Free Radical Hits Financial Skids
I think we can all agree that Haze was one of the most disappointing games of 2008, and in this ultra-competitive industry that now must deal with an ailing economy, you have to be firing on all cylinders. Free Radical was not, and therefore, it seems they may be no more.
First, GamesIndustry.biz reported that the staff had been laid off and the UK-based studio's doors were now locked. Then Edge Online noted that Free Radical's financial crisis was caused by a breakdown in a deal with LucasArts; the publisher was supposed to issue some contracts in some kind of exclusivity deal, but that deal must've disintegrated. It was also reported that Haze's failure made it difficult for Free Radical to find a publisher for TimeSplitters 4, which was announced way back in October 2007. We have no idea what will become of the fourth installment in the once-popular franchise, but thanks to This is Nottingham, GameSpot has confirmed that Free Radical is indeed in dire straits. Cameron Gunn of Resolve Partners, a bankruptcy-resolution firm, has said that the developers was "placed in to administration yesterday afternoon." They will now "assess the financial position of the company," and they've asked that all the employees (except for a small skeleton crew) stay home.
Well, at least the employees were paid up through the end of the year, and there's no knowing how many of the 185 Free Radical workers will end up without a job. We'll keep you updated, but for now, we suggest not holding your breath for TimeSplitters 4.
12/18/2008 John Shepard