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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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  • 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 […]

  • PS Store Easter sale discounts MGS: Ground Zeroes, Far Cry 4, more

    The Easter Sale is live on the EU PS Store, with Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes for less than £10, FIFA 15 Deluxe Edition for £30 and other savings. Some of the PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita discounts are valid through April 8, other through April 15. PlayStation Plus members can also take an […]

  • Bloodborne video: how to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam

    Here’s a video for Bloodborne players showing a quick way to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam. It also provides a look at things you may have missed in Central Yharnam and The Sewers, courtesy of VaatiVidya. Don’t forget, we have guides posted for the game with more updates coming soon. Bloodborne released in […]

  • Bloodborne issue prevents summons at Vicar Amelia fight

    A Bloodborne bug has prevented players calling on help to take on one of the nasty early bosses. Bloodborne bosses are significantly easier to take down in co-op. Unfortunately, at least one of them is proving difficult to find help for – and not just because not many players have obtained the Small Resonant Bell […]

  • Mass Effect 3 on sale on EU PSN, but not free

    Mass Effect 3 is discounted on the European PSN, but it’s not free. Update 2: The option to add to cart now lets you choose between the free trial or full version. The full version is on sale for £6.49 or £5.84 for PlayStation Plus members. The free trial is of course is still available, […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Race to Elite winners announced, one player makes £10,000

    The winners of Elite: Dangerous’ Race To Elite competition have been announced, with one player receiving the grand prize of £10,000. Back when Elite: Dangerous launched, developer Frontier announced a competition that would award players to first reach Elite rank in trading, exploration, or combat, a prize of £1,000 each. The grand prize – £10,000 […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: How to make the most money with Special Bonuses and Elite Challenges

    You’re not hitting heists for the good of your health. Here’s how to max cash rewards. Money. GTA Online players love it. Greenbacks are the core of the entire experience, allowing you to buy the best weapons, vehicles and stupid haircuts. Heists, as promised, gives more opportunities than ever to earn serious cash, but once […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 coming tomorrow

    PlayStation 4 firmware 2.50, codenamed Yukimura, is due for release tomorrow, March 26. Firmware update 2.50 for PlayStation 4 will be launching tomorrow, March 26, Sony has announced. Codenamed Yukimura, the system update is promised to bring suspend/resume feature, trophy sync improvements, accessibility options, and much more. 2.50 has been in beta testing a while […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges and more

    Heists aren’t the only addition in GTA Online’s latest DLC – there’s a lot of content that can earn you big RP and cash payouts. GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges While heists are the talking point and big payoff after more than a year of waiting, there’s a […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: what’s the best Police sniper rifle?

    What’s the best bolt-action, Police sniper rifle for the Professional class in Battlefield Hardline? Let us help you answer that question. As you’re probably aware, Battlefield Hardline weapons are class specific and faction specific. This makes deciding on a good weapon and loadout much harder than it was in Battlefield 4. Which is where Westie […]

  • Evolve 1.3 patch nerfs Wraith, adjusts Kraken

    Evolve is receiving a new patch that aims to put an end to the Wraith’s dominance. Evolve developer Turtle Rock outlined a few of the changes coming in patch 1.3. The patch brings balance changes to the monsters – mainly the Wraith – as well as other various changes to Hunters’ tools based on player […]

  • Bloodborne: watch the opening 40 minutes

    The opening minutes of Bloodborne really do set the stage for what’s to come. They’ll also help you decide if this game is for you. Arekkz Gaming has captured the first 40 minutes of Bloodborne. Complete with the opening cutscene, and the first few obstacles you’ll face. The video is commentary free, so wear headphones […]

  • YouTube will relaunch livestreaming service with focus on eSports and gaming – report

    According to industry sources, Google is preparing to relaunch YouTube’s livestreaming service with a focus on eSports and gaming. According to anonymous sources speaking to TheDailyDot, Google is planning to bring back YouTube’s livestreaming service. The company is said to have started recruiting around 50 engineers with experience in the field, “a pretty big statement […]

  • I think I’m too old for Final Fantasy 15

    Final Fantasy 15 was nine years in the making – and counting. Are we the same people we were in 2006? Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae A demo available for PS4 and Xbox One. Offers a couple of hours of gameplay. More if you jump over the borders. Bundled with Final Fantasy 15 Type-0 and […]

  • New multiplayer mode for Splatoon announced

    Nintendo has sent over three screenshots for Splatoon along with information on the Wii U another of the title’s multiplayer modes. Called Ranked Battle, it keeps track of each player’s online ranking. Splat Zones is one of the additional ways to play online in this mode. It differs from Turf War, which is the main […]

  • 2015 WoW Arena World Championship has a $250,000 prize pool

    Blizzard has announced the WoW Arena World Championship will culminate at BlizzCon 2015. World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena teams from around the globe will compete for spot at the 2015 WoW Arena World Championship and for a share in the $250,000 prize pool. Online qualifiers will be held for North America, Southeast Asia, Australia, New […]

  • The Crew two-hour demo now available in US, tomorrow in the UK

    Ubisoft has announced a free trial of its driving MMO The Crew will be available tomorrow, March 25 in the UK. It’s live today in North America. For current players, the Vintage Car Pack and Vintage Live Update, including a new PvP mode, are now available. The Vintage Car Pack included the Chevrolet Corvette C2 […]

  • Minecraft Mass Effect Mash-Up and Pattern Texture Pack out from today

    A Mass Effect Mash-up pack and the Pattern Texture Pack will release on PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita today in North America and tomorrow in Europe. The Pattern Texture Pack is also available for Xbox consoles today. The Mass Effect Mash-Up pack contains the Mars Facility from Mass Effect 3 plus textures and craftable items […]

  • The Talos Principle expansion pack Road to Gehenna announced

    An expansion for The Talos Principle has been announced titled Road to Gehenna. The expansion follows the narrative of Uriel, Elohim’s messenger, as he explores a “strange, hidden part of the simulation” on a mission of “mercy and redemption.” Uriel is attempting to free the souls of the damned “at all costs.” Road to Gehenna […]

  • Twitch Plays Pokemon finally catches ‘em all – even the rare Mewtwo

    Twitch Plays Pokemon players have captured all 151 original Pokemon which were included in a modified version of Pokemon Red, and this includes the rare Mewtwo. It took 39 days for Twitch players to catch ‘em all. Have a look at the impressive feat for yourself below. Thanks, Polygon.

  • GameStop will have limited units of Majora’s Mask New 3DS XL back in stock

    Those who missed out on the Limited Edition Majora’s Mask New 3DS XL will have another opportunity to purchase it outside of eBay. Tomorrow only, GameStop stores in the United States will have four units in stock, according to and internal memo sent to Kotaku. This is every store in the country, and again, only […]

  • Second phase of Fortnite closed Alpha launches today

    Fortnite’s second closed Alpha test will go live this afternoon, according to the official website. Those currently participating will have until April 14 to test the online aspects for 12 hours per day (noon -12am EDT). All progress from the previous Alpha test will be wiped, and other changes are listed in the patch notes. […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition: Jaws of Hakkon out now on PC, Xbox One

    As promised yesterday, the single-player DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition, Jaws of Hakkon, is now available on PC and Xbox One. It will run you or £11.99 or your regional equivalent. The new content expands the land of Thedas with mountainous regions and forests, and it is full of “vicious enemies.” Players will also be […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare trailer shows Ascendance gameplay

    Activision has released a new gamepay trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare to support the Ascendance DLC which releases next week. Ascendance, will release first on Xbox consoles March 31 and includes the next chapter of the Exo Zombies Saga, Infected, along with four new multiplayer maps: Perplex, Site 244, Climate and Chop Shop. […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight will be a digital only release on PC – report

    It appears Batman: Arkham Knight will not see a physical release on PC, according to ShopTo. The retailer was told by its buyer the Rocksteady game will only be released on PC in digital form. ShopTo is currently double checking the information. If accurate, it is unknown if this will be case in North America […]

  • Bloodborne patch focusing on load times, performance optimizations in the works

    A patch for Bloodborne which will address load times is in the works, Sony has said The load times were one of the issues noted in Digital Foundry’s report on the From Software title. Sony told Eurogamer the patch would also explore other issues as well. “The development team is currently exploring another patch for […]

  • Gearbox would “love” to have entire Borderlands collection on current-gen

    An Xbox One and PlayStation 4 version of the original Borderlands game is something Gearbox Software is interested in, according to studio boss Randy Pitchford. Speaking in the latest Major Nelson podcast, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford said should Borderlands: The Handsome Collection prove successful, 2K Games might consider a current-gen version. “The fact that The […]

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood artwork shows the catacombs, dock, more

    Over the weekend we posted Wolfenstein: The Old Blood artwork along with news of a retail release in Europe. Today, we have better quality images of said artwork to share with you. Enjoy. The standalone prequel will be released digitally on May 5 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in North America, and digitally on […]

  • Slender: The Arrival terrorizes PS4 and Xbox One this week

    In case you forgot, what with Bloodborne out today and other high profile releases of late, Slender: The Arrival is out today on PlayStation 4 in North America. The scary game will arrive on Xbox One tomorrow, March 25, and in Europe on PS4. Slender: The Arrival is an expansion on the original Slender game […]

  • World of Warcraft’s WoW Token rollout slated after launch of patch 6.1.2

    Blizzard has announced it will start rollout its WoW Token option in the weeks following the launch of patch 6.1.2 on March 24. WoW Token allows players to exchange in-game gold for game time and vice versa. Blizzard will release WoW Token first in realms serving North America, Oceania, and Latin America and will expand […]

  • The Evil Within: The Consequence dated for April, teaser video released

    Part 2 of Juli Kidman’s adventure in The Evil Within will arrive next month with the release of The Consequence. Above is a brief teaser showing some of the “madness” Kidman will encounter. The Consequence will arrive on Tuesday, April 21 on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. European PlayStation players will […]

  • Bloodborne sometimes “struggles to run at a smooth frame-rate” per performance analysis

    Bloodborne has been analyzed by Digital Foundry and according to the report, even with a 30fps cap the game sometimes “struggles to run at a smooth frame-rate.” The game’s day-one 2.69GB update 1.01 is “essential” as it contains improvements to game performance and stability and the frame-rate tests run by Digital Foundry were in single-player […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection reviews round-up

    Borderlands: The Handsome Collection reviews are out in the wild so we decided to catch a few of them for you. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is out today on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The collection packages Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel along with each game’s DLC content on one disc. Better graphics and […]

  • Evolve, Forza Horizon 2, WWE 2K15 are this week’s Deals with Gold

    Evolve, Forza 2 Horizon and WWE 2K15 are just some of the games which are part of this week’s Xbox Deals with Gold. You can also pick up the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Pro Edition for 20% off as well as the standard edition for 33% off. For the Xbox 360 crowd, there’s also […]

  • Xbox 360 2015 Spring Value bundles now available starting at $250

    Microsoft is offering a discount on three Xbox 360 bundles with prices starting at $250. The Xbox 360 2015 Spring Value bundles feature various content such as a Kinect, 500GB console bundle and one month of Xbox Live Gold. Xbox 360 500GB Spring Value Bundle: comes with Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare download and Fable […]

  • Rainbow Six Siege beta sign ups now open

    Ubisoft is letting everyone register for the upcoming Rainbow Six Siege closed beta. Rainbow Six Siege is due for a closed beta sometime this year. Ubisoft has opened registration to everyone. All you need to do is enter your preferred platform and log in using your Uplay account. You will be entered into a waiting […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Exo Zombies map Infection is creepy

    The upcoming chapter in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s Exo Zombies mode is called ‘Infection’ and Activision has been slowly revealing bits and pieces about it. A few teasers have been dropping ahead of Ascendance launch this month. The teasers are about the second episode in the Exo Zombie story, Infection. First off, the map. […]

  • This is the Bloodborne press kit in all its glory

    Bloodborne is a gorgeous game so it’s only fitting that the press kit it came in is a reflection of that. The pictures capture the many amazing bits of the Bloodborne press kit. A press kit is what’s usually sent to the reviewers alongside the review copy. They’re usually very ornate and almost all of […]

  • This Hearthstone turn is taking over 40 hours and you can watch it happen

    A very smart Hearthstone player has rigged his game to make one turn take over 40 hours, and it has been going for over 22 already. Hearthstone player Mamytwink set up a game against his friend to try and achieve the record for the longest turn in Hearthstone ever. Basically, Mamytwink set the game up […]

  • The Witcher 3: Geralt’s beard grows over time, but not Gandalf-long

    The beard of The Witcher 3 protagonist Geralt will grow over time, but you can trim it if you choose to. As part of a recently published impressions piece by German magazine Gamestar (translated by NeoGAF), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt developers revealed that Geralt’s beard will in fact grow over time. Not content with […]

  • Sony mistakenly abandons Bloodborne trademark in the US

    The administration side of Sony Computer Entertainment has not been in the best of shapes recently. Sony has abandoned four game trademarks yesterday, one of which is for Bloodborne. The trademarks were all registered with US Patent and Trademark Office. All of the games trademarks pertain to unreleased games and Sony would’ve had to either […]

  • Payday 2 will be supported until 2017

    Payday 2 developer has announced that it will continue to support the game for the next two years. Payday 2 developer Overkill has revealed today that it’s planning to support the game until 2017. What this means is that more free content as well as paid DLC are in the works for release later. Payday […]

  • These are the top Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare weapons, according to the developer

    Based on their overall kill-to-death ratio, what are the best guns in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare? Developer Sledgehammer reveals the top 5. Sledgehammer’s Michael Condrey has revealed on Twitter the top 5 weapons in Advanced Warfare based on their overall kill-to-death ratio. Here’s the list: ARX-160 – Hole Puncher Ameli – Heavy HBRa3 – […]

  • H1Z1 has sold more than 1 million copies

    H1Z1 has already sold over 1 million copies on Steam. H1Z1 may still be in Early Access on Steam, but it has already sold more than 1 million copies. Daybreak president John Smedley announced on Twitter earlier. H1Z1 launched in January and instantly became a hit. The game has consistently been on Steam’s top 10 […]