical Design, went out of business. In 2018, Koch Media — now known as Plaion — acquired the TimeSplitters IP. In 2021, it reformed Free Radical Design along with Steve Ellis and David Doak, who worked on the original TimeSplitters games, and announced its intention to bring TimeSplitters back.
We did not hear more about this new game and studio after that, which is why it was concerning when reports emerged last month that this new iteration of Free Radical Design was at risk of being shut down by the end of the year. Embracer Group, the parent company of both Free Radical Design and Plaion, has shut down studios like Volition and canceled games in the midst of financial struggles after a reported $2 billion deal with the Saudi Arabian company Savvy Games fell through. On December 11, an effort to reach Free Radical Design’s website resulted in a message saying “404 Company Not Found,” and on December 12, Plaion confirmed that Free Radical Design is Embracer Group’s latest casualty.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we must announce yet another difficult decision. Today, we have to confirm the official closure of Free Radical Design, and say goodbye to many remarkable, talented, and hard-working people,” Plaion said in a statement to Video Games Chronicle, which was also the first to report that Free Radical was in trouble in November. “We are beyond grateful for their incredible contributions to Plaion and wish them the best of luck and success on their professional journey from here on out.” The company also posted this message to its LinkedIn account.
Plaion provided no update as to the status of the TimeSplitters game that Free Radical was reestablished to create. Considering that Embracer Group is on a studio shutdown and game cancellation spree, its future is definitely in question.