TimeSplitters studio Free Radical could be closed before Christmas, megacorp owner Embracer has reportedly told staff, as dozens of staff at the UK studio are said to be looking for new roles.
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Free Radical Design was rumoured to be at risk as part of Embracer’s latest wave of restructuring efforts earlier this month, following hundreds of job losses across the conglomerate’s many video game teams and the shuttering of veteran Saints Row makers Volition over the summer.
While Embracer is yet to confirm or comment on the fate of the studio publicly, the VP of Embracer arm Plaion – under which Free Radical falls – has reportedly told staff in private that the studio could be closed on December 11th, just two weeks before Christmas.
“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,” Lars Jannsen is said to have told employees via email, as first reported by Video Games Chronicle. “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.”
While are staff are currently in the middle of a 30-day consultation process – as dictated by UK employment law – to determine whether layoffs will take place, VGC spotted that over half of the 100 employees listed on LinkedIn have already announced they are looking for work.
If the report is accurate, Free Radical could escape closure if purchased before December 11th, though the signs are looking increasingly grim for the Nottingham studio resurrected from the ashes of the original TimeSplitters maker – which went bankrupt in 2008 following PlayStation 3 flop Haze – by its original founders less than three years ago.
Free Radical joins the long list of studios decimated by Embracer’s sweeping restructure and layoffs, which just yesterday saw Chorus and Galaxy on Fire developers Fishlabs announce that more than half their team had been laid off.
Despite more than 900 employees – though that number may well be over 1,000 by now – having already lost their jobs at Embracer-owned studios alone during a devastating year for the games industry, the sprawling organisation said this week that their restructuring was still in its “early stages”, with “more cancellations, potentially some more closures” likely in the future. Short of a miracle, expect Free Radical to be among that number soon enough.