Report: Free Radical on the auction block

Resolve Partners said to have received "very strong" interest from a number of parties to purchase bankrupt TimeSplitters, Haze studio.

As analysts and industry watchers argued the "recession-resilient" nature of the game industry last year, the blood of development and publishing houses alike flooded in the streets. One of the more surprising breakdowns was the abrupt implosion of Free Radical Design, creator of such as properties as the heralded TimeSplitters franchise, the respectable Second Sight, and the less-than-stellar Haze.

Free Radical in a Haze.

In December, word leaked out that, thanks largely to Haze's dismal reception, the studio was unable to secure a publisher for TimeSplitters 4, announced in 2007 for multiple platforms. It was also forced to stop work on LucasArts' Star Wars Battlefront III, a game that unconfirmed reports have being developed by Rebellion, creators of Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron for the PSP.

By the end of last month, Free Radical had been placed into the hands of bankruptcy-resolution firm Resolve Partners. Today, Resolve told GI.biz that a number of parties from around the globe have expressed "very strong" interest in acquiring the remnants of the studio.

"We're advertising the business and assets for sale, and there's been some significant interest expressed from all over the world, so we're now in the process of exploring that interest," said Cameron Gunn of Resolve Partners. "The sale process itself will take a few weeks to run through, so we are thinking at this stage probably towards the end of January we should be in a better position to know whether or not we've got a decent sale--mid to late January,"

Resolve is reportedly interested in keeping Free Radical, its intellectual properties, and the remaining employees intact, though the firm is also considering breaking up the company if it will yield a higher value.

"If we can sell all of that in one hit, that would be fabulous. It may be that we're made offers for several parts of the business, which when added together total up more than one whole sale to one other interested party. But it's early days, we're not too sure yet, but if we can save more jobs we'd be delighted, and that's what we're aiming to do at this stage."

In late December, Resolve Partners said it had laid off approximately 140 of Free Radical's 180-strong staff. According to Gunn, those receiving pink slips for Christmas had been compensated through December.

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52 comments
retospectre
retospectre

well considering theres only 40 of the original staff left, time splitters 4, if it even makes it, will be nothing like the standard of the others. ea will probable but it and stamp their gay logo all over the menu.

wawasjohn
wawasjohn

haze is the best. never played TS2. i hope ea buy them. i also hope haze 2 is coming. how do you like that x-2tha-z

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

2 years announced and they havent even started

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

as long as its not an exclusive on a console it should be on all of them

PerfectDark0Fan
PerfectDark0Fan

Maybe Microsoft and accutare them and Rare & Free Radical and join together on projects.

x-2tha-z
x-2tha-z

How did they manage to **** up so badly with Haze? WTF were they thinking?

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

The only company I can think of that currently has more than enough money and power to acquire them, AND wouldn't screw them over would be Infogrames (or it's subsidiary, Atari). That'd be pretty cool, but likely won't happen. Also, "zunit88", Insomniac is an independant developer, not a filthy rich publisher. They couldn't possibly have the money to that.

gobbo00
gobbo00

Most likey thing that will happen is the IP's will be sold to a certain publisher (EA). And the (key) staff will end up getting positions in that said publisher. The rest of the staff will be looking for new jobs, untill big games are nearing the end there development cycle. And why do I say it will most likey be ending up in this way, look around you layoff's economic downturn. This is the most cost effective way do precure a top selling IP. And that said publisher is the only company with deep pockets (well apart from microsoft but with there recent "re-structuring", and money that must be going into R&D for there next xbox, you can count them out!)

FurtherIntel
FurtherIntel

Well, hopefully a good company without a bad reputation will buy them. TS4 should be made on both PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360 - hopefully the Wii version not sucking and being just as good of a port as the others.

zunit88
zunit88

hmmmm...i hope INSOMNIAC buy it...imagin that TS4 would have the same grfx and huge inviroment as R2 *_*

Brokendemise
Brokendemise

I agree with Aaz3k, the best thing for Free Radical right now is to be purchased by a decent company. My prediction is that EA might be willing to purchase it. They're bleeding money right now but they still have the guts to purchase FR, and might pump out the TimeSplitters 3 game. The problem is that because of their quick pump out to get cash, they're going to have to sell it off again. Hopefully, Ubisoft purchases Radical right off the bat, because they're domestic and international sales are strong, and they'll try and do the next one right.

Aaz3k
Aaz3k

Wow, you know something I never really post anything, but I really want Free Radical to get bought by a decent company. The TimeSplitters series is epic and I have been waiting for TS4 for an eternity. I never played Haze because I heard it was S**T and now its killed off perhaps one of the top game studios. My only worry is EA getting their fat grubby mitts on Free Radical, can you imagine that Star Wars BattleFront 3 has a huge Burger King logo on the Deathstar :(

MonkeyWrench127
MonkeyWrench127

Please let a decent compnay, with some money and who can make decent games pick them up

netopix
netopix

Time Splitters 3 is one of my favorite games of all time. Some company somewhere PLEASE pick up where they left off and MAKE TS4....and PLEASE make it for the xbox360 :)

thk123
thk123

I say, umm... *empties pockets* £6.43 and a pack of mints? Seriously, I was really looking forward to TS4, hopefully it will pull through some how.

lendrahcir
lendrahcir

It will be very sad to never see Timesplitters 4. Free Radical were a great and unique company with fascinating, comical ideas and they truly had the genius to be able to put those concepts into a game. Haze was ultimately a huge let down for them, they invested too much time and money into an exclusive that never took hold. If they stuck around for long enough and made Timesplitters 4 they would have been brought straight back out of that bad situation. Whether you liked/disliked Korn or Haze, one thing I think we can all agree on is that Free Radical and the Timesplitters series will be missed.

raghraghragh
raghraghragh

Korn is certainly NOT awesome... djmillard2, the correct term is exploring.

xlizard-beta
xlizard-beta

this give hope for ts4 and korn is awesome but they couldve of done better if it wasnt a ps3 exclusive

Pete5506
Pete5506

I hope someone good picks them up and start making good games again

djmillard2
djmillard2

lol typo. they said "exploring". they meant "exploiting"

technowiz999
technowiz999

People keep thinking EA is going to buy Free Radical up, but they aren't doing too hot right now. I expect ActiBliz to start taking on EA's old business tactics of massive takeovers. The are reportedly "flush with cash" anyways so why not? Welcome to the new EA. (Note: if I was Sony I would pick them up and get a cheap PS3 exclusive, or M$ and take away the PS3 exclusive)

Inconnux
Inconnux

Haze... Make a game for the console with the smallest player base and let Korn do the soundtrack... any wonder this title failed ???

Kaos39
Kaos39

Hopefully someone will get them, TimeSplitters is one of my favorite video game series, and I;d like to see the new Battlefront.

_Yosh_
_Yosh_

Time To Split! ;)

Henninger
Henninger

I hope they can get it 2gether cuz i like the Timesplitters series.

JamesSoprano
JamesSoprano

tho haze was bad to alot of people i thought the Demo was O.K so i bought it for $14.99 at my local EB Games LOL ... anyways it's sad too see them go .. it would be nice if Sony grabbed them or EA so they can do just the one release to PS3 of timesplitters ( i think that's how the vote went ) where ever they go i hope they still make that game and make it for the PS3

Staryoshi87
Staryoshi87

"those receiving pink slips for Christmas had been compensated through December." That's a faily generous offer, really :) Good to see. To be honest, I don't want to see more games like Haze, and I don't mind either way what happens to them. If they get bought up and go on to develop a smash hit, more power to them, but I'm apprehensive of such an outcome coming to fruition.

NerdEmperor
NerdEmperor

Did you guys also hear Gearbox is having some financial woes? Wtf happened to the gaming industry being recession proof?

NerdEmperor
NerdEmperor

Guys lets chip in some money. I want Timesplitters 4 now! I got $8. Who else is in?

R7_3
R7_3

EA just hurry up and buy them, we all know you're going to anyway

FelixTheGreat15
FelixTheGreat15

I hope Battlefront 3 is okay, I really am looking forward to that game. Also it is sad that a studio underdevelops on a few games and they get auctioned off. These big companies need to have more faith in the developers if they ever want a big payoff. Who knows what big game they might have been able to come up with in the future?

K_A_R_X
K_A_R_X

Jump In to SCE WWS and everything will be just fine ;)

Zoomer30
Zoomer30

I wonder who will get the BFIII project now. The 40 people who did NOT get the axe should go out and buy a few dozen powerball tickets, your company bites the big one and you somehow DONT get fired. You cant buy that kind of luck.

bigd575
bigd575

Hopefully someone will get them I my self would like to see ts3.

jrabbit99
jrabbit99

I wish someone would pick them up! They make good games, it's just that their latest one didn't have the quality standards that we're used to.

nintendoboy16
nintendoboy16

Who should I want to buy Free Radical? Not Microsoft (they took Rare away from most of us old Rare fans, like myself). Not EA (they're too much of an empire). I don't really know about Sony or Nintendo (if they were bought by a first party, Timesplitters will be an excluisve for a company again, like they were the PlayStation 2 and that's not fair, despite Timesplitters 1 being a PS2 exclusive first). For my final descision, I don't know who should have him, but we'd better hope that a first party, or EA dosen't buy them.

datniccah187
datniccah187

Ehh always is disheartening to see a gaming studio going under. The more diversity in the industry the better.

Kakua_Omari
Kakua_Omari

Hopefully someone will pick them up and we'll see ts4 and battlefront 3 (hopefully).

RetroGamer34233
RetroGamer34233

This is really a shame. I hate to see businesses like this falter. Hopefully they'll get picked up by a good company with some firm financial backing. Because once all the little companies go down, only the big ones are left to follow.

iuns
iuns

Really want them back in business; i was heartbroken when i found out that Timesplitters 4 has little hope of coming to fruit =(

Alpha-Male22
Alpha-Male22

Not surprised to see Free Radical being shown "interest". They are a very, very good company that has released a solid list of games. Just because they are a small company, they get totally crushed by their one bad game, Haze. The problem with Haze was obvious from the beginning-- how can you expect a serious storyline and a serious single player campaign from a company that is known for their light-hearted and comical parody games? Hopefully something is done to keep these guys on the line, I too am looking forward to TimeSplitters 4.

Chief_Kuuni
Chief_Kuuni

well good luck, hopefully someone buys the company and makes the games

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

this doesnt mean timesplitters 4 is canned, what it means is another studio is buying them guess what possibly ts4 will come just under a new name, this is rather good news, they are buying or interisted in buying the studio . i at least want one last timesplitters game please do it,

XxNastyMan75xX
XxNastyMan75xX

It's too bad that one game (Haze) basically killed this great developer. I actually enjoyed Haze, but it was evident that most people didn't share my perspective.

KamikazeDonut
KamikazeDonut

So that means there's still hope for a Timesplitters 4 yeah please someone pick up Free Radical.