On December 11, 2023, it was noticed that the URL for the Free Radical Studio had returned a 404, meaning the website could not be found. This was the first signal that something was going on. This was followed by the ominous news from the Embracer Group CEO that the studio could face closure before the Christmas holiday. We all should have taken as code that the studio would be closed, as that’s precisely what happened.
Embracer owned Free Radical appears to fully closed down, as the website now gives an error with many developers posting their goodbyes. 😔
— Shinobi602 (@shinobi602) December 11, 2023
Following the URL error, multiple developers from the Free Radical started posting their goodbyes on Twitter/X, which meant that the studio was closed dead, without any official announcement from the cowards (Embracer Group). This is another causality from the Embracer Group purchasing companies, which it couldn’t afford after the Saudi group withdrew its two-billion-dollar agreement. Due to this, the Embracer Group has been gutting companies of talent, or in this instance, shutting down entire companies in an attempt to restructure itself.
Thats it, today was the last day of Free Radical Design. Missing a couple of people from the art team here but wanted to say how much I loved working with the team and the whole company at large, I wish we had a chance to show what we were capable of. Wishing you all the best <3 pic.twitter.com/GeebLheRjP
— Kieran Elliot Riley (@kieraneriley) December 11, 2023
The last day at FRD was very different from what I imagined. I don't think it sunk in properly just yet, but handed my keys in and left the building the last time. It's Time to Split pic.twitter.com/n1UGELsoED
— Adam Kiraly (@94Kiraly) December 11, 2023
Free Radical is the name of the original studio that created the fantastic Timesplitters FPS many years ago, and the studio was reborn in 2021 by the company’s original founders to create a new Timesplitters title. Sadly, this will never happen as it was sold by Deep Silver to Embracer, who eventually closed the company on December 11, 2023. It didn’t even get a chance to put out a game.
The closure of Free Radical has increased the number of companies that have been closed by Embracer Group to three, which includes Volition Games (Saints Row) and Campfire Cabal (Expeditions: Rome), not to mention the layoffs at Crystal Dynamics. Sadly, this won’t be the last we hear of companies being at the mercy of Embracer Group’s restructuring attempt. Gearbox Publishing, acquired in September 2021, could be going up for sale per a rumor making the ground for several months. Given what we’ve seen so far, I doubt that will be a rumor for too long.
I know I shouldn’t get personal when reporting on news, but this is getting out of hand. Instead, why doesn’t Embracer Group start chopping at management – The people who made these terrible agreements that have put hundreds, if not thousands, out of work? Meanwhile, they continue to be safe from the conditions they cause.