Has there ever been a point when you’ve looked through your gaming library and wondered, “Huh, whatever happened to this title?” Well, I’ll be taking a look at videogame standalones/franchises and the lead up to their eventual absence. With that being said, today I’ll be asking the question: “Whatever Happened to… Haze/TimeSplitters?”
As I continue to sort out some things for the next couple of ‘Whatever Happened To…’ pieces, I decided to throw a quick one together to prevent myself from going mad over which big project to tackle next. The game in question that I choose, Haze, is the one that had received a lot of flak during its release and, unfortunately, led to the end of a talented development studio and a beloved franchise by many. Now, this may sound like another piece I wrote a while back, entitled ‘Does the Halo Killer Deserve a Redo?’ I can assure you, however, that this more delves into the happenings and aftermath of Haze’s run, rather than if it’s deserving of a sequel. So, with that in mind, let’s begin.
Getting into the history a bit, before its release in 2008, Haze was beginning to build up a lot of hype from the gaming community as a result of some truly great marketing on the part of developers Free Radical Design and publishers Ubisoft. The marketing resulted in quite a varied reaction from players with certain sources stating the game might be the, now infamously quoted, Halo killer. Still, at the time the press and word of mouth helped significantly with getting Haze on a lot of players’ radars. Which in hindsight is more than likely what helped lead to its downfall.
So come May of 2008 and Haze has officially hit shelves. Much to the disappointment of gamers everywhere though, the title did not live up to its incredibly high standards. There was some praise in regards to the online four-player co-op that was revealed earlier in the month, but it wasn’t enough to save the FPS overall. In terms of reviews, Haze received mediocre scores and was labeled as a financial disaster for developers Free Radical. This would, much to the anger of TimeSplitters fans, mean the end of the studio as well as any chance of a possible sequel in the near future.
Now, with a decade having come to pass, has there been any headway on the possibility of either another Haze or another TimeSplitters entering the mix? Well for TimeSplitters the path seems to be slowly but surely. There have been off and on discussions of Crytek (the developers that picked up Free Radical) putting out another installment, but Crytek have been going through difficulties of their own which have put a bit of a damper on things. Who knows, if things continue the way they do then we may see a ‘Whatever Happened to Crysis’ in the future.
As far as Haze is concerned, it looks like due to the lack of income and inability to perform up to standard, a sequel is never going to see the light of day. Which is a bit of a shame, cause’ there was some potential there for a solid co-op experience. Considering the backlash though, it just doesn’t seem possible. All in all, it is regrettable to have to wave off two franchises, regardless of one’s quality over the other.
So there you have it, that’s what happened to Haze and TimeSplitters.