A while after the Nintendo 64 classic first-person shooter title GoldenEye 007, a bunch of developers left the floundering Rare to found their own studio: Free Radical Design. This team went onto developing a quirky, arcadey FPS game series TimeSplitters.
A few games in the series were made before company CryTek bought out the studio. Those developers now work for CryTek UK, where they work on games like the upcoming Crysis 3. The final game in the series, TimeSplitters: Future Perfect was released in 2005 and a fourth game, TimeSplitters 4 was announced before the studio went into administration.
The game was said to be put on hold in 2009, but on the same day, CryTek’s Karl Hilton said there was so much demand for the game that the sequel may be on the cards. Now, a magazine claims someone told them that they saw the game running.
OXM – the Official Xbox Magazine UK, wrote in their latest issue the following; “Trusted OXM sources have claimed that they’ve seen TimeSplitters 4 running. That’s no guarantee that it’ll be released – at least one version of Star Wars: Battlefront 3 was cancelled without ever being announced – but it’s a promising sign. If we do get a proper sequel, we’re likely to see the old games appear, too.”
Is fourth hand information reliable in today’s Age of the Internet? Surely anyone can literally say anything; why would anyone take it seriously?
On the other hand, TimeSplitters is an established franchise and the fourth game has been talked about for so long that it sounds like the team at CryTek UK have a fairly good idea as to what to put into the game. But there lies the problem; CryTek. CryTek seem, to me at least, to be a company that makes “safe” games – game that will sell, based on the market trend.
Managing Director Karl Hilton confirmed as much in 2009;
“Going forward with future projects, it will be up to us to talk to publishers about what they want, be it the old TimeSplitters or Team Fortress route of slightly stylized or comic characters, or whether they want hyper-realistic games.”
“Like with all businesses, content is dictated by the desires of the market,” he said. “These days the mass-market shooters tend to be aimed at the hyper-realistic stuff. If developers had free reign with the CryEngine, they would easily be able to produce really bizarre, wacky wonderful stuff.
“We have artists who can make super-realistic games but we also have a team that has experience making completely bizarre stuff too.
“If the time comes, if there is a demand for that type of game, I’m confident we’d be ready for it.”
So, the question is; is there enough demand for a game like TimeSplitters 4 for the company to risk spending some money on development? Probably not, when you consider the popularity and graphic realism of Battlefield 3 and, to a lesser extent (in realism terms), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
CryTek are so scared of risk, they’re not even prepared to support a new console – this week Director of Creative Development at Crytek, Rasmus Hoejengaard said there’s a “fat chance” of the new Crysis 3 appearing on Nintendo Wii U, even though the console will be on sale by the time that game is released – which is about 12 months from now.
So, we have a company that bought a studio who ran out of money after developing the TimeSplitters series, who despite earlier praise about the Wii U’s processing power are too scared to release their latest game on the new console and by their own admission will only release games that are in trend with the current market.
So, there may be a TimeSplitters 4 demo out there, in some form. A teaser trailer was actually released back in 2006, so a demo isn’t too hard to imagine – even if the person who saw it was “some guy” talking to some magazine in the UK.
But to get your hopes up, waiting for CryTek to actually bother with the TimeSplitters series is a little bit of a stretch.