Free Radical co-founder David Doak has told Eurogamer Star Wars: Battlefront 3 may not have been complete when it was cancelled by, but it was “very far from a car crash and had interesting ideas.”
Speaking with Eurogamer, Doak said everything seemed to be going well with development from 2006 until 2008, and the studio had a good working relationship with LucasArts – until he and co-founder Steve Ellis voiced concerns over milestone dates, and found out the game’s biggest supporter at LucasArts, president Jim Ward, was no longer with the firm.
“It was so ambitious because you had to populate an environment [on a large scale] so we had some tough nuts to crack,” said Doak. “We were continually trying to improve that, and it was going well, in fact it was going so well that we were going to make two, and they were letting us do some really interesting stuff with the mythology.
“Steve and I began thinking that the dates were looking a bit tight for the first one, so we thought we’d do what we had never done before and let LucasArts know our concerns. Because LucasArts had been so good to work with, we thought they’d see the sense of what we were saying. And that coincided with Jim Ward not being there one day.”
With Ward’s departure the atmosphere at LucasArts changed drastically, according to Doak, and the studio found itself surrounded by “psychopaths” with an ever-present lawyer.
“We still thought we’d done the right thing. And then we went from talking to people who were passionate about making games to talking to psychopaths who insisted on having an unpleasant lawyer in the room,” he said, adding the relationship with LucasArts continued to deteriorate to the point the firm stopped paying Free Radical for six months.
“My role at Free Radical meant that I was simultaneously involved in these unpleasant high level discussions with psychopaths who wanted to destroy us, and then the next day sitting with our dev staff at their desks trying to boost people’s morale,” he recalled. “Helping them to pass milestones that I knew would subsequently be manipulated to cause them to fail.
“It was the most depressing and pointless thing that I have ever been involved in. The dream job which I once loved had become a nightmarish torture.”
The entire feature is worth a read, and you should head on through the link and give it it’s due.
Footage of the cancelled game hit the net last month, and it’s posted here.