Free Radical Design

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Crytek UK Limited
Formerly called
  • Geveret Ltd. (1998–99)
  • Free Radical Design Ltd. (1999–2009)
Subsidiary
Industry Video game industry
Fate Dissolved
Successor Dambuster Studios
Founded 29 October 1998; 18 years ago (1998-10-29) in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Founders
Defunct 30 July 2014 (2014-07-30)
Headquarters Nottingham, England
Key people
  • David Doak
  • Steve Ellis
  • Karl Hilton
  • Graeme Norgate
Products TimeSplitters
Number of employees
130 (2014)
Parent Crytek (2009–2014)
Website www.frd.co.uk

Crytek UK Limited (formerly Free Radical Design Ltd.) was a British video game developer based in Nottingham, England. Founded by David Doak, Stephen John "Steve" Ellis, Karl Ivar Hilton and Graeme Norgate in Stoke-on-Trent on 29 October 1998, they were best known for their TimeSplitters series of games.[1] After going into financial administration, it was announced on 4 February 2009 that the studio had been acquired by German video game developer Crytek and would be renamed Crytek UK.[2] Crytek had a good relationship with the city of Nottingham due in part to its sponsorship of the Gamecity festival and its recruitment drives with Nottingham Trent University.[3] In 2014, the studio was shut down and the majority of the staff transferred to the newly formed Dambuster Studios.[4][5]

History[edit]

Original company logo, 1998–2006

Most of Free Radical Design's employees previously worked for the game developer Rare. While at Rare, they (David Doak, Steve Ellis, Karl Hilton, Graeme Norgate and Lee Ray) worked on the Nintendo 64 first-person shooters GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark. From late 1998 to early 1999, this team left Rare to form Free Radical Design, which was established in April 1999, their first release being TimeSplitters for the PlayStation 2 in 2000. It was known for its very fast-paced gameplay and its particular emphasis on multiplayer rather than story.[1] TimeSplitters attracted attention at the time because of the former Rare employees' work on the critically acclaimed GoldenEye 007. Its sequel, TimeSplitters 2, became the highest-ranked first-person shooter for PlayStation 2 on GameRankings.[6]

Free Radical Design was working on Star Wars: Battlefront III from 2006 to 2008, but it became cancelled when it was supposedly "99 percent" complete.[7] The cancellation of this title, and the poorly received release of Haze, contributed to Free Radical Design going into bankruptcy.[8]

On 18 December 2008, it was reported that the studio had shut down,[9] though it was later confirmed that the company had gone bankrupt,[10] leaving only 40 of the original 185 staff still employed.[11] On 3 February 2009, Haze scriptwriter Rob Yescombe announced that Free Radical Design had been purchased by German game developer Crytek.[12] In 2010, the company moved from Sandiacre to brand new offices in the new central Nottingham Southreef development. The £50 million investment will allow Crytek UK to "grow over the next few months".[3]

2014 financial difficulties and layoffs[edit]

In June 2014, reports surfaced that Crytek had missed wage payments and withheld bonuses for the company's employees, and that as a result, a number of employees had filed grievances and refused to report to work, and at least 30 employees had left the company since 2011 alone due to a decreasing morale at the studio. After denying that there were issues, Crytek later admitted on 25 July 2014 that the company was in a "transitional phase" as it secured capital for future projects, with a particular emphasis on online gaming.[13][14]

On 30 July 2014, Crytek announced that, due to an internal restructuring, it would sell the intellectual property of Homefront (which it's sequel, later restructured as a reboot, Homefront: The Revolution, was in development at Crytek UK at the time) to Koch Media, parent company of video game publisher Deep Silver, and lay off much of the company's staff. Crytek left it unclear whether the company had been shut down entirely, however all staff were transferred to the new Dambuster Studios being established in Nottingham in accordance with British law,[15] where they afterwards continued to work on Homefront: The Revolution.[4][16][17]

Games developed[edit]

As Free Radical Design[edit]

Year Game Publisher(s) Genre(s) Platform(s)
GCN Win PS2 PS3 Xbox
2000 TimeSplitters Eidos Interactive First-person shooter No No Yes No No
2002 TimeSplitters 2 Yes No Yes No Yes
2004 Second Sight Codemasters Action-adventure, stealth Yes Yes Yes No Yes
2005 TimeSplitters: Future Perfect Electronic Arts First-person shooter Yes No Yes No Yes
2008 Haze Ubisoft No No No Yes No

As Crytek UK[edit]

Year Game Publisher(s) Genre(s) Platform(s)
Win PS3 X360
2011 Crysis 2 Electronic Arts First-person shooter Yes Yes Yes
2013 Crysis 3 Yes Yes Yes
2014 Warface (Xbox 360 port) Microsoft Studios No No Yes

Cancelled games[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hwang, Kaiser (June 2007). "Free Radical: The Face That Launched A Thousand Games". PlayStation Magazine. Future plc (66). 
  2. ^ McWhertor, Michael (3 February 2009). "Crytek Buys Free Radical". Kotaku. Gizmodo Media Group. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  3. ^ a b This is Nottingham (27 October 2009). "Gaming firm Crytek to be first tenant at Nottingham's Southreef". Nottingham Post. Local World. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Sarkar, Samit (30 July 2014). "Deep Silver buys Homefront from Crytek, moves Homefront: The Revolution to new studio". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  5. ^ Sarkar, Samit (30 July 2014). "Homefront: The Revolution devs to move to Deep Silver as Crytek scales back two studios". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  6. ^ "Browse and Search Games". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  7. ^ Makuch, Eddie (30 November 2012). "Battlefront 3 was 99 percent done when canceled". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  8. ^ Stanton, Rich (4 May 2012). "Free Radical vs. the Monsters". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  9. ^ Graft, Kris (18 December 2008). "Source: Free Radical Locked Up". Edge. Future Publishing. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  10. ^ This is Nottingham (18 December 2008). "185 jobs at risk at computer games company". Nottingham Post. Local World. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  11. ^ Purchese, Robert (22 December 2008). "Admin confirms Free Radical demise". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  12. ^ Boyes, Emma (3 February 2009). "Crytek Purchases Free Radical, Says Company Scriptwriter". 1UP.com. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on 15 July 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  13. ^ Hilliard, Kyle (3 July 2014). "[Update] Staff At Homefront Developer Crytek UK Not Reporting To Work". Game Informer. GameSpot. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  14. ^ Makuch, Eddie (24 June 2014). "Report: 30+ Staff Have Left Crytek UK Since 2011, Morale is "Low"". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  15. ^ Futter, Mike (30 July 2014). "[Update] Deep Silver Buys Homefront, UK Staff To Transfer To New Dambuster Studio, Crytek USA Scaled Back". Game Informer. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  16. ^ Pereira, Chris (30 July 2014). "Crytek Lays Off Staff After Selling Homefront; Crytek UK May Be Shut Down". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  17. ^ Pereira, Chris (30 July 2014). "Crytek No Longer Developing Homefront, Sells Rights to Publisher Deep Silver". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 

External links[edit]