Unfortunately, it seems likely that Free Radical Design will be closing once again.
The original Free Radical Design existed between the years 1999 to 2014. Just so we’re clear, the new studio isn’t one-for-one the same company that was around then, but parent company Embracer did try to assemble as much of the original team as possible.
This is important to point out, because Free Radical Design’s story is wholly different from Volition’s. Even if the name is old, this studio is very very new, and was built from the ground up by Embracer Group themselves. The point of recreating Free Radical was that Embracer managed to get their hands on the TimeSplitters IP, and they were looking for the best studio they could get to make new TimeSplitters games.
It seems somewhat childish and simplistic for that solution to be, to try to recreate the old studio as much as possible. If the likes of Ubisoft or Activision had their hands on the TimeSplitters IP, and wanted to revive it, they would most likely assign one of the many studios they already have on the job.
But at the time that Embracer rebuilt Free Radical, they still had the money to do so, or at least they thought they had the money to spend, for this and many other investments.
Earlier, we reported on rumors that Embracer was planning this action came up earlier in the month. As reported by Eurogamer today, an internal letter sent by Embracer CEO Lars Wingefor to Free Radical staff has confirmed this rumor.
Lars shared this message:
“As we move through the consultation process and face the potential closure of Free Radical Design on 11 December 2023, I want to express my gratitude for your commitment and the remarkable work you’ve done and still keep doing…
This is a challenging time for all of us but especially for you, and our focus is to support you as much as we can during this transition.”
UK law requires that companies based in the country, like Free Radical, get a 30 day consultation process, prior to looking for redundancies, AKA, layoffs.
While it isn’t impossible that the company could survive, there is no clear path for that happening at this moment. Embracer needs to find an investor who would either be interested in pouring money into Embracer itself, or buying Free Radical and/or the TimeSplitters IP. We can only hope for such a thing to happen before the end of the year.