Footage of Free Radical’s TimeSplitters cancelled Fortnite clone has emerged online

A little while back, Embracer Group sadly shut down Timesplitter’s studio Free Radical Design in a typical case of Embracer-led restructuring. After the closure, a former Free Radical developer revealed they’d worked on a “clone” of Fortnite before it transitioned to a remake of Timesplitters 2. And now footage has emerged of the cancelled project, which certainly does look like a team shooter reminiscent of Epic’s epic.

The video was posted on LinkedIn by a former Free Radical developer and was, presumably, edited together as a quick status report for Embracer back in July 2023. As part of the post, the developer says: “So, you want to know about the cancelled TimeSplitters game? I’ll be sure to post what I can…. Embracer Group can go hide in a cave somewhere…”

Straight away the Fortnite comparisons are obvious, as TimeSplitters drops the series’ first-person perspective for third-person, in a world where downed enemies shower the ground with orbs of various rarities. You’ve got the weapon slots in the bottom right, the cartoony visuals, and umbrella equivalents in parachutes. Later you can see evidence of an obligatory battle pass, filled with the usual gubbins like hats and skins that cost various currencies.

A quick flick through the modes shows your usual battle royale modes and team deathmatch specials, but one that caught my eye was the smaller one-to-four player “Assault” mode, where a very brief clip shows a team being tasked with “capturing watchtowers” in a PVE setting. You can’t help but feel this mode might’ve been a welcome reprieve in development from a project one of the devs described as something “no-one really wanted”.

While I think a lot of what’s shown is pretty generic fare, I do think there’s a certain TimeSplitters charm to its smaller details. I love the snappy weapon sounds and the quality of the skins on offer, with cool mechs and the signature Splitters monkey all making an appearance. The maps all seem distinct and carefully designed, too, with the pottery’s brickwork capturing my heart immediately.

Over the last few months Embracer have laid off 8% of their workforce since they hoovered up loads of game studios then turned to ‘restructuring’. According to reports, they will sell Saber Interactive and Gearbox soon as they continue shedding the talent they’d snapped up.