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Game publisher THQ Nordic has acquired the rights to the popular early 2000s video game trilogy, TimeSplitters. In an announcement today via press release, Nordic stated that their subsidiary Koch Media will be publishing future games in the series via their label Deep Silver. After over a decade since the third installment TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, this news will come as a shock (and delight) to die-hard fans of the time-traveling first-person shooter.
The first entry, TimeSplitters, was released in 2000 as a PlayStation exclusive title. Featuring a robust multiplayer mode in addition to a one or two-player campaign, the game was mostly similar to other shooters at the time. Reviewers drew comparison to both Rare's GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark, which checks out: many of the game developers at infant studio Free Radical Design were former programmers at Rare. What made TimeSplitters stand out among its competition was its oddball humor and the addition of a level editor. The game was met with acclaim, warranting two sequels before the studio was bought out by Crytek and began developing other titles.
All was silent on the franchise until today, when THQ Nordic announced their acquisition of TimeSplitters, reopening the possibility of a long-awaited fourth game. Klemens Kundratitz, the CEO of Koch Media confirmed, "We are hugely excited to have acquired TimeSplitters. The original games gave fans a massive content offer and provided a pure and genuinely fun arcade shooter experience. We have many fans of the TimeSplitters series among our own staff who are passionate about creating a product that will thrill today's gaming audience.”
In addition to the recent absorption of Deep Silver, THQ Nordic has obtained a large number of popular franchises including Saints Row, Homefront, Darksiders, and Metro. The Sweden-based publisher has a reputation for turning out high-performing titles on a consistent basis. Formerly known as Nordic Games GmbH, the company acquired THQ in 2016, giving Deep Silver creative control over the future of numerous well-loved series. TimeSplitters' journey to revival has a been a long one, changing hands and seemingly getting lost in the shuffle, but hopefully the wait will be worth it.
TimeSplitters wasn't the only property Koch announced was in development; the adventure game Second Sight was also notably included in the release. Also made by Free Radical, this third-person stealth-action hybrid was a departure for the developers. Its console release saw favorable reviews, but demand for a sequel was never as vocal as the TimeSplitters' fanbase. It will be interesting to see if an increased popularity in unique story-driven action adventure games (a la Bioshock) will inspire Koch and Deep Silver to make a second Second Sight.
With both games considered, Deep Silver has their work cut out for them. TimeSplitters specifically is considered among one of the greatest first-person shooters ever made. They'll have to capture the wit and humor of the series, while adapting graphics and gameplay for new audiences. The chaotic multiplayer mode is the most exciting aspect to fathom; the previous online capabilities were limited to say the least. The announcement of a new TimeSplitters game is a shining example of something great coming from the confusing bureaucracy of game development. Only time may tell if the newest game can live up to the originals.