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Reports: UK Developer Free Radical Closes Doors

Reports: UK Developer Free Radical Closes Doors Exclusive

December 18, 2008 | By David Jenkins

December 18, 2008 | By David Jenkins
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More: Console/PC, Exclusive



Multiple UK sources claim that developer Free Radical Design has been forced to close its doors, literally. Initial online reports claim that employees have been refused entry to the company’s Nottingham studio as confusion surrounds the company’s future.

Reports of the studio’s closure continue online, with multiple forum posts on websites like Eurogamer claiming that security guards have been employed to keep staff from entering.

Reports received by Gamasutra also suggest that founder David Doak and other senior staff have already left the company, and that the developer’s financial problems were well-known locally.

An unnamed title for LucasArts had also been confirmed for some time and was widely believed to be Star Wars: Battlefront III. But Gamasutra sources have indicated that UK developer Rebellion, which had previously worked on a PSP version of the franchise, may have taken over the entirety of the project some time ago.

Free Radical Design was founded in 1999 by a number of ex-Rare staff and has received considerable critical acclaim for titles such as TimeSplitters and Second Sight. Commercial success has always been more limited, though, and the recent Haze proved an unexpected failure in both reviews and sales.

The developer is known to be working on TimeSplitters 4 for next generation platforms, but a publisher has never been announced.

The company is not responding officially to the reports, with telephone calls currently going unanswered. A spokeswomen for Ubisoft, publishers of the recent Haze, offered only a "no comment" on the reports.

[UPDATE: Local website This Is Nottingham has received comments from Cameron Gunn of Resolve Partners, Free Radical's administrator.

The process of administration in the UK means that the company is not solvent, and has been placed in the hands of a third-party to attempt to resolve outstanding debts.

Gunn commented to the website: "We will be spending the next three or four days assessing the financial position of the company but it's business as usual, although we have asked that almost all of the employees apart from a skeleton crew remain at home."

He added: "All employees have been paid up until the end of December and we hope to make another announcement before Christmas or very soon thereafter, but we must stress at this stage that it's business as usual."

However, it's unclear how it can be 'business as usual' if the vast majority of employees are no longer working on games at the company Gamasutra will update the story further as further announcements are made.]


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