Free Radical's Rob Yescombe just confirmed to 1UP that the recently troubled developer has been bought for an undisclosed sum by Germany-based Crytek (best known for the games Far Cry and Crysis). This ends weeks of uncertainty about the future of the company, which many had guessed might be forced to shut its doors.
When Free Radical employees arrived at work at the company's four Nottingham, UK offices on December 18, they found that they were locked out, with a sign asking them to attend a meeting at a nearby hotel. There it was confirmed that the company had gone into administration, a process in the UK whereby companies can continue to trade while their financial woes are tackled, hopefully meaning that the company can be saved from complete closure.
On December 31, administrator Cameron Gunn of ReSolve Partners announced that although the developer would continue to operate, it would be shedding 140 staff. The remaining 40 employees stayed on at the company working out of one office. Gunn stated at the time that there had been "strong interest" from a number of parties worldwide for the developer.
Speaking from his local pub, Yescombe told us, "After seven long weeks of uncertainty, I can confirm that Free Radical is now out of the woods. We've been bought by a really, really good company." He added, in what was possibly a first for the outspoken writer, "I'm so excited I'm lost for words." Then he found some and continued: "It's the smoothest deal we've ever done. It all went through quickly, efficiently, fantastically..."
Yescombe said that he was unsure what the deal would mean for those made redundant on New Year's Eve, but that he hoped the company could ramp back up to its former size. Asked about what the team will be working on -- and specifically if this means we will one day see TimeSplitters 4 -- he said, "We don't know yet. We'll find out over the coming weeks."
We've contacted Crytek for more details, and to confirm from their side.