Steve Ellis, the co-founder of Free Radical Software and one of the developers behind classic FPS’s like Goldeneye and Timesplitters, gave a rather candid interview with UK gaming mag Edge regarding the state of the FPS genre, and why he’s stepping away from the genre that he helped to popularize.
Ellis discussed the difficulties involved with pitching a new entry in the classic Timesplitters franchise to publishers. “Pretty much every FPS loses money,” Ellis stated, adding that “Nobody really buys any FPSes unless they’re called Call Of Duty.” He goes on to state that even the much hyped Crysis 2 (created by Free Radical’s parent company, Crytek,) failed to turn a profit, and that all of the major publishing companies that he pitched Timesplitters 4 to were hesitant to back any FPS that strayed from CoD’s formula.
Ellis has since stepped away from console development, and currently works at Crash Studios, which makes puzzle games for iOS. Regarding his decision to move over to the casual market, Ellis states “We’ve been through more than a couple of console generations and seen things grow and grow to a stage where it’s not really the business we got into… It’s not really what we signed up for at the start.”
It’s pretty disheartening to hear that Timesplitters 4 probably won’t happen at this point — I had a fair share of fun with Timesplitters 2 last generation and it would’ve been interesting to see what those guys could’ve cooked up on a modern console, but I guess the market just isn’t there for a game like that any more.
Excerpts from Edge’s interview are currently up on their website. The full interview, which also discusses Ellis’ career at Rare, will go up later today.