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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.

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  • Bloodborne: if you can’t load your save after installing firmware 2.50, this will help

    If you’re having issues loading your Bloodborne save after applying firmware update 2.50 to your PS4, this should help you out. Reddit user KBALLZZ encountered an issue after installing update 2.50 on his PlayStation 4. Bloodborne started reinstalling the day one patch again and when it was done he couldn’t continue his game or load […]

  • Use this code to get 10% off on PSN purchases

    Sony is offering a 10% discount coupon to anyone looking to buy games on PlayStation Store this weekend. Sony’s latest discount coupon code is here. You’ll receive 10% off your cart total when buying from the PSN Store. The offer is not valid on purchases made on PS Vita, PlayStation TV, PSP, or in-game stores. […]

  • Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin upgrade path announced, system specs revealed

    Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin will offer returning customers a chance to upgrade at a discounted price. Those who already own Dark Souls 2 on Steam and are interested in picking up the Scholar of the First Sin edition will be happy to know that publisher Bandai Namco is offering them an […]

  • Bloodborne: this is what happens when you have 40 Insight

    Insight is one of the currencies in Bloodborne, but it’s also a mechanic that affects the gameplay. There are MASSIVE SPOILERS below, so turn back now or one of Bloodborne’s gameplay mechanics will be SPOILED for you. Just like Blood Echoes in Bloodborne, Insight is used to purchase certain items from vendors in the game. […]

  • Phase two of Xbox One April update brings voice messages, dedicated servers for party chat, more

    The second phase of the April update for Xbox One is now open to members of the Preview programme and and it looks like there are even more features in store. Phase one of Xbox One’s April firmware update started a few days ago with improvements to party chat and achievements notifications. Today, phase two […]

  • GTA 5′s graphical “downgrade” is a bug, will be fixed in upcoming patch

    As of patch 1.8 for GTA 5 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, a few graphical issues have cropped up leading some to believe there has been a stealth downgrade to the game’s overall graphics. Over the past couple of days, Reddit went nuts over a video showing what appears to be a downgrade to […]

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory for March 27, 28 – MIDA Multi-Tool edition

    Xur: Agent of the Nine has arrived at The Tower in Destiny to rid you of your Strange Coins. Xur: Agent of the Nine has once again made it to Destiny’s Tower to sell you Exotic weapons and gear in exchange for Strange Coins and Motes of Light. For this weekend, Xur can be found […]

  • Destiny vault space upgrade will have enough room for every Exotic

    Destiny is finally getting the vault space upgrade players have been begging for almost since launch week. Destiny players can currently use vault space to store 20 pieces of amour, 20 weapons and 20 general item stacks. In the latest Bungle Weekly Update, the developer revealed that as of patch 1.1.2, due before House of […]

  • Half-Life 2: Update mod applies some sparkle to the original title

    Half-Life 2: Update will be available tomorrow, and thanks to the modding community, those who own the vanilla version of the game can apply a visual update to the 2004 title. The comparison video shows you the differences between the original version, and the version with Half-Life 2: Update applied. Here’s what the mod includes: […]

  • Neverwinter MMO can now be pre-downloaded on Xbox One

    You can now pre-download the free-to-play Neverwinter MMO on Xbox One. The game launches on March 31, but you will still need an Xbox Live Gold account to play it. Based on the Dungeons & Dragons franchise, the game can be downloaded from the Xbox Store.

  • Destiny of Spirits will go offline starting next month

    Sony will be ending service for Destiny of Spirits starting next month, Sony has announced. The free-to-play Destiny of Spirits was released in late March 2014 on Vita, and tasked players with collecting supernatural forces appropriate to their geographical location, and then trading them with others online. Gravity Rush spirits were added to the game […]

  • MotoGP 15 is out this spring on PC, last and current-gen consoles

    MotoGP 15 will be released in June on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Milestone has announced. Bike, rider and team customization are part of the latest release in the franchise, along with time-trials and enhanced career options. The game features over 20 bike models divided into three classes: MotoGP, Moto 2 […]

  • Cities: Skylines players should check out Nakatomi Plaza and Wayne Enterprises

    Nakatomi Plaza and Wayne Enterprises can now be yours in Cities: Skylines. Die Hard fans will be familiar with Nakatomi Plaza. Those who have never watched the first film and live in Los Angeles know it by its real-life name, FOX Plaza. It was created by Enos Shenk and is available through Steamworks. Those who […]

  • Call of Duty franchise has sold 175M copies, players have thrown 300B grenades

    With the Call of Duty Championship kicking off tomorrow, Activision has sent over a series infographic full of interesting figures such as the number of copies sold over 10 years and how many grenades players have tossed. According to the stats below, the Call of Duty franchise has sold 175 million copies across all platforms […]

  • Save up to 75% on select SEGA games on Steam this weekend

    SEGA has put many of its games on sale through Steam this weekend and the firm has also announced Eastside Hockey Manager is now available through Early Access. The sale runs through March 30. The entire Total War, Company of Heroes and Dawn of War back catalogs are discounted 75% and all associated DLC is […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight PC confirmed as digital download-only in UK

    Batman: Arkham Knight will indeed be a download-only title on PC in the UK, Warner Bros. has confirmed to VG247. Batman: Arkham Knight will be available as both a physical and digital release for PS4, Xbox One and PC in North America and Europe. Again, in the UK, the PC version will be “available as […]

  • Rainbow Six Siege release date set for October per GameStop Italy – report

    GameStop Italy may have let the release date for Rainbow Six Siege slip if a recent listing is accurate. According to the listing, the game will release on October 16. While this could be a placeholder date, October 16 is a Friday in the UK, the usual day new releases land at retail. The release […]

  • Watch the $1 million Call of Duty Championship right here

    The The Call of Duty Championship takes place this weekend, and you can watch all the action as it unfolds right here. The event takes place in Los Angeles tomorrow March 27 and runs through March 29, and the livestreams are below. 32 teams from five continents and 11 countries will be competing in Call […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: Battlefest kicks off this weekend with Double XP

    A new season of Battlefest kicks off this weekend, and starting today, you will earn Double XP in Battlefield Hardline. Battlefest for Hardline is similar to the event held for Battlefield 4 last year. For the entire month of April and into May, in-game events and competitions will be held by the developers and player […]

  • Don’t forget: the GTA 5 PC pre-order bonus cutoff is March 31

    Just a friendly reminder to those planning on purchasing GTA 5 for PC: you have until March 31 to pre-order if you want all the bonuses on offer. Those who pre-order will be handed $1 million in-game cash plus a bonus $300,000. It is split between GTA 5 and GTA Online: $500,000 for Grand Theft […]

  • Games with Gold offers doubled for April – six games instead of three

    Microsoft’s April Games with Gold collection is being doubled. For the month Xbox Live Gold members will receive six instead of three games free. Here’s what’s on offer: Pool Nation FX: Available all month on Xbox One Child of Light: Available all month on Xbox One Gears of War: Judgment: Available from April 1-15 on […]

  • Pokemon players can grab a code for Shiny Charizard at GAME in April

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire players along with Pokemon X and Y owners can grab a free, rare Shiny Charizard from April 3 at one of GAME’s 320 stores in the UK. The redeemable codes for the character will be made available upon request and no purchase is necessary. Those who pop into one […]

  • F1 2015 will arrive on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in June, includes Mexico circuit

    Codemasters has announced its F1 franchise will make its series debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this June with the release of F1 2015. The game was developed using a new engine and contains improved handling and physics for all vehicles and parts attached. This includes: engine, transmission, aerodynamics, fuel tank, force feedback, suspension […]

  • Mortal Kombat X video confirms Liu Kang as playable character

    Liu Kang has been confirmed as a playable character in Mortal Kombat X in the latest video. You’ll also notice Bo’ Rai Cho in there as well. In the Shaolin trailer above you also get a look at Kung Lao and Kung Jin who is new to the series. Apparently, Raiden’s past champions of the […]

  • Short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront shows the Battle of Hoth

    A short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront has been posted by EA on Twitter. Well, that speeder isn't going anywhere. Can someone give us a lift to @SW_Celebration http://t.co/srEVrAA0zl #SWCA https://t.co/4W4LG8myke — EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) March 25, 2015 The teaser shows vehicles which we could be using in the game, but it mainly shows the snowy landscape […]

  • Pillars of Eternity releases today – get all the review scores here

    Pillars of Eternity, which still stands as the second most-funded video game on Kickstarter, finally releases today. It’s also getting some rather positive reviews scores, which we’ve rounded up for you. The isometric, party-based RPG from Obsidian Entertainment was one of the first video game projects to take to Kickstarter, and hit its $1.1 million […]

  • Take an in-depth look at Evolve’s Behemoth monster and four new hunters

    Evolve’s fourth monster, the Behemoth, as well as the four new hunters are shown off in new gameplay video. Evolve’s latest gameplay trailer gives everyone a good look at each of the four new hunters and the massive Behemoth monster. The hunters can be bought either separately or though the hunting pass, while the monster […]

  • PS4 firmware update 2.50 causing issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall

    The suspend/resume feature in PlayStation 4′s 2.50 firmware update is causing some issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall. Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla has said that the game is experiencing some issues in some instance where the suspend/resume feature is used. The timing of when players put the game in suspend mode does have an effect, […]

  • Bungie on Destiny matchmaking: “We believe there’s no substitute for a pre-made team”

    Crazy though this may seem, it’s possible that Destiny shipped according to plan. History points to community as a crucial component, far from the contingency that many now suspect. Paul Davies spoke to Bungie for clarity. “The community always engineers the best solutions for bringing players together. While Matchmaking is a great resource for introducing […]

  • Bloodborne works with suspend/resume, but only offline

    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]

  • EA explains why FIFA Ultimate Team transfer prices are now platform specific

    EA has posted a blog entry explaining its FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market price ranges which now include platform-specific pricing in order to best the coin sellers. EA said it has implemented the changes to FUT over the last several weeks because it should be “fair and fun for every player,” ultimately coming to the […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness now available

    In case you forgot, Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness was released today. It is available on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The third episode releases on iOS devices and Android tomorrow, March 26. The Sword in the Darkness finds Asher Forrester heading to Mereen […]

  • Bloodborne players are already documenting their crazy antics

    Bloodborne has been available for almost two days now in North America, and already players are posting interesting clips and character customization choices for the game. Below are interesting takes on creating a character and videos of a frustrating death and another full of blood coming from a very painful place – monster or not. […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]

  • Kojima Station show suspended

    In another episode in the the ongoing kerfuffle between Hideo Kojima and Konami, the publisher has suspended the Kojima Station web show. Recent tweets from the newly created Japanese Metal Gear Solid account confirm that Kojima Station will not be broadcast tomorrow, but would not provide a date for the next episode. The Tweets were […]

  • Watch Battle Royale for free this weekend on Xbox Live

    Square Enix is celebrating the launch of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD by offering Xbox Live members in the UK a free rental of Battle Royale. Starting Saturday, March 28 and through Sunday, March 29, Xbox Live members in the UK will be able to rent Battle Royale through the Xbox Video Store, for free. The […]

  • Bloodborne journal, part 1: managing anxiety on the path to the Cleric Beast

    Bloodborne is both like and unlike the Souls games. Brenna descends into Yharnam with reluctance and trepidation. Need help succeeding in Bloodborne? You need our Bloodborne walkthrough and boss guide. Bloodborne isn’t Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls. Let’s get that out of the way right off. I enjoyed both Dark Souls games, but it was […]