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TimeSplitters 4 prototype found on eBay and gameplay may emerge soon

Somehow a PlayStation prototype of TimeSplitters 4 has been unearthed on eBay, and many are waiting for the package to meet its new owner.

TimeSplitters 4 prototype: An image of Sergeant Cortez from TimeSplitters 2.

The TimeSplitters games are downright incredible, and stand tall as some of the greatest shooters ever made. Developer Free Radical had been working on TimeSplitters 4 until the studio’s closure last December, leaving the FPS game’s fate sealed shut. Now, in a wild twist of events, a very early prototype of the game has been found on eBay.

Spotted over on the PlayStation 3 subreddit, user ‘Flimsy-Zebra-3775’ ask the community for advice regarding an eBay listing. Within it contains a PS3 console for sale, and among images of it, is a photo showcasing what appears to be an old build of the FPS game from 2008. Free Radical had been working on a TimeSplitters follow up since then, but a series of financial obstacles massively set the studio back.

It is possible that this console is from a former Free Radical developer selling off assets after the studios’ closure, but the Redditor says the listing is from a “reputable, normal eBay seller, [and] they were as surprised as me when I asked them about it.” But there is a further twist in the tale, as the console did in fact exchange hands with Free Radical staff members.

TimeSplitters 4 prototype: An image of a TimeSplitters 4 PS3 prototype on eBay.

Shedding more light on the once potential new PS5 game and new Xbox game, the Redditor adds the eBay seller “had a friend who worked at Free Radical until November 2008, a month before the studio [originally] shut down.” Before the Redditor committed to buying the console, which is now in transit, they clarify the eBay seller is “going to boot the game up […] and send me a video, if it’s legit I’ll buy it and if someone who knows HDD dumping helps me, I’ll upload the drive.”

After digging for more information, they also share that the prototype is playable: “It’s a 2008 demo shown to publishers to try to get funding.” A trailer for TimeSplitters 4 was initially showcased over a decade ago, too, taking a satirical jab at another series of the best games in the FPS genre: Halo.

In May 2021, it was announced that Embracer Group would fund a reformed version of Free Radical, with a focus on bringing TimeSplitters to a new audience of PS5 and Xbox players.

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With the PlayStation 3 containing the TimeSplitters 4 prototype seemingly in transit, it is very likely we’ll get a better glimpse into the cancelled shooter. Who knows, if it had come out today, it may have been one of the best PS5 games out there.

Speaking of great shooters, in related news, Helldivers 2 developer Arrowhead Game Studios is squashing worries about the game’s evolving meta. And if you’re looking for something different, here’s a new look at Rise of the Ronin’s epic combat styles.