Ex-Timesplitters Boss: “Nobody Really Buys Any FPSes Unless They’re Call Of Duty”

In an interview teaser (yes, one of those) published over on Edge, Free Radical Design co-founder and the man responsible for trying to get Timesplitters 4 signed up, Steve Ellis, has spoken out about the first person shooter genre.

“I spent the whole of 2008 going round talking to publishers trying to sign up Timesplitters 4,” he says, pretty much confirming that the game is never going to come out.


“There just isn’t the interest there in doing anything that tries to step away from the rules of the genre – no one wants to do something that’s quirky and different, because it’s too much of a risk. And a large part of that is the cost of doing it.”

“Nobody really buys any FPSes unless they’re called Call Of Duty,” he added. “I guess Battlefield did okay, but aside from that pretty much every FPS loses money. I mean, Crysis 2: great game, but there’s no way it came anywhere close to recouping its dev costs.”

Battlefield shifted twelve million to retail, so probably did a little better than “okay”, but he does have a point – Call of Duty (the latest of which we previewed today) has become almost ubiquitous, as if there’s literally nothing else around that comes close in terms of sales.

Ellis recently founded Crash Lab, and has two iOS games in the making.



  1. Why the hell do EA still support Crysis as a franchise. It has little to no originality and purportedly little to no profit. Where’s the benefit in supporting it?!

    • It’s incredibly fun and I want a Crysis 3.

      • Well…let’s just agree to disagree then :)

      • because its a great tech demo?

      • Because I enjoy being given some awesome abilities and being allowed to use them however I want to defeat groups of enemies. Crysis/2 are not bad games by any stretch of the imagination.

  2. Yet it’s probably the most saturated genre today.

  3. I don’t see why Sony wouldn’t pick this up, since they support Quantic dream, Media Molecule, and just today that company who are making The unfinished Swan. Sony are all about taking risks! But I guess the FPS market is too over-saturated to accept a new one that could sell anything…

    • I think Sony have enough FPSes on their plate.

      • I suppose so, I just would’ve thought that the original ideas of the franchise and the possibility of a map editor would’ve been enough to differentiate it…who am I kidding?

  4. Crysis 2 wasn’t a great game. EA were greedy and went multiplat only to lose their core market of PC gamers. Sadly he is right though I would love to see a timesplitters 4. I used to play the 3rd one a lot and had a lot of good times with it.

  5. And that’s the reason why we must bring down the CoD franchise! It is hurting gamers and developers, innovation will be obsolete in a year because of that series…..

  6. Interestingly, most of my favourite games are first person. People would flock to Timesplitters 4, it’s an established, hugely successful and fondly remembered franchise.

    • ^Absolutely agree with this, i’m certain the Timesplitters name alone would sell by the bucketload.

  7. The FPS genre is probably my favourite, so I’m all for seeing new IP’s and games from the genre, but Devs need to up their game so to speak. COD’s got the FPS formula nearly perfected. Fast paced action, easy to pick up and play etc. If other FPS’s want a shot, they need to be different, but still acknowledge what makes COD the king of FPS’s.

  8. I think he is right, ‘Timesplitters 4’ wouldn’t sell well this Gen even if it got 10/10 from everyone i think. My most played game for me last Gen was ‘Timesplitters 2’ :P AMAZING 4 player split-screen game with Bots it was(& still is the best i think)

    + FOR F**K-SAKE SOMEONE JUST DO ‘Timesplitters 1 + 2 + 3(FP)’ in HD with Trophies & i would be HAPPY! ! ! :P :P :P

    • HD remakes would certainly be a good way to test the waters for a sequel.

  9. “no one wants to do something that’s quirky and different, because it’s too much of a risk” – and the post above this is Unfinished Swan.


    • I take it the development cost of Unfinished Swan is a bit lower than that of Timesplitters 4

      • That actually depends exactly on how they want to do Timesplitters 4.

  10. Bioshock 2 was “quriky” and had a popular multiplayer – maybe they just need to create a decent SP to go with the MP, then it might sell. Plus I would have thought it would sell based on the previous 3 games’ reputation.

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