By Mark Johnson
Speaking to SPOnG, a new source close to Free Radical has explained that, while the developer has gone into administration, it is very much alive and kicking.
The bulk of the team has been told to stay home, leaving a skeleton crew to carry on business as usual. The decision was made by the administrators and was not one that was taken lightly, we were told.
It was Steve Ellis, co-founder and MD of the company who told staff the news. “Steve worked day and night trying to keep things rolling”, SPOnG was told “There were tears in his eyes when he told the team”.
While this is clearly not news that is welcomed by Free Radical, our source did tell us that the studio is now, “actually in better shape than it’s been in for a long time” thanks to the streamlining. “Basically, in order to stay in business they’ve had to make some very tough decisions”, our source said. “It’s a shame not to be in the remaining group, but you’ve got to be philosophical about these things. They’re all good guys. I’m sure they’ll do great things.”
While the team is being streamlined, SPOnG understands that at this point no-one has been formally made redundant.
Despite stories of staff being locked out of the Free Radical offices at the administrator’s request this morning, the company will remain on its current premises.
At this point the company’s projects are unknown, but word is that two of them are already generating significant interest from publishers. It is not known whether TimeSplitters 4 is amongst them.
However, with administrators looking at Free Radical, there is still, unfortunately, doubt regarding the company's future. Although it's not a good idea to talk a company into non-existence, this company's future remains tinged with uncertainty. With redundancies in the offing, we can only hope Free Radical emerges from this period of flux as an active part of the British games development community.