The TimeSplitters series could soon make a triumphant return from its years in developmental limbo.
Crytek UK, formerly known as Free Radical Design, says it is talking to publishers about what it will work on after it gets done with the multiplayer portion of Crysis 2, and the possibility of reviving the TimeSplitters series has come up. Managing director Karl Hilton said that Crytek was getting some positive responses from the publishers, although he was aware that it might not be just as easy as picking up where it left off.
He said that Crytek UK was essentially discussing three options with publishers: whether to begin work on a new IP, to make a “classic” TimeSplitters games, or to update the series for a modern audience. The TimeSplitters games had been a product of their time, he explained, and of where they were made, and because of this, the games had performed differently in different territories. This meant that everyone that Crytek had spoken to was aware of the TimeSplitter games, but some looked at it as a successful series, while others saw a series that never quite reached its full potential.
Should a publisher decide that it would rather like another Timesplitters game, Hilton said that Crytek had no plans to ditch the series distinctive personality to try and get a wider audience, but at the same time it was conscious about making a product that only had niche appeal in a very competitive market. “You need to be trying to sell everywhere,” he said. “[Y]ou can’t make something bland and generic because there are plenty of those. It’s [about] getting that character and personality into a game, but not disenfranchising a whole set of people who might otherwise buy it … When you play it you should feel from the way it plays and the way it looks what it is you’re playing, otherwise you can get a very mediocre product.”
The last TimeSplitters game – TimeSplitters: Future Perfect – came out in 2005 for Xbox, Gamecube and PlayStation 2. Free Radical announced a sequel in 2007, but after the poor performance of PS3 exclusive shooter Haze forced the company into administration, and the subsequent acquisition of the studio by Crytek, the project was put on hold indefinitely. It would be great to see another TimeSplitters game, as not only does the series have a great multiplayer component, it’s also one of the few shooter franchises to prominently feature monkeys. Just imagine it, the gorgeous CryEngine 3, used to render a cartoon primate. Who doesn’t want to see that?