OverviewCrytek UK was a development studio of Crytek GmbH and it was based in Nottingham, UK.
The company was initially founded as Free Radical Design. After leaving developer Rare in February 1999, former GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark team members David Doak, Steve Ellis, Karl Hilton and Graeme Norgate began trading as independent development studio Free Radical Design a mere two months later in April 1999. The company was based in Sandiacre, Nottingham, England.
With a team of only eighteen, Free Radical shipped and delivered the first-person shooter TimeSplitters to Eidos for the PS2 launch in October 2000.
Over the years Free Radical Design received numerous awards and nominations including CTW Developer of the Year 2001, the Develop Industry Excellence award for Best Independent Development Studio in 2003, along with five BAFTA nominations for TimeSplitters 2 in 2004, and two BAFTA nominations for Second Sight in 2005. Furthermore, they were listed in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 as one of the UK's fastest growing technology companies.
The studio only developed first person shooter games. After the TimeSplitters series and Second Sight, the studio's final game was Haze (2008), which received mediocre to negative reviews. On 18th December 2008 the studio was closed, after the development of the next game for LucasArts, Star Wars: Battlefront III, did not go through. There was also no publisher announced for TimeSplitters 4 and it was reported that two of the founders, Dave Doak and Steve Ellis, had already left the company earlier that month and established the studio Pumpkin Beach.
On 31st December 2008 an administrator announced the studio had not been closed entirely (140 employees had been let go), but that about 40 people had been kept on board to work on a new game concept. It paid off, as on 3rd February 2009 Rob Yescombe confirmed the studio had been acquired by Crytek GmbH. It was consequently renamed Crytek UK. As a part of Crytek it focused on multiplayer and console development. The first title the UK studio was involved with for Crytek was Crysis 2 (2011).
In January 2013 Crytek bought the Homefront IP following publisher THQ's bankruptcy for $500,000. In June 2014 the title Homefront: The Revolution was revealed, in development at Crytek UK, with a tentative release date for 2015. On 30th July 2014 however it was confirmed Deep Silver bought the entire Homefront IP from Crytek. At the same time the new Deep Silver Dambuster Studios was established and in accordance with UK law all Crytek UK staff moved along to the new studio, ending the UK Crytek presence.
Also Known As
- Crytek UK Ltd. (from Feb 04, 2009 to Jul 29, 2014)
- Free Radical Design (from 1999 to Feb 04, 2009)
TriviaThe five developers who started the company (including David Doak, Graeme Norgate and Lee Ray) moved away from Rare, Ltd. and Nintendo because they felt Goldeneye and Perfect Dark were at their peak.
They wanted to work in an independent studio with the freedom to choose a publisher for each game, hence the word Free. That seems to have worked out, as Timesplitters 3 is published by Electronic Arts and Second Sight by Codemasters.
The word Radical refers to their constant striving for originality. Nothing by the book, always refreshing.
Related Web Sites
- Deep Silver Dambuster Studios (official website)
- Free Radical vs. the Monsters (article about the company's history on Eurogamer (4th May 2012))