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?