Star Wars: Battlefront III has long been the subject of great rumor and speculation. Despite numerous and detailed attestments to its existence and development, LucasArts never confirmed the game was in fact in production. The most recent claim about the project came from Free Radical Design cofounder Steve Ellis, who said last week that Battlefront III was 99 percent complete at the time of its cancellation. But this claim has been contested.
“This 99 percent complete stuff is just bullsh*t,” a former LucasArts employee who wished to remain nameless told GameSpot. “A generous estimate would be 75 percent of a mediocre game.”
The source also took issue with Free Radical cofounder David Doak and audio director Graeme Norgate’s claims this summer that LucasArts effectively sabotaged development of Battlefront III. “There are two sides to every story,” the source said.
“I was at LucasArts during this time, working on Battlefront III, and remember it well. Everybody from producers to marketing was 100 percent invested in making the relationship work,” the source said. “We were desperate for a next-gen followup to Battlefront (the claim that the project was sabotaged for financial reasons is ludicrous. The [Battlefront] franchise was a huge money maker at the time). When Free Radical continually missed dates and deliveries, [former LucasArts presidents Jim Ward and Darrell Rodriguez] made many ‘good will’ whole or partial milestone payments to keep the project going.”
The situation surrounding Battlefront III may seem complex or convoluted, but according to the source, the game was a failure for three simple reasons. The first, he said, was that Free Radical’s sci-fi shooter Haze was late by more than a year, and this took resources away from the first half of Battlefront III’s development.
Second, it is the source’s belief that Free Radical “underestimated” or “misrepresented” its ability to meet dates and create a compelling product. And third, the situation became even more problematic when Free Radical missed new assigned dates. “This was a huge confidence killer and ultimately their downfall,” he said.
The source was employed at LucasArts during the production of thePandemic Studios-developed Star Wars: Battlefront games. He said that as is the case with most developers, Pandemic at times underestimated its ability to meet dates. However, unlike Free Radical, they “were upfront about it.”