Crytek UK is talking with various publishers about the possibility of creating a brand new TimeSplitters game, Eurogamer can reveal.
The studio formerly known as Free Radical Design is also discussing an original IP – a single-player and multiplayer first-person shooter – with publishers.
"We're talking to publishers at the moment about whether that's [TimeSplitters] a viable route or not," managing director Karl Hilton told Eurogamer at the GameCity festival in Nottingham last week.
"There hasn't been a TimeSplitters game for quite a while. Obviously TimeSplitters is a FPS with a strong multiplayer element. The question is, is that the way to go with another one, or should it go down a different route, or should we be developing a new IP altogether?
"It's down to us talking to publishers about what their interest is and where they see it going. If they're keen for a TS game, then we'd be happy to do one. If they'd like us to develop something new then we'd do that.
"Whether the TS is like the classic TS or whether the TS is a new imagined TS, that's the other thing to discuss with them."
While the game Crytek UK ends up creating is undecided, Hilton's comments are the clearest indication yet that gamers may one day see another TimeSplitters game.
And, according to Hilton, publishers are making positive sounds.
"Talking to publishers, everyone is aware of TimeSplitters. It's got a brand awareness that's really good. Its success in different markets was quite variable. So depending on who you talk to, they either look at it as a really successful product or as a product that was almost successful but could have done better."
More encouraging is Hilton's assertion that whatever happens, Crytek UK will retain the Britishness of the cult FPS series.
"The thing to watch out with something like TimeSplitters is it was a bit of a game of its time, but it was quite British. It had a sense of humour to it. These days it's difficult because the cost of developing the big budget games is so much now you need to have a broad market. You need to be trying to sell everywhere.
"So you've got to avoid making something that's too niche, that doesn't work, but at the same time you can't make something bland and generic because there are plenty of those. It's getting that character and personality into a game, but not disenfranchising a whole set of people who might otherwise buy it."
He added: "I don't think it's about sacrificing the Britishness. It's about working out with a publisher what's the characteristic and personality of the game. Every good game should have a personality. When you play it you should feel from the way it plays and the way it looks what it is you're playing, otherwise you can get a very mediocre product."
The last TimeSplitters game was Future Perfect, released in 2005. It was received well by critics – Eurogamer's Tom Bramwell awarded it 8/10 – but perhaps TimeSplitters 2, still one of the highest-rated FPS games on the PS2, is remembered most fondly.
"TS had a very high profile within the industry, among press and game developers and publishers," Hilton said. "That's great. And certainly within our team there's phenomenal enthusiasm for it and we'd love to do another one. But everyone realises it's a hard commercial climate out there, so you've got to do something that's commercial but still has integrity. That's the balance you're going to have to find.
"But yeah, we'd love to do it. We don't want to get self-indulgent with it. We want to produce something that speaks to a lot of people and a lot of people play. That's the best thing: when you make a game and it sells a lot of units, not from a financial view, but because it's great to see your product out there that people are enjoying it and playing it."
Last year Crysis creator Crytek bought Free Radical Design after it slipped into administration following lacklustre sales of PS3-exclusive Haze.
Free Radical was renamed Crytek UK and put to work on the multiplayer portion of Crysis 2 – due out next year. That work is now largely done, freeing Crytek UK to concentrate on what's next.