The Rise and Fall of the TimeSplitters Reboot: From Battle Royale Clone to TimeSplitters 2 Remake

The long-awaited reboot of TimeSplitters had a tumultuous development journey, starting off as a “clone” of Fortnite’s battle royale mode. Revealed by a former developer at Free Radical Design, the initial concept for the reboot was a free-to-play battle royale game that aimed to capitalize on the genre’s popularity. However, this direction was not well-received, neither by the developers themselves nor by the potential audience.

Amidst the dissatisfaction with the Fortnite-inspired concept, the reboot took a sharp turn earlier this year. Developers decided to reposition the game as a remake of TimeSplitters 2, a beloved entry in the franchise. While the game would still feature some new and modified levels, including maps from the first game and its sequel, Future Perfect, the focus shifted towards recreating the classic TimeSplitters 2 experience.

The change in vision significantly impacted the game’s development timeline and resources. Consequently, there was a lack of marketing efforts surrounding the project, which was first announced in 2021. Placeholder assets were utilized for a considerable period, and the development team struggled with a shortage of artists until the final year. The anonymous developer stated that “Everything that’s coming out now has been done over roughly the last 12 months.” The early stages of art production had to be scrapped or redone, further adding to the development challenges.

It’s important to note that the reboot, which unfortunately never received an official name, was separate from the previously canceled TimeSplitters 4. The developers had no access to the work done by the team at Dambuster Studios for TS4. Instead, their focus was solely on creating a faithful and updated version of TimeSplitters 2. The game intended to offer an alternate timeline story centered around Corporal Hart, departing from the original protagonist Cortez.

Tragically, the TimeSplitters reboot became another casualty in the ever-changing landscape of the gaming industry. With the recent closure of Free Radical Design as part of Embracer’s series of layoffs and studio shutdowns, the fate of the project was sealed. The entire development team was laid off, and those who returned to Dambuster Studios did not continue working on the shooter. The developer expressed their disappointment with the outcome, stating, “It was a shame the way it ended, I’ve always had a soft spot for TS since the first and I had really hoped we’d make something as memorable as before.”

With the cancellation of the reboot and the dissolution of Free Radical, the future of TimeSplitters seems uncertain. The anonymous developer speculated on the possibility of Plaion, the Embracer division in charge of Free Radical, attempting another revival in the future. However, whether that becomes a reality remains unknown. Fans of the franchise can only hope for a new opportunity to experience the magic of TimeSplitters once again.

The TimeSplitters reboot went through a rollercoaster of concepts and faced numerous obstacles throughout its development. From its initial incarnation as a battle royale clone to its transformation into a remake of TimeSplitters 2, the project showcased the challenges and uncertainties that plague the gaming industry. Sadly, the cancellation of the reboot and the closure of Free Radical Design marked the undignified end of a project that held promise and nostalgia for many fans.

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