With Easter having just passed last weekend, game developers were invited to share the best Easter eggs they’d ever hidden in a game. One of the more surprising replies was from Matt Phillips regarding a fully playable native 4K port of TimeSplitters 2 hidden in Homefront: The Revolution.
— Matt Phillips (@bigevilboss) April 4, 2021
The game can be found on a beat-up arcade machine in a prison complex called The Bourse in the Philadelphia area of Homefront. Interacting with the machine allows players to try the Siberia and Chicago levels in TimeSplitters 2, although these weren’t in 4K and looked fairly similar to their original graphics. Hackers had previously found the source files for the game’s remaining levels hidden within the depths of Homefront’s code but had never been able to work out how to make them playable. It turns out a native 4K port of the entire TimeSplitters 2 game can be activated on that same arcade machine as long as players have the code.
The problem is the code has been “lost to time.” Phillips no longer has the notebook in which the code was written. While the code was passed on to a friend to be made public on Discord, the channel found the news to be so unbelievable they banned the friend’s Discord account. Any hope of the game ever being playable again rest with resourceful hackers to work it out.
Hackers were also issued another challenge. TimeSplitters 2 piggybacks on top of Homefront‘s co-op mode. If anybody was able to hack two or more arcade machines into any of the co-op maps, the machines would boot to the multiplayer menu of TimeSplitters 2 with two maps available to play. Whether that mode would actually work is debatable even for Phillips who called it “a very janky prototype,” adding Homefront “never offered dedicated servers” for it.
TimeSplitters is one of ten PS2 franchises we recently said we’d like to see revived. The franchise seemed doomed after TimeSplitters 4 was put on hold and TimeSplitters Rewind seems to be stuck in development limbo. However, the franchise now rests with THQ Nordic, Dambusters’ parent company, and Phillips reckons this means there’s hope for the franchise to arise once again.