Homefront developer only discovered hidden TimeSplitters 2 codes after game shipped

Last week, we heard there was a secret unlock code to make the full TimeSplitters 2 campaign playable in Homefront: The Revolution, opening up the game’s well-known Easter egg which was previously thought to feature just a couple of classic TimeSplitters 2 levels.

Days later, that secret unlock code was then rediscovered after the matter hit the headlines – and there were actually multiple codes, it was revealed, with some still having unknown functions.

Eurogamer video producer Ian Higton played through Homefront: The Revolution to test one of these codes out – you can see him entering the code in the footage below, and trying out numerous TimeSplitters 2 story levels.

But why were these unlock codes created? And who created them? Speaking to someone close to the project, I’ve heard a little more – and been told these codes date back to the original version of TimeSplitters 2, and were unwittingly ported in. It was actually only after Homefront: The Revolution launched that developer Dambuster Studios realised there was a method to unlock more of TimeSplitters 2 in the game.

According to our source, when Dambuster brought over the original TimeSplitters 2 files, those files also included these codes. The Easter egg, born out of an office joke, had only ever been designed as being just the first two TimeSplitters 2 levels, as time was short to make sure everything worked.

The fastest method of porting in those two campaign levels was to include the full TimeSplitters 2 story mode – secret codes and all – then deploy a soft-lock so players would not be able to access levels which hadn’t been fully tested.

Our source guessed that the unlock codes had been included in the original TimeSplitters 2 for testing purposes or perhaps to unlock all levels in a version of the game made available to press, or to the public at an event.

Now, everyone can play as much of TimeSplitters 2 as they want – though, fair warning, you do still need to play a lot of Homefront: The Revolution to get there. Its arcade cabinet holding TimeSplitters 2 lies in a late-game level you’ll need to reach first before unlocking access to TimeSplitters 2 from its main menu. Hey, if only there was an unlock code for that!

“It’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll need to force your way through about seven hours worth of Homefront: Revolution’s campaign in order to reach an area called The Restricted Zone,” Ian told me. “This is not a fun task because the game is basically a fun-free Far Cry that’s full of game breaking bugs, bizarre glitches, and over long, unskippable cutscenes.”

For now, this Easter egg is the closest fans can get to playing TimeSplitters on modern day machines. But will there be time to split once again?

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.