Free Radical Design

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Free Radical Design
Subsidiary of Crytek
Industry Computer and video games
Interactive entertainment
Successor Dambuster Studios
Founded 1999
Defunct 30 July 2014[1]
Headquarters Nottingham, England, United Kingdom
Key people
David Doak
Steve Ellis
Karl Hilton
Graeme Norgate
Products TimeSplitters
Parent Crytek[2]

Free Radical Design was a British video game developer based in Nottingham, England, United Kingdom, probably best known for the TimeSplitters series and Second Sight.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] In 2014, the studio was shut down and the majority of the staff transferred to the newly formed Dambuster Studios.[6]


The company's original logo (1998-2006)

Initially, 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.[3] 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 on the PlayStation 2.[7]

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.[8] The cancellation of this title, and the poorly received release of Haze, contributed to Free Radical Design going into bankruptcy.[9] On 18 December 2008, it was reported that the studio had shut down,[10] though it was later confirmed that the company had gone bankrupt,[11] leaving 40 of the original 185 staff still employed.[12] On 3 February 2009, Haze scriptwriter Rob Yescombe announced that Free Radical Design had been purchased by German games developer Crytek[13] which was then confirmed by Crytek themselves the following day.[4] 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".[5][14]

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.[15][16]

On 30 July 2014, Crytek announced that due to an internal restructuring, it would sell the intellectual property of Homefront (a game of which the studio was currently in development of a sequel Homefront: The Revolution), 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[17] and will continue to work on Homefront: The Revolution.[6][18][19]

Games developed[edit]

Free Radical Design[edit]

Year Game Publisher Genre Platform(s)
GC PC PS2 PS3 Xbox
2000 TimeSplitters Eidos Interactive First-person shooter No No Yes No No
2002 TimeSplitters 2 Eidos Interactive First-person shooter 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 First-person shooter No No No Yes No

Crytek UK[edit]

Year Game Genre Notes Platform(s)
PC PS3 X360
2011 Crysis 2 First-person shooter Development of the multiplayer only Yes Yes Yes
2013 Crysis 3 First-person shooter Development of the multiplayer only Yes Yes Yes
2014 Warface First-person shooter Development of the Xbox 360 version only No No Yes

Cancelled games[edit]


  1. ^ Sarkar, Samit (30 July 2014). "Homefront: The Revolution devs to move to Deep Silver as Crytek scales back two studios". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  2. ^ McWhertor, Michael. "Crytek Buys Free Radical". Kotaku. 
  3. ^ a b Hwang, Kaiser (June 2007), "Free Radical: The Face That Launched A Thousand Games", PSM, pp. 18–19 
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b Gaming firm Crytek to be first tenant at Nottingham's Southreef
  6. ^ a b "Deep Silver buys Homefront from Crytek, moves Homefront: The Revolution to new studio". Polygon. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Reviews and News Articles - GameRankings". 
  8. ^ "Battlefront 3 was 99 percent done when canceled". GameSpot. 
  9. ^ "Free Radical vs. the Monsters". 4 May 2012. 
  10. ^ Graft, Kris (18 December 2008). "Source: Free Radical Locked Up". Edge. Retrieved 18 December 2008. 
  11. ^ "185 jobs at risk at computer games company". This is Nottingham. 
  12. ^ Robert Purchese. "Admin confirms Free Radical demise". Eurogamer. 
  13. ^ Emma Boyes. "Crytek Purchases Free Radical, Says Company Scriptwriter". 1up. 
  14. ^ "Contact". 
  15. ^ "[Update] Staff At Homefront Developer Crytek UK Not Reporting To Work". Game Informer. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  16. ^ "Report: 30+ Staff Have Left Crytek UK Since 2011, Morale is "Low"". GameSpot. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "Deep Silver Buys Homefront, UK Staff To Transfer To New Dambuster Studio, Crytek USA Scaled Back". GameInformer. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  18. ^ "Crytek Lays Off Staff After Selling Homefront; Crytek UK May Be Shut Down". GameSpot. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  19. ^ "Crytek No Longer Developing Homefront, Sells Rights to Publisher Deep Silver". GameSpot. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 

External links[edit]