The “TimeSplitters” Are Back, Well Almost!

If there’s one game series that holds a soft nostalgic spot in FPS gaming it most certainly has to be Timesplitters. I’m sure if you have played any of the previous games you will not need an introduction to such an amazing trilogy. TimeSplitters literally broke the rule book on FPS gaming by not really conforming to your standard shoot ‘em up’s style. The games were fun; with an incredible cast of characters and locations, which were at times were unexpected and stylish. The games followed an alien race known only as the Time Splitters, who cause trouble by travelling through time, wreaking havoc at different periods in order to destroy the human race.

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The first game saw you completing missions by completing set objectives with the follow up games following more story oriented objectives.

Having the games constantly jump between different time periods added a new level of variety to an FPS game, which more than likely became its unique selling point. An example of this would be when you find yourself fighting alongside a world war one Englishman known as Captain Ash, complete with a stereotypical gentlemanly accent and moustache. You are fighting soldiers with weapons both from the current time period and from the future. Another level was set in a futuristic world currently in war with machines, which featured the deadliest and coolest looking of killer robots. The series employed a cartoonish look at times, whether that be in facial expressions from the characters or  with the comic book inspired levels. It also had a wry sense of humour that is currently lacking in the more serious offerings found today.

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One of the fondest memories I have for the series is with the built in map editor; there wasn’t anything else like it at the time on PlayStation 2.  TimeSplitters 1 allowed multi-player maps to be created, with TimeSplitters 2 however you could create single player levels with objectives, while the third game included the ability to have maps take place outside. The creator was a simple grid based level editor which you could create an entire level filled with auto turrets, objectives and as many enemies as the editor would allow you to fill it with. Imagine creating a futuristic lab level with armed robots and objectives located in a macabre haunted house style level which also joined onto a separate part of the map. It was so enjoyable to spend many hours of my time doing this.

The biggest limitation, however, was the space taken up by the editor when saving it simply was never enough on traditional PlayStation memory cards. Even when using the game with the PlayStation 3’s inbuilt memory cards level’s always seems it full up too quickly, this was because it still had the same restrictions on internal card space. Once a level was created you could also share it for others to play on-line, allowing a lot of possibilities.

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A simple map editor which anyone could make use of.

It is stated that TimeSplitters 2 became the highest ranked game among the FPS genre on the PS2 platform. As some people may be aware, the studio behind the games, Free-Radical, unfortunately ran into problems. Free radical design shut down and went into administration on December 18th 2008. Crytek confirmed on Feb 4th 2009 that they had purchased Free Radical Design.

TimeSplitters  4 was set to be a PS3 exclusive proprietary title as was described in 2007, images were leaked with hints pointing at the new game this included a parody of the  Gears Of War logo with the infamous TimeSplitters Monkey head inside a gear. Then in 2008 fresh images appeared, this time parodying the Need For Speed series. The next was the memorable image of a more mature Jo Beth Casey in a torn nuns outfit brandishing a blood stained chainsaw. With so many images being leaked all of which looked entirely reputable, it seemed the game was an inevitability. Following the administration of Free Radical’s studio, no new images appeared and all sources from Crytek seemed to point at TimeSplitters 4 having being laid to rest.

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Jo Beth Casey leaked image, opens to a lot of speculation on where the next game was heading.

Ever since Crytek took over Free Radical, news has been scarce, non-existent perhaps. Despite strong support from fans, Crytek were not satisfied that the game would sell or gain enough interest to green light the development. For this reason, a petition was set up by fans to reach out to Crytek to develop the next game in the series. Despite receiving over 75000 signatures the studio still seemed reluctant to give the go ahead. Hope has not been lost, however, with the studio stating that if there is enough demand it will go ahead. In order to test the water so to speak Crytek have done the next best thing.

A new TimeSplitters Emerges

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The new game has been titled TimeSplitters Rewind losing the number 4 in the process.

Crytek have given their official permission to bring out a new game for the series to a team of 25 talented game developing fans. But before you get too excited this isn’t exactly the TimeSplitters comeback we were hoping for, especially when TimeSplitters 4 was on the verge of potential development by Crytek.

There you have it then a confirmed title at last simply named ”TimeSplitters Rewind”,  here are the good and the bad points of the proposed new game development;

TimeSplitters Rewind will be based primarily on PC and without support from Cryteks development team, have limited resources, no single player or co-op campaign modes, utilising just the multi-player and challenge aspects from the series. The major plus of a somewhat less than hopeful comeback is “Rewind” will be absolutely free to download and play as well as all available DLC made for the game. The team are actively recruiting programmers to help them and have reached out to fans for character ideas some of which if good enough will appear in the final game.

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The whole array of characters from previous games are set to headline, but who else will make an appearance aside from Harry Tipper and Cortez?

Crytek also gave permission to allow the team to access assets form the main TimeSplitters games. The 25 strong team declined however in favour of building the new game with the use of Cry Engine 3. This is a very sensible move; in order to review the games properly I recently started replaying Future Perfect with the use of my PS3. The graphics especially the cut-scenes are very dated but unlike other games it is still engaging and playable as a fun replay. This is because it is so unique in terms of story characters locations and weapons frankly you won’t find in any other game. In fact you can really get a sense when playing one of the previous gamers now how it could be if they were to have a sequel on a next gen system, but it would only really work if it had as many of the creative talents from the free radical studio behind it as that is the soul of the game. The new game promises 300+ playable characters in addition to maps that reflect the feel and look of the original games.

Rewind ditches a lot of things then instead focusing on the fast paced mult-player aspect of the series this means that the game will complete in a shorter space of time with hints pointing to a December 2013 release. Multi-player will feature from 8 to 16 players either on-line via LAN or solo competing against AI bots, all the usual modes are set to make a comeback such as TDM and Vamp with along with a few new ones.

The team have also stated that the possibility of a campaign may still happen but all immediate attention is set on the multi-player. While the best of hopes goes to the team now in charge or “Rewind” it is disappointing that Crytek haven’t confined with a following to future perfect despite a 75,000 strong petition by fans across the world.

We can only hope that the fans will be able to not only make the game a hit but also confirm to Crytek without a shadow of doubt that TimeSplitters 4 has a market, is a great selling series and a fourth next gen title needs to be produced, it seems we have more confidence in Cryetk making a new game than they do themselves.

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Categories: News, Opinion

Author:Jonathan Cullen

Very technologically minded Techie, avid gamer right from the old Commodore 64 up to the next gen consoles, complicated, understanding person, there for my friends.

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2 Comments on “The “TimeSplitters” Are Back, Well Almost!”

  1. Larry Bundy Jr.
    April 24, 2013 at 3:01 am #

    Very nice article! I’ve enjoyed the time splitters games and the idea of a new time splitters would be EPIC! Hopefully a nice campaign will be put in.

    side note: I noted in the first paragraph you use the word “reeked”. Doesn’t this word refer to a smell? like “This guy reeks of sweat”. Just a little thought 😛

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