In 1997 and 2000, two first-person shooter games were launched to much critical acclaim. These were Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark, both developed by Rare, the Leicestershire-based games company that were also responsible for classic games such as Donkey Kong Country and Banjo-Kazooie before they were purchased by Microsoft in 2002.
In 1999, Free Radical Design, with former Rare employees at its core, came into existence and began to work on a launch game for the Playstation 2 system. Sticking with what they knew best, the company’s employees elected to develop an FPS in the vein of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, albeit one with a comic-influenced graphical style and a story orientated around time travel. This game was Timesplitters.
The game was a success, and was followed by two sequels in 2002 and 2005 respectively, which allowed Xbox and GameCube owners to experience the series for the first time. Each one built strongly upon its predecessors, adding a plethora of new features, and to this day, the three games are ranked as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd best FPSs of the Playstation 2 era on gamesrankings.com.
Despite the announcement and initial development of a fourth game for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 soon after the release of Timesplitters: Future Perfect in 2005, such a thing has yet to materialise, with Free Radical having been taken over by Crytek UK in the meantime, following the failure of another of their games, Haze.
Crytek have given mixed signals about their intent to continue the franchise, with conflicting rumours across the web suggesting that they are either interested in making a new game or are reluctant to do so in a market that is currently dominated by the Call of Duty series.
There are many reasons why a new Timesplitters game could succeed, giving players an interesting and enjoyable alternative to Call of Duty, a series that has (in my opinion, at least) become stale and formulaic in recent years. This article seeks to highlight such reasons, looking at what made Timesplitters stand out from the crowd all those years ago, and why it could do the same again.
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