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|Developer(s)||Free Radical Design|
|Publisher(s)||Eidos Interactive (2000–2002)|
Electronic Arts (2005)
THQ Nordic (2018–)
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox|
October 26, 2000
|Latest release||TimeSplitters: Future Perfect|
March 21, 2005
TimeSplitters is a series of first-person shooter video games developed by Free Radical Design. The games are often compared to Rare's shooters GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark since Free Radical Design was founded by a group of ex-Rare employees who developed these games. As the title suggests, each game features a time travelling element which enables players to battle in a temporal war in a diverse number of locations set over the span of several centuries.
The look of the series is substantially more stylized than most modern first person shooters with character models and expressions emphasizing more cartoon-like qualities and comic book-inspired design. Many of the characters represent instantly recognizable parodies of established pop culture stereotypes (such as the aristocratic English explorer or the suave secret agent). Many aspects of the series also focus on often surreal and self-deprecating humor. The main antagonist in each of the games are the TimeSplitters, a race of aliens who wreak havoc on humanity throughout time as well as their supposed creator Jacob Crow.
|TimeSplitters 2||(PS2) 90|
|TimeSplitters: Future Perfect||(PS2) 84|
The first game was released as an exclusive launch title for the PlayStation 2. The game features levels taking place in different time periods between the years 1935 and 2035.
Unlike its predecessor, the second game was also released for the Xbox and GameCube in addition to the PlayStation 2. It expanded heavily on the first TimeSplitters and featured a story that contains characters that would later be used in this game's sequel.
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
The third game in the series was notably published by Electronic Arts as opposed to Eidos Interactive that published the previous two games. This game's story has a bigger role in the game than the previous two installments. This game had online capabilities for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions of the game, but the feature was omitted from the GameCube version.
In June 2007, the Official UK PlayStation Magazine revealed that another installment of the TimeSplitters series was being made. However, at Kotaku, Rob Yescombe, the scriptwriter for the previous title in the series, said that the systems they were developing the game for were "unsigned at the moment."
"I'm sure it's possible to do a control scheme that works," Doak added, when asked about his thoughts on developing a first-person shooter for Wii. An early logo for the game was a spoof of the Gears of War logo with a monkey head replacing the skull. There was some concept art for a monkey in Master Chief's armour. Similarly, videos and screenshots of a monkey driving a heavy mechanical diving suit similar to ones featured in BioShock have been released on the developer's website. Because of this, it is expected that there will be more in-game "potshots" of those games as well as other gaming franchises. Yescombe from Free Radical Design confirmed that prediction. Free Radical Design mentioned that TimeSplitters 4 will not use the much-criticised Haze engine, instead opting for some "new and double shiny tech".
This game was in development for almost a year but since Free Radical was bought out by Crytek after going into administration, little information has been released since. On August 17, 2009, the project had officially been declared as on hold. In an interview, Crytek UK claimed that they would continue the project once there is a high industry demand for such a game.
On June 14, 2011, VideoGamer.com informed that a high-ranked source inside Crytek confirmed that the company is currently working on a new game of the TimeSplitters franchise to be released on next-generation platforms. There was no confirmation if the game is actually TimeSplitters 4, or if it will also be ported to the Wii U or PlayStation 4. The game is supposed to utilize CryEngine 3 and DirectX 11 technology.
In 2012, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli noted that expressed desire to work on the project, but also noted concern about the possible reception. He mentioned that he's been suggested crowdfunding a sequel, but deemed it inappropriate for a larger company such as Crytek. Yerli's comments about a possible crowdfunding campaign have ignited a petition to encourage such a venture, which Yerli himself has endorsed - as of February 2014, the page counts about half the supporters of the desired 100,000.
On April 27, 2012, a spokesperson from Crytek confirmed that Timesplitters 4 was "not in development". On June 12, 2012, Cevat Yerli from Crytek stated that "Look, I wish we were working on it. The thing with TimeSplitters is, if we made a sequel to TimeSplitters, nobody would accept this apart from some fans, and we don't know how big the fan community is unfortunately." In July 2013, TechRadar spoke to the Timesplitters series developer Steve Ellis. When he was asked if Timesplitters 4 would ever see the light of day on the 8th generation consoles, he replied "I don't think there's any chance that's going to happen, you always got to the point where the marketing person in the room would say 'I don't know how to sell this' because they want a character that they can put on the front of the box. Every marketing person and every publisher we spoke to [said] 'You can't have that as your selling point' and maybe the sales figures of previous games backed that up." This statement suggests that it is very unlikely that Timesplitters 4 will ever be released.
On November 29, 2012, it was revealed that a group of fans were given permission to develop a TimeSplitters mod using CryEngine 3. The project lead, Michael Hubicka, stated that the ultimate goal is to make it TimeSplitters 4. It was also announced that the development team would include some of the original members of Free Radical Design (now known as Crytek UK). The game will combine earlier elements of the trilogy and be named TimeSplitters Rewind. The project gained Crytek's approval thanks in part to a 75,000-strong petition from players. The development team intended to use Unreal Engine 4 however switched to CryEngine 3. The team said that, although the engine will give it more of a modern look, they "didn't plan on fixing something that isn't broken." It is expected to feature both story and multiplayer modes and to be free of charge on the PC. A March 2013 announcement stated that a demo was planned to be released by December 2013.
As of January 2018, the game was confirmed to still be in development.
Common gameplay elements
The series is notable for the inclusion of the MapMaker, a simple grid-based level editor. The first game in the series only allowed multiplayer arcade maps to be created. The second game allowed the player to make single-player story levels with objectives. The third game included the ability to have maps take place outdoors unlike the previous games that only allowed indoor maps to be created.
Story mode consists of a series of missions featured in each game that can be played with either one or two players. In the first TimeSplitters, this is based upon the retrieval of a key object and its successful return. TimeSplitters 2 and TimeSplitters: Future Perfect had additional objectives and more complex levels.
Arcade mode is the multiplayer aspect of the TimeSplitters series. The games are notable for having numerous multiplayer modes including the traditional Deathmatch and Capture the Flag-type games, as well as other more original modes such as Flame Tag where one player is put on fire and must tag another player to pass the flame onto them.
TimeSplitters 2 introduced Arcade League which are single player challenges, similar to Challenge mode, but arcade league challenges can be recreated in Arcade Mode. There are three leagues of increasing difficulty, and all challenges must be completed to at least a bronze level before access to the next league is granted. Rewards, such as extra characters for Arcade Mode, are given for successful completion.
Challenge mode, available in all games of the series, consists of sets of single player challenges. The challenges range from collecting bananas as a monkey to shooting cardboard cutouts. In TimeSplitters 2 and Future Perfect challenges are unique and cannot be recreated through Arcade Mode, but in TimeSplitters many of the challenges are based around a pre-set Arcade match. Rewards, such as extra characters for Arcade Mode, are given for successful completion.
The time crystals are the nine green crystals used by the TimeSplitters to travel through time. In TimeSplitters 2, one of the objectives in each level revolved around collecting one of the time crystals. In Future Perfect the time crystals were brought to Earth to power a time machine created by the humans and the central objective of the game is to destroy them.
Monkeys have been featured in TimeSplitters 2 and TimeSplitters 3. In the second game, monkeys could be seen in the story level called Aztec Ruins and there was a multiplayer mode called "Monkey Assistant" where the player in last place was aided by monkeys. The third game featured several variations of the monkey character including a monkey guised as a ninja, a robotic monkey, as well as a zombie monkey all as playable characters. A monkey also made an appearance in the story mode of the game as a humorous addition.
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