TimeSplitters goes online on PS2

Future Perfect promises online 16-player competitive modes and co-op for PS2 owners, although Xbox and Cube fans will have to make do with split-screen.

As part of EA's E3 line-up announcement today, the all-consuming uber-publisher finally took the wraps off Free Radical Design's TimeSplitters Future Perfect, which is now officially due out on PS2, Xbox and GameCube in early 2005 with online co-op and competitive play in the PS2 version.

Previously all we had to go on was the promise of support for the major consoles and last week's mention of the official title for the third game in the series, which popped up during the publisher's end of year financial conference call to analysts and investors. Now, however, it's a different story, although not in the game sense - as we're still following Cortez' quest to uncover the origins of the malevolent TimeSplitters and eradicate them before they can destroy humanity entirely.

No surprises there then. His quest takes him through various (presumably self-contained) missions set in times ranging from 1914 to 2401 which, much like the previous game, players will be able to tackle in single-player and co-operative modes, with an Arcade mode full of little challenges and hundreds of unlockables to pad out the number of hours you'll spend with it - apparently numbering in the hundreds (but then they all say that).

Thanks to PS2 Online support, Free Radical has also been able to let players create and swap maps developed using the new and improved Map Maker, which - along with the stock deathmatch maps - will be playable competitively by up to 16 players.

Technologically there isn't much to go on other than vague claims of animated cut-scenes and an improved physics engine (which, if it's along the same lines as the Havok code in games like Max Payne, ought to be something), and of course the requisite mention of improved AI, and we've still yet to see a single screenshot (although that may change very soon), but it still seems fairly safe to say that the game will be along familiar lines - only more so, and with online play.

At least, that's all we're being told for now - expect full impressions from our TimeSplitters-loving contingent live from E3 next week.

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