Free Radical Design Shuts Down Amid Industry Turmoil

UK-based game studio Free Radical Design has seemingly ceased operations, raising concerns among fans and the gaming community. The closure was indicated by the disappearance of the studio’s website and farewell messages from employees on social media.

Last month, VGC reported that Free Radical was facing a potential shutdown just two years after its establishment. The threat loomed large as Embracer, the parent company, and its subsidiaries underwent extensive company-wide restructuring, resulting in substantial cuts.

According to VGC’s sources, Plaion, an Embracer division overseeing Free Radical, acknowledged the possibility of the studio’s closure in a company email. The speculated closure date was December 11, following the completion of a consultation process with employees.

Confirmation of the closure emerged when Free Radical Design replaced its website with a simple yet poignant message: “404 Company Not Found :-(”.

The grim reality was further underscored by multiple developers taking to LinkedIn to express their farewells. A former IT manager lamented, 

It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with everyone here. There are some supremely talented people that are now in need of work.”

Senior artists echoed the sentiment, with one stating, 

It sees myself and just over 80 people out of work at the worst time of year for it to happen.”

A QA designer reflected on the state of the industry, saying, 

Free Radical Design was a hub of creativity, but sadly, we join an ever-growing list of casualties in a broken industry where entire studios are treated as replaceable cogs in a soulless machine fixated on nothing but share prices.”

Embracer has been undergoing a restructuring plan for the past six months, resulting in the closure of some game studios and the cancellation of certain projects. The company confirmed the termination of over 900 employees in its second quarter, which concluded in September.

In compliance with UK employment law, Plaion had to consult Free Radical employees for a minimum of 30 days before implementing any redundancies. Despite these challenges, some UK studios, such as Splash Damage, have stepped up by offering guaranteed interviews for former Free Radical Design employees.

The closure of Free Radical Design has raised questions about the future of the TimeSplitters series, for which the new Free Radical was re-established in May 2021. The original Free Radical Design, formed in 1999, developed the TimeSplitters series and Second Sight but faced financial difficulties in 2008, leading to bankruptcy.

As the gaming industry witnesses the fallout from studio closures and workforce layoffs, the fate of beloved franchises like TimeSplitters hangs in the balance, leaving fans and industry observers anxiously awaiting further developments. What are your thoughts about this news let us know in the comments section below.


Abdullah Amin

Abdullah is passionate about staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the gaming industry. With a strong background in writing and research, he is able to provide in-depth analysis and informative articles for a wide range of gaming audiences.