We’ve known for years that Homefront: The Revolution hides an arcade cabinet where you can play a couple of levels from TimeSplitters 2. Now, evidence has come to light that the entirety of TimeSplitters 2’s campaign was designed to be fully playable in native 4K.
Why can’t you play the rest? Well, unfortunately, an unlock code designed to open up the rest of Free Radical Design’s PS2 classic has been lost to time – via an unfortunate Discord ban.
Let’s rewind back to the 2014 release of Homefront: The Revolution, the work of Deep Silver Dambuster Studios. The developer is the latest incarnation of the Nottingham-based company formerly known as Crytek UK, and before that, Free Radical Design itself.
The inclusion of two story levels (Siberia and Chicago) from TimeSplitters 2 was a nod back to the studio’s past – and, some would argue, ended up being one of Homefront’s biggest selling points. But much more of TimeSplitters 2 was supposed to be accessible.
Writing in a Twitter thread over the weekend on the best video game Easter eggs, former Homefront: The Revolution developer Matt Phillips revealed that the TimeSplitters 2 cameo was designed to be “fully playable” via an unlock code that was never publicly released.
“The unlock code has been lost to time, I don’t have the notebook with it in any more,” Phillips wrote. “I once gave it to a friend to leak in some Discord channel and they called him a liar and banned his account ahahah.”
— Matt Phillips (@bigevilboss) April 4, 2021
As well as the game’s campaign, multiplayer support was also worked on.
“It’s probably about time this small fact came out, too,” Phillips continued. “I ported the network stack to ride on top of HF:TR’s co-op mode. If, and that’s a big if, anyone was able to hack two or more arcades into one of the co-op maps, it’ll boot to the multiplayer menu.
“I dunno how feasible that is though, since it’s all server authoritative and they never offered dedicated servers… I think there were two multiplayer maps hidden in there.”
Over the years, fans have known that other TimeSplitters 2 levels existed and have been able to access them via modding. But this is the first time we’ve ever heard a more official method to unlock them was once intended.
The original TimeSplitters turned 20 years old in October last year, and fans still hold hope for a franchise revival. The long-in-development fan project TimeSplitters Rewind is also still in the works, though progress is very slow.
As of 2019, the official rights to TimeSplitters belong to THQ Nordic, now known as Embracer, the parent company of Deep Silver Dambuster Studios, and former Free Radical Design veteran Steve Ellis has supposedly been tapped up for whatever’s next.