Many people wondered after developer Free Radical went bankrupt whether it would have been better served if it had focused more time in getting TimeSplitters 4 out the door. As it turns out, former Free Radical developers Steve Ellis and Karl Hilton say that the company was trying to get a publisher to sign TimeSplitters 4, but marketing pitches and the response to Haze ultimately sunk them.
"TimeSplitters 4 was in the very early stages of development when Free Radical went into administration," said Ellis. "A small playable demo was shown to several publishers, but it didn't attract any publishing deals."
"We pitched [TimeSplitters] to a lot of publishers, and from each of them we got the same two responses,” said Hilton, who is now Crytek U.K.'s managing director. “Firstly, they would ask what happened with Haze. We were the company that made a series of high-rated shooters and then we had released Haze, which wasn't as well received. This worried them.”
"Secondly, their marketing person would say something along the lines of, 'I don't know how to sell this',” he continued. “The unanimous opinion among all publishers that we pitched TimeSplitters 4 to is that you can't market a game that is based around a diverse set of characters and environments - you need a clear and easily communicated marketing message, and TimeSplitters doesn't have one."
"Perhaps they are all right. Perhaps this is why the previous games in the series achieved much more critical success than commercial success. For these reasons, one by one they all declined to sign the project,” he concluded.