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Star War: Battlefront 3 was ‘mediocre’, 99% complete claim is ‘bullshit’, says source

Tuesday, 4th December 2012 10:54 GMT By Dave Cook

Star Wars: Battlefront 3 was a mediocre game that was around 75% complete when it was binned, an anonymous ex-LucasArts employee has revealed, stating that the game was canned as developer Free Radical “Continually missed dates and deliveries.” The statement follows claims from Free Radical co-founder Steve Ellis that the game was 99% complete and was binned for financial reasons. Get both sides of the story below.

Ellis made his claim last month, in which he stated, “We had a 99% finished game that just needed bug fixing for release. It should have been our most successful game, but it was cancelled for financial reasons. I’m happy that people did at least get to see what we were working on and share the team’s enthusiasm for it.”

However, an anonymous ex-LucasArts tipster has told Gamespot that the Star Wars: Battlefront 3 project was mediocre at best, that Free Radical “misrepresented” its progress on the project, and that the game “tested poorly with no focus on action”, suggesting that the title was not living up to LucasArts’ expectations. The studio’s difficult time with PS3 shooter Haze caused the publisher to grow even more wary of Free Radical’s abilities.

The source stated, “This 99 percent complete stuff is just bullshit. A generous estimate would be 75 percent of a mediocre game.

“We were desperate for a next-gen follow-up to Battlefront (the claim that the project was sabotaged for financial reasons is ludicrous. The franchise was a huge money maker at the time). When Free Radical continually missed dates and deliveries, [LucasArts] made many ‘good will’ whole or partial milestone payments to keep the project going.

“At this point, I felt that Free Radical was akin to a Ponzi scheme where time and budget from the next game was being used to finish the previous, late, title.”

The project apparently collapsed when it became clear that Free Radical would miss the game’s April 2009 launch, compounded further by staff cuts. The studio closed shortly after the game was eventually cancelled.

Eurogamer reports that Ellis replied swiftly with his version of events, and revealed that LucasArts already had Free Radical in the frame for a fourth Battlefront title, stressing again that the Battlefront 3 was near completion.

“I want to set the record straight because a lot of people worked very hard on BF3 (and BF4 [which LucasArts had already asked Free Radical to plan]) and they don’t deserve their efforts to be distorted in this way.

“From the personal tone of the comments it is clear that the source is someone whom I personally dealt with. It’s unfortunate that they are making this kind of criticism while choosing to remain anonymous.

“In 2008, LucasArts was a company with problems. The entire management team who were there when we started working together were replaced in the first half of 2008. They made mass redundancies on their internal teams. They cancelled a number of projects. Then our milestones started being rejected.

“We were told (and it seemed wholly believable given the aforementioned facts) that they could not afford to continue development of both BF3 and its sequel, so they negotiated the termination of BF4, then later BF3. There was no ‘termination for breach.’

“If the problem really was that we had failed to meet their desperate need for a new Battlefront game, you might ask why after all this time they still haven’t released a new Battlefront game using a different developer. I can only speculate.”

There you have it folks: two sides of a rather long and complicated story. What’s your opinion? Let us know below, and be sure to check out this leaked Star Wars: Battlefront 3 gameplay footage from earlier this year. What do you make of it?

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12 Comments

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  1. stevenhiggster

    I would have to side with Ellis on this one and the fact that, like he pointed out, the “LucasArts” dude chose to remain anonymous makes his claims all the harder to believe.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. viralshag

    I disagree. Canning a game at 99% seems rather unbelievable. It has a following, it would have sold something, they would have got some money back.

    I find it very hard to believe the game was really that close to finished.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. stevenhiggster

    I’ve read similar stories from the likes of David Doak and other ex free radicals. And the fact that the LucasArts guy hid behind anonymity makes him just sound like an angry fanboy. I remember having read similar stories from other devs working with LucasArts too and no I don’t have links. I’m pretty sure the David Doak interview was in OPM a while back.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. absolutezero

    Lucasarts have a history of being utter bastards to everyone they work with, so why is it all that surprising that one of them is acting like a twat now?

    I’m it was scrapped because they were far more invested in The Force Unleashed at the time. Which funnily enough was terrible!

    #4 1 year ago
  5. manamana

    Fact is: they screwed up a great IP, big-time!

    Most companies are on the lookout for new IPs and they are sitting on *Star Wars* labeled and solid IPs (KOTOR, REPUBLIC COMMANDO, SWBF) which could be great on modern consoles and nobody seems to care at LucasArts …

    I just don’t get it.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. roadkill

    “Star War: Battlefront 3 was ‘mediocre’, 99% complete claim is ‘bullshit’, says source” Well doooh!

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Fin

    Yeah, I don’t believe any publisher would get a game to 99% then cancel it.

    Just because someone chooses to remain anonymous doesn’t make them wrong.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    I love Star War.

    Love it.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. DSB

    @7 I agree. I’m pretty sure that’s accurate. And there are a million reasons why someone would want to stay anonymous when it comes to an internet argument.

    The ironic thing is that The Force Unleashed was worse in terms of delay and quality. It’s pretty much a textbook example of how you should never, ever, try to make a game, but for some reason that was allowed to survive under LucasArts own roof.

    They can hardly make the claim that they actually knew what they were doing.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. Christopher Jack

    QA, bug testing, etc is a huge process, much more than just 1% of a games development. When people say 99%, they aren’t always being literal, he probably meant that they completed their final build.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. apollyonbob

    @8 If you think about it, there really was only one war just repeated constantly.

    @7 Yeah, I don’t like “anonymous sources” myself. I mean, I’m sure sure LucasArts was totally fucking things up … but there’s basically no way this “99%” claim is anywhere near close to accurate haha. Easy to believe someone speaking common sense.

    @10 Again, if they had really completed their final build, LA would’ve outsourced finishing it, and released it. If they were really that close, LucasArts wouldn’t have just sat on the code. These are the guys that released “Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi” after all.

    Even if LA was too broke to print discs, they couldn’t release digitally? Come on.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    @11 You make a good case.

    #12 1 year ago