Time Travel is the means of travelling to different time periods, playing a major role in TimeSplitters series.
- Main article: Time Crystal
Time Machines are the only means for Sergeant Cortez to travel to different time periods. To use the machines, one person has to be operating the machine's control to set co-ordinates for location and era of the intended destination.
The Space Station was invaded by the TimeSplitters after being created by man. The time machine itself, however, seems to be alien in origin; being covered in glyphs of an unknown language, its architecture standing in stark contrast to the surrounding station. This machine may have been discovered by the Spacetime Marines, or captured, and sequestered upon the Space Station for purposes of research. This machine's origin is simply unknown. It should be noted that the Alien Flies of Planet X are also found on the Space Station, perhaps providing a clue as to the device's origin. During Cortez's time at the Space Station, Corporal Hart commands the time machine's controls, and protected the Time Crystals that Cortez returned.
The time machine on the Space Station is notably different from other versions, as those who enter it morph into (or merge with) locals of the timezone who are on missions similar to those of the time traveler (in this case, Cortez). Cortez enters each timezone through a Time Portal and takes on the role of a local. This was possibly a feature integrated into the machine by the TimeSplitters to aid in their mission to infiltrate and alter human history. However, TimeSplitters are not seen to morph upon entry to another timezone during the course of the game; we only see
them arrive with the purpose of attacking and stopping Cortez, or we see Reapers who had arrived much earlier. It should be noted that the TimeSplitters offering resistance against Cortez near the end of each level would not be coming through the time machine on the Space Station, since Corporal Hart has the room secured. It is possible that the Splitters come to offer resistance by way of a different time machine, one of the non-morphing variety. It might also be possible that the Space Station's time machine is calibrated to Splitter physiology, and is only meant to send Splitters physically, so that Cortez's morphing into local humans is a chance side effect of being a human, or is even a type of security measure incorporated by the Splitters to prevent physical time travel by humans should the time machine become captured. In this case, it is possible that the same time machine is being used to offer resistance, with the Splitters going back in attempts to stop Cortez in the various timezones during Cortez's final flight from the Space Station, when the room is no longer secured. Since the time machine on the Space Station continues to work fine despite all nine Time Crystals being off-site and dispersed through time, it is possible that the machine remains operational up until the moment the Space Station explodes.
To return Cortez to the Space Station, Corporal Hart stabilizes a Time Portal after letting Cortez succeed in his mission. Although Cortez's local avatar always possesses a Temporal Uplink during the missions, it is unclear how this device comes to manifest physically in each timezone when Cortez's body and other accoutrements do not. However, the Uplink's appearance in the missions (with the possible exception of Space Station) may just be gameplay-oriented in order to guide the player, rather than being canonical.
Spacetime Marine HQ
The time machine at Spacetime Marine HQ is notably different from the one used at the Space Station. After Cortez returns, the General and Anya are already prepared to give Cortez his next mission briefing.
Much like Corporal Hart's role at the Space Station, Anya stays at the controls of the machine, while Cortez feeds back information to her so she can set up new locations and timezones to travel to in order to eliminate the TimeSplitters.
Once the time machine's process has been activated, it slowly moves downwards, while apparatus around the circular platform spins around before Cortez exits a Time Portal on the other end.
Cortez's portable, wrist-mounted Uplink allows him and Anya to talk to each other across the gulf of time, as well as allowing him, with the press of a button, to send himself to any time and place on Earth, the co-ordinates of which Anya remotely programs from Spacetime HQ in the year 2401.
Crow's time device is essentially a hand-held uplink to a larger Time Machine found in Kronia under the island of Urnsay in 1924. The hand-held device is a relatively small box with several buttons on it, the main one simply teleporting the machine and its user(s) to the set date and location. Once pressed, the wielder will fade out, and fade in to the set location. This fade out/in type of time travel is also used primarily by Cortez with his own uplink, and is notably different from portal/wormhole travel, which Crow has also been known to employ.
Also, throughout TimeSplitters Future Perfect, Crow emphasizes that the teleportation button to activate the hand-held device is the Red one on the side of the Device, which is a running gag of the game.
- Main article: TimeSplitter
It is often presumed that the TimeSplitters can travel single-handedly through time. However, their attack on the Space Station implies otherwise. In order to disperse the Time Crystals, the Reaper Splitters use the time machine on the Space Station. While the TimeSplitters in the original TimeSplitters had no obvious means of getting to their destinations, it might be extrapolated that they were also using a time machine.
According to the opening narration of TimeSplitters 2, Time Travel appears to have been employed only recently during the war:
"We fought long and hard, but now we are lost, for they have taken their evil war into our past. Traveling through time, they have sown corruption, unravelling the fabric of our history. Our last chance is to strike back - seize the Time Crystals and turn their twisted weapon against them."
How and why the time machine came to be on the Space Station is unclear. It is also unclear if the machine itself is the "twisted weapon" mentioned, or if the weapon is Time Travel in a more general sense. Since it appears that the Crystals are seized with the intent to power the machine at Spacetime Marine HQ, the "twisted weapon" may well be Time Travel in general, and not the specific machine on the Space Station. In any event, since war by Time Travel is a fairly new development in 2401, it might be assumed that Time Travel is not an inherent ability of the TimeSplitter race, but is rather technology-driven.
Berserker Splitters from TimeSplitters Future Perfect are never seen travelling through time and are only seen in the years 2243 and 2401, unlike in the previous games, where TimeSplitters appear in all timezones visited. The reason Berserkers are not seen to time travel may be that they did not have access to the now-destroyed Space Station time machine. Aside from the debilitated Reaper Splitters that Cortez encounters in Siberia and NeoTokyo, which presumably arrived much earlier than Cortez at these co-ordinates using a time machine, the Splitters that attack Cortez in TS2 only arrive to do so once he has obtained the local Time Crystal. In TSFP, the crystal quest is over and Splitters are not following Cortez through time, but are concentrating their attack on Spacetime Marine HQ.
Wormholes are seemingly random passageways through time, resulting from a destabilized time field in the vicinity of heavy time travel during TimeSplitters Future Perfect. They usually lead to only a few minutes away. Using them to create a time loop creates the risk of a time paradox if Cortez interacts with himself. Despite this, nothing of the sort seems to happen during the game, and wormholes prove to be a valuable asset in numerous locations. It is because of Cortez's repeated success using wormholes and time loops that Anya uses the time machine to intentionally create a time loop for Cortez, to help him in the battle against Splitter Crow.
Although the wormholes used by Cortez seem to be random, localized occurrences, the wormholes used by Crow seem to be controlled and are used to transport large numbers of personnel from one time zone to another.
It should be noted that Cortez begins his mission in Scotland the Brave by being dropped out of a wormhole, the one wormhole seen to be intentionally generated by Anya. It might then be extrapolated that both time machines (Crow's, and Spacetime Marine HQ's) can create long-distance wormholes that lead directly to a programmed destination. Once initially relocated through a wormhole, it seems that using the time machines and respective uplinks to then remotely adjust the traveller's spacetime co-ordinates (co-ordinates being anywhere along the length of this one wormhole in spacetime), the result will be the witnessed fade-in/fade-out variety of time travel, without the need for another wormhole to be generated. If Crow's journey also began with a machine-generated wormhole, this was never shown.