To say the development of a forth Timesplitters has been an unpredictable one would be an understatement. Practically confirmed by Free Radical (now Crytek UK) multiple pieces of teaser artwork revealed takes on the of the Gears of War logo with a monkey head replacing the skull as well as a monkey in Master Chief’s armour. Then unfortunately Free Radical went into administration before being bought out by Crytek. The project then got put on hold. Since then rumours have been flying left, right and center claiming the game is up and running, it would be released on Wii U and future consoles and so on. Most recently Cevat Yerli from Crytek stated, “Look, I wish we were working on it. The thing with TimeSplitters is, if we made a sequel to TimeSplitters, nobody would accept this apart from some fans, and we don’t know how big the fan community is unfortunately.”
It began to look bleak for the once popular series. However all may not be lost as three eager fans have started a new campaign that will hopefully prove to Cevat and Crytek that the fanbase is there and it is big.
I recently got the chance to sit and chat with Daniel Wesoly, one of the three guys behind the Facebook campaign group trying to convince Crytek to develop a forth game in the TimeSplitters series. We talk about the reasoning behind starting this campaign as well as why we need a new Timesplitters title now more than ever.
FanCensus: Hi there Daniel, let’s start from the beginning. Tell us a little bit about the campaign you’ve started?
Daniel Wesoly: Well, it started back in May when we began to realise that perhaps a Timesplitters 4 was not coming after all. I think it was around the 25th of May that the news of Timesplitters 4 not being in development came out from Cevat Yerli (Crytek CEO). Many fans were disappointed but it was hard to gauge the disappointment factor when the community is so scattered. Obviously you have people writing on sites like Gamespot and other such big gaming sites expressing their cries. But I wanted to eventually find a way to gather the whole community, so a guy called Brent got in contact with me about a Facebook group and it started from there. The first few weeks we pulled in around 100 and it did not seem like it was going anywhere, but things obviously changed when I invited a few Crytek staff including Graeme Norgate composer of the Timesplitters series.
So it seems the Crytek staff are really behind you on this?
Yeah 100%, they threw the page up all over their feed on Facebook and commented on it saying how they would add contributions if certain milestones were hit. Graeme himself is actually going to compose a TS styled victory song if over 100,000 is reached. But obviously, as Graeme Norgate said, it is going to take more than 100,000 really. One million sounds about right, maybe even more? It’s a big thing for Crytek to throw a ton of money into a game, it could either make or break them. But yes, we have support and I would like to make it known that almost every Crytek member wishes to make a new Timesplitters!
That’s excellent news. Especially about getting contributions. Any mention of what these may be? Artwork? Things of that nature?
There is a senior artist that has said he will draw up a Timesplitters styled character if 1,000 was reached, and obviously he will work on it but these things take time. We also have Ross Tregenza who is going to make a remix of like a monkey featured in Timesplitters Future Perfect.
Fantastic. I’ve also seen plenty of gaming sites covering your campaign. Have you been in contact with these guys or is a matter of going online and seeing your Facebook group featured on their site and saying “Oh brilliant, we just got mentioned on CVG”?
I have contacted a few sites over twitter (yours being one) telling them that I am one of the three admins working on the group. One thing I do not want people thinking is this is a Crytek built group, it is purely a fan built group. It’s just that we are working close with members from Crytek and some news articles are getting it wrong saying that Crytek have started this campaign.
I did notice that on a few articles. You however want it to be known that this is a campaign created by fans for the fans though right?
Sure, at the end of the day, if you are a Timesplitters fan then you have a place to be heard. As i said before, the community is so scattered that people are left in silence. And obviously this is more than your average run of the mill ‘ Like for Timesplitters ‘ page. In just over 5 minutes we have had 72 people join!
(Laughs) I did notice that when on the page. I refreshed it after about ten seconds only to see your total likes had gone up by ten more people! Reminds me when people were trying to get Rage Against The Machine to Xmas number one. Look how that worked out!
Well this is my first time with a viral campaign, so i do not know how long it will last. But hopefully it will last until the target is gained and more.
Looking at the page now you’re at 13,491 and climbing and this only took you…
Make that 13,495 (laughs). This only took us two days really. Once I invited a few guys over from Crytek, it went big. But it was still up to us to get it out really, and I would love to thank the fans of the page for getting it out there so quickly! It really would not have been possible without you all. You all deserve a Timesplitters 4 and I hope Cevat can see that too.
Now I can tell you’re passionate fans of the franchise. What about the Timesplitters series is that makes it stand out as a shooter for you? Why is it special?
I first played it back in 2000, I must have been around nine. The first Timesplitters was a release title on the PlayStation 2 and my friend had got console for his birthday. I remember the first time I played it, I instantly fell in love with it. The mix of zombies, military, aliens, mutants, crazy creatures and animals. It was a nine year old’s dream… well it was my dream anyway to have all kinds of characters in the same game, and have the freedom to battle it out with them when I deemed fit. Then Timesplitters 2 came out in the year 2002 and I got it a day early, I remember being excited for months before release. And it was one of the first games that did not disappoint, the character design was improved by a crazy amount. I absolutely love the art style of the series, the way each character is exaggerated in looks and style. I still play Timesplitters 2 today and Future Perfect every now and then. Future perfect was brilliant also.
I completely agree, the mix of characters and craziness was great fun and to me personally it borrowed a lot of mechanics from the Nintendo 64 game Goldeneye and why not? Goldeneye is a game that many believe to be the best shooter ever made! At the same time though it had its own exaggerated art style and character. It was the first time I saw a monkey with a rocket launcher!
I actually remember seeing it advertised in a magazine with a monkey and I thought it was a different game entirely. But that’s a good thing, because it shows the mix of a serious with funny.
The first video I saw of the game involved a monkey, snowman and gingerbread-man!
So Daniel, why do you think now would be a good time for the series to make a comeback?
I think you and everyone else knows the answer to this question. The industry is swamped with Call Of Duty clones and other military crap, this game absolutely needs to come back and show gamers of today’s generation what real gaming is about! Even some COD fans are coming over to our side and realising that the game is an overused milked cow.
I think we’ve had this discussion many a time in the office and even on our podcast with the same conclusion. Maybe we do need a shooter that doesn’t take itself seriously. However is there not a worry that amongst “safe” titles like Halo, COD, Medal of Honor etc… something fresh like Timesplitters may not get the recognition. Look at Bulletstorm. It tried something different and gamers didn’t go for it.
That is a worry, but it is also why this campaign has been started. It is to give Cevat the confidence that this game will not fail, and if it does not reach a big goal then I am willing to put my hands up and surrender because I have been trying for years to get this game known. This is about the biggest thing that is ever going to happen, and this is our last chance for fans.
Well the audience seems to be there. Timesplitters 2 sold just under the two million if I remember.
I am not too good with trends and everything, but that sounds pretty good for back then. I know Future Perfect did worse but I don’t think it had enough advertisement really. I still have Timesplitters fans today saying they didn’t even know there was a third instalment.
I believe Future Perfect moved publishers to EA. A lot of people I knew were busy playing the second title and again didn’t notice a third had come along. Sales were around half a million I believe, well below its predecessor.
That is probably another reason EA does not want to publish a Timesplitters 4, and I can understand the worry. In the industry sometimes you have to sacrifice things you want for things that are best for the company.
Well you could look at EA bringing back the SSX series. That made a big comeback. Kid Icarus who hadn’t been seen since the NES days. These saw success, so the opportunity is definitely there. Gamers are now asking for a Shenmue remake over and over. The demand is there for these titles.
I encourage other gamers to speak out about games they want, do the same as we are doing! Try and make it heard by everyone, because at the end of the day, the games that developers and publishers ship out today are becoming way too generic.
Back to the campaign though. What is next for you guys? The Facebook page is off to a good start. Any other plans to gain recognition for the series?
Right now, recognition is coming through fans spreading the word. So that leaves us with giving the community regular status updates and news. I shall be posting this interview up on the page and I would encourage anyone to check FanCensus out.
Thanks for the plug (laughs) So as a fan. Scratch that, as a BIG fan. What would you like to see from a sequel should it get made?
Hundreds of characters, fun and crazy maps featuring returning maps like Chinese and other such big maps from the previous titles. Also I would love to see NeoTokyo as an arcade map. Bots! Loads of bots! And tons of weapons from different time periods.
I was particular fond of the challenges. I must have spent hours upon hours on them. Especially the ‘behead the undead’ stages.
I almost forgot those! Challenges and a mapmaker! Hell throw in a character maker too!
A character maker would be fun. Imagine the creations people could take online. So with this campaign are you shooting for a brand new Timesplitters title? A boxed product? Or would you be pleased with any form of release. A smaller budget download or a remake of the previous titles perhaps? Plenty of HD remakes are being released at the moment.
I would love to see a brand new title, but I would also settle for a Timesplitters compilation that includes all the characters, maps, weapons and music in one game. Now that would be brilliant! Another idea would just be a HD remake. So just to clarify it would go Timesplitters 4, Timesplitters compilation and finally some Timesplitters HD remakes.
Fair enough. Okay onto some fun little questions. Favourite Timesplitters game?
Timesplitters 2, hands down.
Hank Nova, my Timesplitters 2 account has the stats to confirm that also. You?
The groovy Harry Tipper all the way baby! That or Duckman Drake. They were my two go to characters when it came to multiplayer.
Don’t forget good old Captain Ash!
(Laughs) So many legends. What’s your view on players who use Monkey in multiplayer? Is it cheating like using Oddjob in Goldeneye?
(Laughs) I have always frowned upon the overuse of monkeys.
Since you’re a fan I’ll ask, can you remember Sergeant Cortez’s cheesy catchphrase?
It’s Time to Split!
(Laughs) You are correct sir! I just had to ask to prove you are a true fan. Any particular time zone you loved in the three games?
You should be able to feel the Splitter vibe from here to tell I’m a true fan! Chicago! Or Neotokyo, Damn, it’s so hard to choose.
Chicago was brilliant! The tommy gun and 30′s setting was really cool. Notre Dame had a creepy vibe to it too.
Can i actually change my answer to every timezone? (Laughs)
I’ll allow it. Okay one last question. Hmmm… Who would win in a fight between Harry Tipper, Hank Nova and a monkey?
It’d have to be Harry Tipper, he has all the cool gadgets and slick moves to get himself out of anything.
Not the monkey and his flamethrower?
Well then, it’s been great chatting with you Daniel. We wish you all the luck with your campaign. We’ll be behind you 100% because well… we want a new Timesplitters too (laughs).
Thank you, its been good.