TimeSplitters 4 was officially revealed in 2007. A year later, developer Free Radical Design went into administration.
Speaking with GamesTM (#128), former employee Steve Ellis told the magazine that the game “was in the very early stages of development” at the time. Unfortunately, publishers weren’t too interested in the project.
“TimeSplitters 4 was in the very early stages of development when Free Radical went into administration. A small playable demo was shown to several publishers, but it didn’t attract any publishing deals.”
Another former staffer and current Crytek UK managing director, Karl Hilton, also spoke with the magazine regarding the lack of interest for TimeSplitters 4. At the time, publishers had been skeptical due to the reception of Haze and concerns about how the title will be sold.
Hilton said publishers relayed the message “that you can’t market a game that is based around a diverse set of characters and environments – you need a clear and easily communicated marketing message, and TimeSplitters doesn’t have one.”
“We pitched it to a lot of publishers, and from each of them we got the same two responses. Firstly, they would ask what happened with Haze. We were the company that made a series of high-rated shooters and then we had released Haze, which wasn’t as well received. This worried them. Secondly, their marketing person would say something alone the lines of, ‘I don’t know how to sell this.’ The unanimous opinion among all publishers that we pitched TimeSplitters 4 to is that you can’t market a game that is based around a diverse set of characters and environments – you need a clear and easily communicated marketing message, and TimeSplitters doesn’t have one. Perhaps they are all right. Perhaps this is why the previous games in the series achieved much more critical success than commercial success. For these reasons, one by one they all declined to sign the project.”
Thanks to joclo for the tip.