— Matt Phillips (@bigevilboss) April 4, 2021
We already knew that two levels of the classic shooter were hidden inside Homefront, and fans had previously found the full game in Homefront’s files, but it remained unplayable by normal means.
However, Phillips says that the game was “fully playable” with the use of an unlock code. And that’s where it gets tricky, as Phillips no longer has the notebook where he wrote it down. Even worse, his previous attempts to spread it were shut down. Responding to a fan’s request for how to unlock the rest, Phillips said:
“The unlock code has been lost to time, I don’t have the notebook with it in any more. I once gave it to a friend to leak in some Discord channel and they called him a liar and banned his account ahahah”.Amazingly, Phillips even points out that he specifically designed Homefront’s in-game arcade machine, which activates the TimeSplitters Easter egg, so that it would activate a multiplayer menu if placed in the same map as a second arcade machine.
Making clear that it would only work in theory, Phillips wrote: “I ported the network stack to ride on top of [Homefront: The Revolution’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.” Phillips says he thinks there were two of the game’s multiplayer maps included.
Of course, the Internet is already looking for ways to find the code, with many players already combing the game’s files for clues. Phillips says this may be a fruitless search: “To put you out of your misery,” he wrote to several Twitter users, “there’s nothing in the base game that even remotely hints at the cheat, sorry.”That likely won’t stop fans looking for ways to circumvent the code (or go searching for someone who has it), however – TimeSplitters 2 is a cult classic to this day, and the lure of a 4K port is likely enough to keep the community scouring.
As for how the entirety of TimeSplitters 2 was allowed into Homefront: The Revolution in the first place, Dambuster started life as TimeSplitters creator Free Radical, which held onto the source code and later gained the rights to use it.
Given the fan response to this Easter egg, it doesn’t seem like a terrible idea to just… release the port as a standalone game. We may see more TimeSplitters one day, too – Koch Media has previously hinted at a new project in the series, and brought on co-creator Steve Ellis to “plot the future course” of the franchise.