Former Free Radical chiefs have revealed that the development of TimeSplitters 4 was hampered by the studio’s final project and reluctant marketing teams.
Steve Ellis and Karl Hilton discussed the turmoil the project faced in an interview with GamesTM.
“TimeSplitters 4 was in the very early stages of development when Free Radical went into administration," Ellis said.
"A small playable demo was shown to several publishers, but it didn't attract any publishing deals."
Free Radical went into administration in December 2008, after releasing the mediocre FPS Haze, and was rescued by Crytek in February 2009. Hilton is now Crytek UK's managing director.
“We pitched [TimeSplitters] to a lot of publishers, and from each of them we got the same two responses. Firstly, they would ask what happened with Haze. We were the company that made a series of high-rated shooters and then we had released Haze, which wasn’t as well received. This worried them," he said.
“Secondly, their marketing person would say something alone the lines of, ‘I don’t know how to sell this’. The unanimous opinion among all publishers that we pitched TimeSplitters 4 to is that you can't market a game that is based around a diverse set of characters and environments – you need a clear and easily communicated marketing message, and TimeSplitters doesn’t have one.”
“Perhaps they are all right. Perhaps this is why the previous games in the series achieved much more critical success than commercial success. For these reasons, one by one they all declined to sign the project.”
Crytek has been meet with a repeated questions about the future of the of TimeSplitters series since its acquisition of Free Radical.
Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli has suggested more than once this year that a digital edition could have potential, but a has not committed to releasing a boxed product.
Earlier this year he told CVG: “The concept behind TimeSplitters was pitched around before we took over and Free Radical had no luck. We think even on CryEngine and with Crytek behind it there would be fundamental issues with the concept.”