On 18th December last year, video games websites across the internet were reporting that the popular UK-based video game development company Free Radical Design had been closed down. The company, known best for their acclaimed console shooter series Timesplitters, had fallen on hard times following the release of the poorly received PS3-exclusive Haze. However, no matter how bad that game may have been, the studio had proven themselves with pretty much every previous game, and had two highly anticipated games in production when they were shut down (namely Timesplitters 4 and Star Wars: Battlefront III). However, this article isn’t about looking at was might have been. Instead, its’ intention is to look back at Free Radical’s illustrious career and relive the glorious days that they provided me with.
Having been formed from an offshoot of the well-respected developer Rare, of Goldeneye and Banjo Kazooie fame, Free Radical Design garnered a fair bit of attention for their first release – the PS2-only FPS Timesplitters. While this is technically the correct chronological order for the games, it might be a good idea to point out that I didn’t go back and play this original game until I had played both the other titles in the series. This was for the simple reason that I have never owned a PS2 and nobody I knew owned the game.
In any case, Timesplitters only really hinted at what the series would later become. The humour in the game was light and instead the game focused on the simple tasks of fighting your way to a certain point of the level, then legging your way back/to another point once all hell breaks loose. There was a semblance of a plot, an aspect the later games would lovingly mock, but the focus was very much on the gameplay.
Part 2 will be up soon.