If Free Radical Design had to go, Haze probably wouldn't have been the studio's swan song of choice. The oft-delayed PlayStation 3-exclusive debuted to limited commercial success, not to mention a critical drubbing, in May 2008 and was cited as a primary reason that Free Radical couldn't secure new publishing deals for TimeSplitters 4 or any of its other projects, as the game industry struggled through the worst months of the global economic meltdown.
Still, Free Radical was granted an 11th-hour reprieve after filing for bankruptcy in December, when Crysis creators Crytek said it would be purchasing the studio's remaining assets and business. Renamed Crytek UK, the studio now appears to be gearing up to take another crack at creating an all-new intellectual property.
"We are currently concepting up an original IP that we hope will become a defining game series for the UK studio," studio manager Karl Hilton recently told UK gaming magazine Develop. "However, in reality, the opportunity to make any kind of original [first-person shooter] genre game where we get to focus on the quality of both the multiplayer and single player experience is what drives people at the studio."
Beyond Haze, Crytek UK is perhaps best known for its farcical FPS franchise TimeSplitters, which was known as much for its strong multiplayer component as its ponderous affinity for monkeys. In 2007, the studio announced it was working on TimeSplitters 4, said to be in development for the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii. Hilton did not indicate how the studio's new project would impact development of the game, and Crytek had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.