Free Radical Design

June 16, 2012

David Doak, Steve Ellis, Karl Hilton and Grameme Norgate were all original Goldeneye N64 developers along with Lee Ray who worked on Perfect Dark. The original Goldeneye team was made up of only nine or so people. These were the core group off that Goldeneye team that also worked on Perfect Dark at Rare before leaving later into the games development.
The Free Radicals Dave and Steve left late 1998 before completing work on Perfect Dark which was released May of 2000. They got their own studio Free Radical Design up and running by April of 1999. Their first game was to be Second Sight originally named Redemption but changed to a first person shooter as Steve had developed an impressive FPS engine. They worked on TimeSplitters for the launch of the new PlayStation 2 platform. They went with what they knew best as they cut their teeth on Goldeneye and Perfect Dark for the N64 it was only natural to take that concept to the new hardware.

They released the game in October of 2000 with only a 15 month development time frame and around 15 people. The game was fast paced, short on story or narrative with a very much like capture the flag or in this case Time Crystals objective for campaign. The game had an intense split screen multiplayer, a map maker, challenge modes, and arcade league.

The game played very much in the vein of Goldeneye opting for drop down style gun reloading instead of gun reload animations, many different locations and had a tone of crazy charactors.

This was the start of Free Radical Design, they later would release a follow up to TimeSplitters, TimeSplitters 2 a multi platform game for the PS2, Game Cube and XBox.

The studio grew and they split the larger team in two to create a third person action game which the protagonist John Vattic had special paranormal powers. The player was able to possess enimies, become invisible or wipe out a room with a Psi-Blast as well as use the fun telekinesis ability in Second Sight.

The next project was TimeSplitters: Future Perfect the game shared a little more in common with then current generation shooters but still very much TimeSplitters and one of the best of the franchise.

On the next generation consoles the game Haze originally developed for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 jumped to a PS3 exclusive. The game was delayed and did not recieve the critical reception in the gaming media that their previous work had earned. The game was seen by some as rushed and unpolished. Apparently Ubisoft signed an exclusive deal with Sony to help promote the game and part of the problem was the game never ran on the PS3 to begin with.

Free Radical worked on a secret Lucas Arts project for quite some time and this may have been the thing that broke the studios back after Haze didn't perform as they would have hoped when the game was cancelled ni 2009 less than a year from completion. The Secret game was Battlefront 3 and would be the last game the studio would work on. Although Free Radical Design was offered the Goldenye remake that Eurocom eventurally did for Wii. They got a playable version of the Dam level up and running but it wasn't meant to be, likely because they were using tech for 360 and PS3 and didn't have any experience with Wii development. This may seem contradictory as the Wii hardware is very much like the Game Cube's which Free Radical had spent a lot of time with.

In 2008 Free Radical Design was forced to layoff 100 workers, keeping 40 of its 140 staff. The company went into administration and on February 4th 2009 it was announced that Crytek had acquired the studio.

In 2014 Crytek was having financial difficulties and was unable to pay the UK staff. Many people reportedly left the studio during this time and Crytek eventually shut down the studio. Deep Silver who was co-publishing Homefront: The Revolution bought the property and game outright from Crytek as not to loose their investment on the game.

On July 30th 2014 Dambuster Studios was formed and the remaining staffers continued work on Homefront: The Revolution. It should also be noted that the game was originally being published by THQ which went defunct January 23rd of 2013. Cryek acquired the Homefront license as their UK team was contracted to do the develop the game and likely wanted them to finish the project.

Homefront: The Revolution was released May 17, 2016 on PS4, Xbox One and PC. The game included a TimeSplitters 2 easter egg with Siberia and Chicago as playable levels. Found in a arcade cabinet later in the game once unlocked it can be played from the main menu Bonus screen.

Anaconda, Astrolander and Retro Racer were also included in the original cartridge easter egg in the Siberia level of TimeSplitters 2.