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Out of time: the Free Radical story – Part One

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 11:01 GMT By Dave Cook

Born from GoldenEye 64 developer Rare, Free Radical Design’s story is a long and complicated one. VG247′s Dave Cook speaks with co-founder Steve Ellis to set records straight.

Somewhere within the English city of Nottingham, Free Radical co-founder Steve Ellis has corralled 143 employees into a bustling hotel conference room. This isn’t a team-building exercise. Rather, he’s brought them together to tell them that after months of missed deadlines, technical hiccups and frequent disagreements with publishers, they are all now unemployed. 39 lucky employees sat in the next room over, safe from the threat of unemployment. For now.

Recalled Ellis, “The administrators were concerned about doing it at the office because they didn’t want an angry mob looting the place. To their credit though, people mostly weren’t angry. They knew how we had got to where we were. They knew the efforts that everyone had made. They knew that every avenue had been explored.”

It’s December 18th, 2008 and Christmas is just a week away.

Rare Talent

Ashby Computers & Graphics founders Tim and Chris Stamper were known among the gaming elite for their 8-bit label Ultimate Play the Game, and released a string of memorable 8-bit titles such as Jetpac and Sabre Wulf. In 1985 the brothers decided to spin out a new subdivision geared towards creating titles for Nintendo’s NES home console. The studio was given the name Rare.

If you know your gaming history, you’ll know that Rare quickly became a darling of the games industry, and produced a wide range of critically acclaimed and technically accomplished titles. From Donkey Kong Country and its sequels, to the brutal combat of Killer Instinct, Rare’s star burned brightly from day one, but it shone even stronger with the herald of Nintendo 64.

Nintendo’s then-powerhouse console saw Rare deliver what many perceive to be its watershed moments. Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark and Jet Force Gemini may have cemented its place in the public subconscious, but arguably its crowning achievement was GoldenEye 64, a riotous multiplayer shooter that would both propel Rare to the height of gaming stardom and leave it a house divided. It was something of a bitter-sweet victory.

“The GoldenEye team was fairly unique within Rare at that time in that most of us had been to University,” Ellis explained. “We had ambition to do something more than working for a company – even a company like Rare. We wanted to be in control of our destinies and create a working environment that was like Rare but better.

“We also naively believed that we had done all of the work in bringing GoldenEye to market successfully, since we didn’t see anyone else doing anything to help on a day-to-day basis. We later discovered the extent of the behind-the-scenes things that must have been going on to allow us to work in such a sheltered environment, shielded from deadlines, milestone approvals, and externally-enforced changes.

“As it became clear that GoldenEye was enjoying an extraordinary level of success, we realised that it might give us the opportunity that we needed to branch out and raise money to fund our own game. We discussed it through most of 1998, while saving some of our GoldenEye bonuses to help tide us over for a few months without an income, and in late 1998 Dave Doak and I left Rare.”

Although they had no debut project to their name, few publishers would deny Ellis, Doak and the rest of their team a meeting. After all, they were the guys who had achieved 8 million sales of GoldenEye in just over a year since launch. Eidos was the first publisher to offer this new renegade group – operating under the name Free Radical Design – a contract, and on April 1st 1999, Ellis and his team moved into their new office and began conceptualising the studio’s first game Second Sight.

The dawn of time

Second Sight – codenamed internally as ‘Redemption’ – wasn’t Free Radical’s first release, but it was the game that secured the studio’s pairing with Eidos. There was a loose premise in place that involved a game featuring psychic powers, but Ellis and his team decided to try their hand at a multiplayer shooter instead. They wanted a project that would set give them the tools and knowledge needed to get the best out of Sony’s impending PlayStation 2 hardware.

Regarding Second Sight, Ellis explained, “It was ambitious and would take over two years to develop. However we also wanted to prove ourselves as soon as possible, to distance ourselves from the numerous other startups that were constantly starting up and subsequently failing. In summer 1999 we learned that the PS2 would launch in Europe and America at the end of 2000 rather than launching worldwide in March 1999 as had previously been intended.

“This delay was an opportunity. We had an engine running on the PS2, so if we could just change direction a little and make something without a complex narrative, we could conceivably have it ready for the PS2 launch. We had enjoyed multiplayer shooters and had had some success with GoldenEye, so it seemed like a good idea to try making a game that focused on that.

“We threw together a quick prototype and showed it to Eidos. Initially they declined it, preferring that we continued to work on ‘Redemption’, the game that we had signed with them. Undeterred by this, however, we continued to work on it on the side and showed it again to them in November 1999. This time they were convinced and we agreed to make TimeSplitters our first game, aiming for PS2 launch with ‘Redemption’ to follow in 2002.”

The Classic Game Room’s review
of TimeSplitters is rather ace.

Although the PlayStation 2 hardware represented a significant leap over Sony’s predecessor, Free Radical wasn’t intimidated by the challenge of creating TimeSplitters in time for the console’s European launch. Having been familiar with Unix and preferring Linux over Windows, the studio took to what Ellis described as “the Linux-based development environment” of Sony’s rig with ease.

“The architecture was a good match for our abilities,” explained Ellis. “We wrote all of our code specifically for the PS2 and we made the decision to ignore the fact that we might later want it to run on other platforms. We could deal with that if and when the time came. The consequence: with a below-average team size, a below-average amount of time, and having to learn along the way how to build and run a company, we managed to hit PS2 launch with a game that wasn’t embarrassingly bad.”

TimeSplitters launched in 2000 as promised, and Ellis was right: the game wasn’t embarrassingly bad. In fact, it received a positive critical reaction and strong sales that would see it re-launch as a Platinum title in 2002. The game boasted a four-player, split-screen multiplayer mode that recalled the team’s effort on GoldenEye 64, and showed – once again – that first-person shooters can happily exist in the analogue console world.

Looking at where the games industry is now, with its heavy focus on multiplayer games – shooters in particular – and it’s clear that Free Radical retained Rare’s eye for innovation and in second-guessing the market. That Timesplitters and GoldenEye 64 are still seen as two of the key precursors of modern shooters is testament to the studio’s skill. But like Rare before it, Free Radical wasn’t ready to take a break.

“TimeSplitters was an important milestone for us and we were incredibly proud of hitting it,” beamed Ellis. “It meant that we were a ‘real’ company that had actually released a game. We were no longer a startup. However we knew we could do better if we had more time. From the start the scope had been determined by the available time.

“We knew that it wouldn’t be possible to have a complex narrative, so we didn’t get distracted by trying to. We were aiming for a multiplayer sandbox where you had a huge amount of variety and freedom to play in different ways. I think we achieved that, but with a lot of clear areas to take forward in the sequel.”

Wasting no time

Although Free Radical was given life by Eidos on the basis of its Second Sight pitch, the studio still wasn’t ready to shift focus back to its psychic action game. Instead, the team knew it had caught lightning in a bottle with TimeSplitters and it wasn’t prepared to let the sparks fizzle out just yet. Talk of TimeSplitters 2 began shortly after the first game shipped, and it promised to raise the bar for console shooters everywhere.

“After TimeSplitters we were supposed to get back to working on ‘Redemption’”, Ellis recalled. “However it was clear that TimeSplitters needed a sequel. Eidos weren’t comfortable funding our growth to two teams at that time, so we agreed to make TimeSplitters 2 instead and take back ‘Redemption’.

“TimeSplitters 2 had 23 months of development – still not a huge amount of time – but by that time we had a working engine from a released game, so it was enough time to upgrade the tech and add a decent single-player game.

“Again, preferring variety, we chose to go with a series of levels in distinct environments and time periods, with the dam as the first level as a nod to GoldenEye. We spent almost a full year working on that level to get all of the gameplay right and then spent the second year adding all of the rest of the levels.”

The Dam stage was indeed a phenomenal lesson in pacing, design and aesthetic prowess. It recalled the thrills of GoldenEye 64′s opening stage, but arguably surpassed it, as if wrenching away Rare’s torch and passing it to Free Radical by force. From a quiet and tense beginning to an explosive and deafening battle against a Russian gunship, TimeSplitters 2 opened with a warning shot to the world. Free Radical had truly arrived.

The official TimeSplitters 2 trailer
brings back memories. Thanks marksmanr.

TimeSplitters 2′s launch was met with critical acclaim among the gaming press, and runaway sales quickly followed. With a larger focus on campaign narrative, customisable multiplayer modes, riotous deathmatch play and an enhanced level builder, Free Radical had gone above and beyond the original game. It was a booming response to the ‘tricky second album’ problem that causes many entertainment creators to stumble.

On the press and public’s positive reaction to TimeSplitters 2, Ellis explained, “I think that almost all games are influenced in some way by what has gone before, and it’s hard to trace what has inspired what, so I wouldn’t want to take undue credit for inspiring others. However, it’s always nice to hear how much people enjoyed it.

“When you’re making a game it can be hard to see past its flaws. Game development is all about making compromises and you know all of the things that you didn’t get time to do, the things didn’t manage to do as well as you had hoped and the bugs that you’re not going to be able to fix.

“I’ve never reached the end of a project thinking ‘this is amazing’. However I do recall one time towards the end, playing a 16-player game in the office against Eidos QA, thinking that we might have something special.”

With that ‘something special’ behind them, and the Free Radical name now a known force among the games industry, it was time to knuckle down and get Second Sight finished and out into the wild. However, the game had since changed publisher and was now tied to Codemasters, despite garnering the attention of industry juggernaut Activision at concept stage.

“From the start the intention was to have more than one team and preferably more than one publisher,” Ellis recalled. “Being a one-team company sounded incredibly risky, and even the idea of working on two games with one publisher made us nervous. If you only have one source of income, what happens if something goes wrong? We would later find out.”

20/20 Vision

The time had come for Free Radical to take a step back from TimeSplitters and return to its origins with Second Sight. The game starred John Vattic an amnesic who awakes with no memory of his past, but who now bears psychic and telekinetic powers. The game was received well among the gaming press, but didn’t live up to the huge reaction surrounding TimeSplitters 2.

Regardless it shifted around one million copies in its life-span, which pleased publisher Codemasters and thrust the studio further into the publisher spotlight. The game may have fared better at retail under Activision, but we’ll never know.

“Activision had wanted to work with us on ‘Redemption’ from the start,” explained Ellis. “But we eventually signed with Eidos. However we still kept in touch with Activision, and when it looked like Eidos didn’t want to sign the Gamecube version of TimeSplitters 2 – publishers didn’t find it easy to work with Nintendo back then – we started exploring doing it with Activision.

“It almost happened too, but Eidos relented in the end. So instead we agreed to develop ‘Redemption’ for Activision. To distance it from TimeSplitters, and because we had been playing Metal Gear Solid, we decided to change it to third-person, but essentially it was the same game that we had signed to Eidos in 1999.

“Unfortunately, towards the end of 2003 Activision had a change of strategy, fired most of the people we had been working with and pulled out of UK development entirely. They cancelled something like ten games in one day. Since we owned the Second Sight IP we were able to take it to other publishers and eventually signed it – for a third time – with Codemasters.

Second Sight’s trailer held a great deal
of mystery. Thanks AC97RBP.

“It was reasonably well-received, but I think the late change of publishers had resulted in there not being enough awareness of the game by the time it launched. These days we often see it featured in articles with titles like ‘the best games you never played’”.

With all eyes on Free Radical to see what it would do next, life was pretty comfortable at the Nottingham studio. Confidence was high, and while there was no ‘master plan’ set in stone, Ellis and the rest of the team didn’t want to get carried away just yet. While the studio felt assured of TimeSplitter’s quality, the franchise still wasn’t getting the sales it deserved, so EA stepped in to make the the developer an offer for TimeSplitters: Future Perfect.

“TimeSplitters 2 had more critical success than commercial success,” Ellis recalled, “particularly outside the UK. To put it bluntly, it didn’t sell as well as we thought it should have, given its review scores. It sold about 2 million copies, where other lower-rated shooters were selling 3-5 million or more. EA noticed this, and came calling.

“They told us that if we let them publish TimeSplitters 3, they would be able to do better than Eidos had, and so the best way forward was to work with them. They were very convincing, and eventually we signed TimeSplitters 3 with them. It wasn’t an easy relationship.”

Indeed, EA wanted Free Radical to shift the focus of TimeSplitters 3 away from multiplayer and to create a deeper single-player experience. If you’re a fan of the series you’ll know that – while superb – TimeSplitter’s heart beats strongest in multiplayer. To this day Ellis isn’t sure if this shift, or some other force led the game to sell only 1 million units in its lifespan, but it was a dip neither party wanted.

Ellis explained that sales of TimeSplitters 3 wouldn’t have been enough for EA, or any publisher at the time to justify a fourth game. Weak returns was one nail in the TimeSplitters coffin, but at this time – circa 2005 – production costs were spiralling to match Hollywood, and the answer became clear to Ellis and his group of renegades – it would have to raise the money by creating a new IP.

And its name would be Haze.

Stay tuned for part two of my Free Radical feature, in which Ellis and I discuss the untold story behind Haze, TimeSplitters 4, Star Wars: Battlefront III and more.

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22 Comments

  1. LuLshuck

    Timesplitters 2 for me will always be the best game ive ever played, its ashame that EA were the ones that changed timesplitters 3

    #1 2 years ago
  2. friendlydave

    Timesplitters 2 was such a classic for me. Me and a friend used to have the enemy patterns memorised and just blew through levels. So much fun. Time splitters 3 was just as enjoyable. Specially loved the Challenges.

    The Mexican level music will forever be stuck in my head.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. DrDamn

    That first level in TS2 still ranks as one of my favourite FPS levels. I played it through so many times.

    Does this have a happy ending? :)

    #3 2 years ago
  4. CyberMarco

    Not to be that guy, but really, this was the big “BOOM”? Kind of a meh!

    I was expecting some big announcement to blow things out of the water…

    #4 2 years ago
  5. SplatteredHouse

    http://uk.gamespot.com/forums/topic/25392225/should-i-get-psi-ops-second-sight-or-both?msg_id=284419333

    Question du jour, at the time. ^ I’m surprised the article didn’t mention the crunch that happened between these two, that cost Free Radical’s game on the shelves. I did feel like the publisher let down Second Sight at the time as I only learned of it (as it came to be) close to its release, but I was all about Psi Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy. I couldn’t wait to play it. RIP, Midway. (Psi Ops is now available for free* on PC in US/EU, *ad-supported)

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Dave Cook

    @4 part two is a bigger boom. TimeSplitters 4, Star Wars, Haze etc.

    Also, what is boom to one man, might not be boom to you :P

    Lots of on the record insight here that hasn’t been shared so openly before, fans of the studio will appreciate it I’m sure.

    Sorry to disappoint.

    (Also this piece took me some two months to do, proper big effort)

    #6 2 years ago
  7. manamana

    Well its not a HL3 like boom, but still – applause, applause!

    #7 2 years ago
  8. CyberMarco

    @6 Maybe I’m not such a big fan of those games, never had the chance to play them first hand, nevertheless it’s a big effort from your part to deliver this kind of articles to the fans.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Dave Cook

    @7 thank you, I think the term ‘boom’ needs to be redefined and downplayed a touch ;)

    Part two is awesome though, the proper juicy stuff.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Dave Cook

    @6 :) I’d recommend TS2 dude. Awesome fun.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Dragon246

    Tits not completely blown, but still a bit in shreds :P

    #11 2 years ago
  12. manamana

    @9 reading about SWBFIII makes my heart bleed, so please, be careful. ;-)

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Dave Cook

    @11 the tits thing is coming tomorrow man ;)

    #13 2 years ago
  14. SameeR_Fisher

    @6: WOOoooooooooooh, 2 months ?!, quite the hard work Dave, even though I played non of their games –I wasn’t interested in FPS back then, heck I actually hated FPS– I really enjoyed this article, I love to hear about devs and their work, it is a great thing in my opinion.

    Again great work Dave, and I can’t wait for the 2nd part, witch also has games I never played LOL

    #14 2 years ago
  15. absolutezero

    Its already been mentioned but Second Sight really was a little gem that sadly went completely under the radar, it had a far stronger story and set up that Psi Ops BUT it choose to make your character very vulnerable. On the other hand Psi Ops was all about being a rolling ball of death and fun and power.

    Really interested to see what you’ve got on Haze Dave, I actually bought it at launch and just sat with my mouth open at how bad it all was.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Dave Cook

    @14 haha, thanks :)

    Yeah 2 months. Steve was cautious at first but we discussed and played around with the idea of the feature for a while to make sure it gave the proper, un-spun story. We wanted to set the record straight after all the TS4/Star Wars rumours.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. daytripper

    Really good read Dave :-) I had a feeling it was Star Wars related as I said in the tease thread ;-)

    #17 2 years ago
  18. SameeR_Fisher

    @16: great work, I hope to see this becomes a habit of you, always making articles about developers and titles, either cancelled or on hold, I believe you have the support of all VG247 members ;), so best of luck.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. ps4some

    I’ve got a mate who worked for FR on Haze and even he calls it Hazelol

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Dave Cook

    @19 oh dear. Yeah the production sounded tough from the start. It’s the main focus of part two of my article. Steve paints a tense picture of what it was like at the studio during development.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. The_Red

    Wow, really outstanding piece. As a huge fan of TimeSplitters games (Especially part 3 which IMHO is on par with Black & Halo 1 in terms of console FPS quality). Thank you and seriously looking forward to the “Hazy” part 2 :)

    #21 2 years ago
  22. polygem

    boom! i think someone even guessed right. wasn’t me tho;) loved ts2 so much. neo tokyo…great cgr review link too…actually my most trusted review source in the whole wide interwebs. cannot wait for part 2. i sense a real boom? yes? no?

    #22 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

  • Mortal Kombat X: which character will be revealed tomorrow?

    Mortal Kombat X director Ed Boon is teasing a new character reveal. During today’s Mortal Kombat X livestream, NetherRealm said that a new character would be revealed “very soon”. Boon followed up with this teasing tweet suggesting the reveal will occur tomorrow: Very soon? As in tomorrow? :/ — Ed Boon (@noobde) February 26, 2015 […]

  • Halo played by Twitch is an exercise in great patience

    TwitchPlaysHalo is ridiculous. Halo: Combat Evolved is the latest game to be sucked into the “TwitchPlays” phenomenon, and the results are somewhat painful to spectate. If you’re not familiar with the setup, which debuted with TwitchPlaysPokemon, the game accepts commands from the channels’ chat stream. Although it doesn’t have the strategic RPG elements of Pokemon, […]

  • Gold Amiibo sold out, selling at five times RRP on auction sites

    Gold Mario Amiibo are expected to sell for pretty astounding profits on eBay and other auction sites. The Walmart-exclusive Gold Mario Amiibo is already completely sold out. Plenty of people managed to snaffle them to resell, though. There are now dozens of listings on eBay and other auction sites. One of the average asking prices […]

  • Canadian new game prices jump to $75

    Canadian gamers are in for an unpleasant price hike. As spotted by HardcoreGamer, the local Canadian branches of Amazon and EB Games have raised the prices of upcoming games to CAD$75. The CAD$5 increasing comes within a year of prices hitting the CAD$70 point. CAD$75 (£38/€53) currently exchanges for $60, the standard US pricing. The […]

  • New Xenoblade Chronicles X footage shows weather, day-night cycle

    The latest Xenoblade Chronicles X footage shows off a gloriously beautiful world. Xenoblade Chronicles X is Monolith Soft’s first solo Wii U game, and the developer is clearly enjoying being able to build a big open world with all the features we’ve come to expect. Missed the whole Xenoblade thing? Chronicles X is a sort […]

  • Dead Rising: Watchtower teaser talks up the benefits of Zombrex

    Live-action Dead Rising movie Watchtower is almost upon us. Dead Rising: Watchtower will release on Crackle on March 27, and via other digital distributors thereafter. Enjoy the short teaser below, courtesy of IGN.

  • We Happy Few debut hits you upside the face with a frying pan

    Contrast developer Compulsion Games has revealed its next project – the delightfully creepy-looking We Happy Few. We Happy Few is set in “a drug-fuelled, retrofuturistic city in an alternative 1960s England” where “a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial”. Players are tasked with blending in with […]

  • Slender: The Arrival creeping onto PS4, Xbox One in March

    Slender: The Arrival sold like hotcakes on PC and last-gen consoles, so why not terrify yourself on PS4 and Xbox One, too? Slender: The Arrival will release on PS4 on March 24 and on Xbox One on March 25, developer Blue Isle Studios has announced, for $10. No word on that Wii U version, though. […]

  • GOG weekend sale celebrates German debut

    DRM-free games vendor GOG is celebrating its German-language launch with a tasty sale. The sale offers discounts over 25 “German favourites”. Highlights inclue 97% off Deponia, and less steep but still tasty savings on Memoria and Blackguards 1 and 2. The sale will run through March 3, and you do not have to be, speak, […]

  • Humble Weekly Bundle goes back to Japan

    The latest Humble Weekly Bundle is called Made in Japan, and I’m sure you can guess the theme. Pay what you want for Cherry Tree High Complete Pack (PC; Steam or DRM free), Fairy Bloom Freesia (PC; Steam or DRM free) and Influent + Language Pack (Linux, Mac, PC; Steam or DRM free). Pay more […]

  • Capcom “looking into” solutions to Resident Evil: Revelations PC co-op issue

    Resident Evil: Revelations 2 fans should sit tight for a bit, as Capcom is working on some sort of solution to the co-op issue. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 doesn’t have local co-op on PC and fans are pretty mad about that, as it was advertised ahead of release as a key feature. Although Capcom has […]

  • The games industry is disruption, says Assassin’s Creed producer

    Former Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond has characterised the games industry as one long series of upsets. The games industry changes all the time, and that’s one of its best qualities, Raymond said. The ex-Ubisoft leader told Polygon that the reason seh got into games in the first place was because it “is this undefined […]

  • GTA 5 made $31 million in digital revenue in January

    GTA 5 is the highest-grossing title at the moment in terms of digital revenue, and the PSN is absolutely minting it. Digital games industry analyst Superdata has extended its scope to include console games, which means we suddenly have access to a whole bunch of data we’ve only been able to guess at, or extrapolate […]

  • Destiny: Inferno playlists debut next week

    Destiny PvP will shake things up next week with a new way to slaughter your mates in the Crucible. Destiny is already a skilled PvP game, but the new Inferno playlists will turn things up a notch with a focus on “basic gunplay”. The first of these, Inferno Control, kicks off on March 3 and […]

  • First-person camera coming to Guild Wars 2 next month

    ArenNet has announced its adding nonrestrictive first-person view to Guild Wars 2. Here’s what top expect come March 10: First-person Camera: Zooming in all the way will allow players to experience a first-person view. First-person mode is available while standing in place, walking, running, jumping, playing PvP and just about anything else. There aren’t any […]

  • Shadowrun Online signs on with Nordic

    Shadowrun Online has been given a nice little boost thanks to a distribution deal with Nordic Games. Shadowrun Online is a new team tactical RPG from Cliffhanger Productions. Although it’s already available through Steam Early Access, Nordic has agreed to distribute the finished version, which is due on Linux, Mac and PC in the second […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, game world ten times the size of demo

    Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, according to director Hajime Tabata. Speaking with IGN, Tabata said development will kick into high gear once the Episode Duscae demo is released. “It’s about 60% now. People may look at that and say ‘well, you’ve only done five more percent!’ [since 55% in September] but it’s actually a […]

  • Destiny: you don’t need to visit the tower to access your vault

    Destiny players, you asked for it and Bungie has delivered it: you can now swap items in and out of the vault using the companion app. “Destiny needs more vault space” you cry – and yes, this is true. But while we all struggle with the limitations imposed on us by Bungie, we face all […]

  • Mortal Kombat X will contain over 100 Brutalities

    During the Mortal Kombat X stream today, NetherRealm Studios revealed Brutalities are back for the game, and stated there will be over 100 to pull off. You won’t gain any extra experience for being overly cruel with your painful moves, but you will at least get to laugh at some and “cringe” at others, according […]

  • Numenera: Strand is a film based on the game up on Kickstarter

    Numenera, the 2012 Kickstarter success and foundation for Torment: Tides of Numenera, could become a film if the Kickstarter for the movie is successful. With five days left, Monte Cook Games and Swedish film company Valdes/Eriksdotter needs £22,542 to reach its goal. Titled Numenera: Strand, it tells the tale of a drifter who “roams a […]

  • Gran Turismo 6 update adds MINI Clubman Vision, more

    A Mini Cooper has invaded Gran Turismo 6 via a new update. The Mid-Field Raceway track has also been added, and its a new and improved version of the original track from previous Gran Turismos. The new B-Spec Mode feature has also been added which allows the AI driver to race on your behalf. Additional […]

  • Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and some playable titles to PAX East

    Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and Splatoon with it to PAX East next month. The E3 2014 build of the game lets eight players transform into squids in a race for “splattered-paint dominance.” Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will also be playable and featured in stage presentations at the Nintendo booth. Upcoming or newly released Nintendo […]

  • Battlefield Hardline Premium information seems to have slipped out early

    Battlefield Hardline Premium perks have apparently leaked a bit early, according to a post on Reddit. Over on the Hardline subreddit is an image which was take at a GameStop location, noting two week early access to content additional Battlepacks and more. Here’s the rundown: Four expansions Two weeks early access 12 additional Battlepacks Exclusive […]

  • Final Fantasy: Record Keeper arrives in the US this spring

    Final Fantasy: Record Keeper will be released in the US on iOS and Android this spring, DeNA and Square Enix today. The mobile titles allows players to “relive favorite moments” across all Final Fantasy installments and build a team of classic characters from across the entire franchise. If you sign up for email updates, you […]

  • Battlefield Hardline now available for pre-order, pre-download on Xbox One

    Battlefield Hardline is now available for pre-order and pre-download on Xbox One. You can pre-order it now from the Xbox Store and once you have paid for it, you can start your pre-download. Battlefield Hardline releases on March 17, and will be made available to pre-downloaders come 12.01am EDT. Check pricing and availability for your […]

  • Dying Light interactive video allows you switch between day and night

    A new video for Dying Light has been released, which allows you to hit the Z key to change between day and night. Titles Life and Death in the Quarantine Zone, the interactive story video showcases how the game changes between day and night. Daytime and nighttime are shown side-by-side but the z key allows […]

  • Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare out on PS3, PS4; PC delayed

    The Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is now available for PlayStation 3 and PS4. Havoc contains the four multiplayer maps Core, Drift, Sideshow, and Urban along with the AE4 directed energy assault rifle, its custom variant, and the Exo Zombies cooperative mode. You can purchase the DLC separately or pick up the […]

  • Here’s a teaser for Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2

    A teaser video for the second episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is available, so if you’ve yet to play the first episode, you may want to skip this. Resident Evil Revelations 2′s first episode is out now. Thanks, GamesHQMedia.

  • North American eShop update is full of Donkey Kong games

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Titan Attacks, Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong Country and more. eShop on 3DS Ironfall Invasion Titan Attacks! Donkey Kong Land – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 2 – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 3 – Virtual Console Luv Me Buddies Wonderland Around the World […]

  • Venture into the Valley of the Yetis next week in Far Cry 4

    The next batch of Far Cry 4 DLC, Valley of the Yetis, releases in March and Ajay Ghale will be tasked with surviving violent cultists and the mythical Yeti. Apparently the cult is looking for a secret hidden in the valley, and Ajay has discovered their motives. The DLC features co-op with a friend taking […]

  • The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack out for Payday 2, has dino masks

    The 19th DLC pack for Payday 2 title The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack is available on Steam from today. The pack will run you $4.99/€4.99 and features: 11 new weapon modifications for the AK rifles in the game 11 new weapon modifications for the CAR rifles in the game Four new masks together with their […]

  • Battle Chasers slated for PC, consoles; comic picks up where 2001 storyline left off

    Darksiders creator Joe Madureira and Vigil co-founder Ryan Stefanelli have confirmed a Battle Chasers game and a new comic are in the works at their new studio Airship Syndicate. Speaking to Polygon, Madureira and Stefanelli wouldn’t provide details on the the game, but did divulge it will be an adventure RPG with player-controlled Battle Chasers […]

  • Shovel Knight, Hotline Miami 2 discounted for Sony’s annual Spring Fever Sale

    Sony is hosting its annual Spring Fever Sale which runs for eight weeks and features a new title each week. The sale starts next week on March 3 with the launch of Helldivers. Here’s just a few items included in the sale: HELLDIVERS (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March 3 Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March […]

  • The gold Super Mario amiibo is a Walmart exclusive

    The Super Mario Gold amiibo which surfaced via a CPSIA certificate earlier this month will be a Walmart-exclusive, Nintendo has announced. The gold-colored Mario amiibo will be released the same day as the Mario Party 10 game for Wii U and will run you $12,96 at 3,000 participating Walmart stores in the US. Along with […]

  • Here’s an overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

    As new gameplay overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, culled from the Active Time Report, stream has been sent over by Square Enix. The video provides a look at the history and environments of the Kingdom of Orience; the 14 memebers of Class Zero; the battle system with customizable magic spells; and the ability […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video gives you a look at the game’s wildlife

    A new video shown by Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata during the latest Active Time Report, contains a look at the game’s wildlife and ecology. You can watch the full stream two hour stream through here, or a smaller clip courtesy of GamesHQMedia below.

  • Lionhead ventures into the free-to-play space with Fable Legends

    Fable Legends will be free-to-play when it launches on PC and Xbox One. According to Lionhead, the one versus four cross-platform title borrows from MOBA games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends as it will contain free, rotating heroes which will be added to a roster for a two week period. Once the […]

  • Win! 5 pairs of tickets to the Call of Duty European Championships

    We have five pairs of tickets to giveaway for the Call of Duty European Championships, taking place in London this weekend. The event takes place this Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Winners can watch teams will go head to head for a $10,000 prize pot […]

  • Republique Remastered has released on Mac and PC

    Republique Remastered, which was announced earlier this month, is now available for Mac and PC. The game is 20% off through Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for $19.99 until March 4. Thereafter, it will run you $24.99. The Remastered edition contains all five episodes of the game, with 1-3 available now and the remaining […]

  • LA Cops coming to Xbox One in March

    Isometric shooter LA Cops is coming to Xbox One on March 13. Already on Steam Early Access, the game looks like it’s been heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. Walk into a room, open fire, leave bloody puddles in your wake. It’s being published by Team 17. Check out the video below for some 70s cop […]

  • We have $500 of Steam Wallet funds to giveaway!

    We’re giving away 10 Steam Wallet prizes worth $50 each to VG247 readers, courtesy of Bundle Stars. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning $50 Steam credit is to enter your details below. Join the Bundle Stars Steam group for entry in the sweepstake, and gain extra entries for […]

  • Lapsed Final Fantasy 14 players tempted back with 10 day freebie

    Square is offering lapsed FF 14: A Realm Reborn players a chance to come back to the game for 10 days worth of free adventuring. Provided you’ve already bought and registered an account you’ll be able to play free of charge from Feb 27 to March 9. Square wants you to sample the new content […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Sledgehammer looking at “opportunities” to recreate classic Call of Duty maps

    Sledgehammer Games has told VG247 it’s looking at opportunities to recreate classic Call of Duty maps in Advanced Warfare. According to co-founder Michael Condrey, players of the latest Havoc DLC are asking how Exo abilities and verticality can be added to classic franchise maps. “We’re taking a look at some opportunities to really highlight the […]

  • GTA Online reader playlist week 7: and the winner is…

    Stuff was shot. But only one player emerged victorious. GTA Online player e031271 won last night’s VG247 reader playlist, beating myself, Matt and regulars solidorwot and Revolting. Congratulations, Mr e031271. A deserved victory. We play a GTA Online playlist in an open session every Wednesday on PS4, because it’s both funny and fun. Anyone’s welcome […]

  • Leaked screens reveal The Reef as Destiny’s new “social space”

    A handful of leaked Destiny screens seem to confirm that The Reef location will be the new social space in Destiny. The new addition is likely to be revealed as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion. Reddit user Megamanexe4 dropped the screens on the site earlier this morning, along with grabs that reveal […]

  • Darksiders creator teases Battle Chasers game

    Joe Madureira, creator of Darksiders, has released art that strongly suggests a Battle Chasers game is in the works. Battle Chasers was a comic book from the late 1990s that suffered notorious production problems between issues and was never finished. Madureira formed Airship Syndicate after the collapse of THQ, where he co-created Darksiders. His latest […]

  • Infamous video nasty Axe recreated in GTA 5

    The trailer for notorious horror movie Axe has been recreated in GTA 5. The shot for shot remake is the work of gigerbrick who has previously recreated exploitation flicks like Machete and Hostel using Lego. The original Axe movie was banned in 1984 in the UK but passed with cuts in the late 1990s. Movie […]

  • Payday 2 for PS4 and Xbox One includes “a year’s worth of paid DLC” for free

    Payday 2: Crimewave Edition will include a year’s worth of paid DLC from the PC version of the game for free. The new-gen version of the game will be available June 2015, and includes almost all of the paid and free DLC released so far for Overkill’s popular first-person shooter. That DLC includes The Big […]

  • Yes, Mortal Kombat X will require Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus

    Mortal Kombat X won’t bypass Microsoft and Sony’s premium online play requirements. Reports that Mortal Kombat X wouldn’t require PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold started circling earlier this week thanks to a communications error. Answering fan questions on Twitter, producer Shaun Himmerick accidentally gave the impression that premium console subs would not be required […]

  • This is what Destiny players most want next

    Destiny patch 1.1.1 has resolved or at least addressed a number of complaints voiced by the community, but there are plenty more. des Destiny community manage David “Deej” Dague has put out a call for Guardians to share their concerns – or rather, what they think the community is most concerned about. “Set aside your […]

  • Google AI can play games now, so we’re probably all going to die

    Google has brought us one step closer to our inevitable slaughter or enslavement by machine overlords. Google has developed an AI that can learn to play video games and devise brand new strategies. Let me just rephrase that: Google has created an AI that can teach itself new skills, including how to play video games. […]

  • First footage of Renowned Explorers: International Society surfaces

    Renowned Explorers: International Society is a turn-based strategy game from the team behind Reus, and it looks great. Renowned Explorers was announced almost a full year ago, but has been pretty quiet since then. Developer Abbey games has now announced that the game has hit alpha, and will be open to select testers soon. You […]

  • Cities: Skylines developer commits to mod support

    Cities: Skylines will fully support the modding community. Hailing from famously mod-friendly publisher Paradox, Cities: Skylines is a no-brainer for mod support – especially as a lack of mod support is one of the things SimCity was so heavily criticised for when it firts launched. In the developer diary below, Paradox’s Jakob Munthe is joined […]

  • Nosgoth update adds Vanguard, many fixes

    Nosgoth, the free-to-play multiplayer brawler set in the Legacy of Kain universe, has been given a significant makeover. The major feature of the latest Nosogth game update is a new playable human character called the Vanguard. “Equipped with mighty throwing axes and a shield, the Vanguard can take more punishment than any human class that […]

  • Xbox Live Gold 12 month sub $40 on Microsoft store

    Microsoft is offering $20 off 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions at the moment. An Xbox Live Gold 12 month subscription will normally set you back $60, but a Microsoft Store promotion has it on offer for $40. The offer is restricted to the US store. Although you can opt to grab your sub as […]

  • Tomb Raider movie script to be penned by TMNT writer

    Tomb Raider will be Evan Daugherty’s second reboot of an established universe. The Tomb Raider movie reboot has signed on a writer and a distributor. Deadline reports Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Snow White And The Huntsman and G.I. Joe 3 writer Daugherty will write the film. Additionally, Warner Bros. has signed on to distribute, […]

  • Shelter 2 pre-orders open, launch trailer debuts early

    Shelter 2 is a game in which you are a mother lynx and must protect a den of kittens. Yes, it’s delightful. Shelter 2 is coming to Mac and PC on March 9. Pre-orders are now available on Steam at 10% off or on GOG.com with a free skin and soundtrack, or 20% off if […]

  • That Batman: Arkham Knight trailer is full of codes

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s trailer is like a Transformer – there’s more than meets the eye. The new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer contains a number of codes. Eagle-eyed users have spotted four so far, and work on cracking their meaning is progressing. According to an /r/games thread rounding up results so far, the codes pertain to […]

  • Assassin’s Creed haystacks won’t save you from a fall

    Assassin’s Creed fans, don’t try this at home. Assassin’s Creed characters can survive falls of almost any distance as long as they aim for the haystacks scattered handily throughout the environment. As you probably deduced from your familiarity with common sense, this isn’t a real thing: falling from heights kills you, the same way a […]

  • Why are people buying PS4 and not Xbox One?

    PS4 is outselling Xbox One – but why? A new report may have the answer. Last month, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the US again, returning it to the top of the charts after just two months away. Why? What has caused this reversal in fortunes in Microsoft’s home territory? According to a […]