Battlefront III Was '99%' Done When LucasArts Scrapped It

If you didn't already hate LucasArts enough for needlessly cancelling Star Wars: Battlefront III, wait until you hear this: They canned it when the game was "99 per cent finished", said the co-founder of the defunct studio behind the game.

All it needed was "bug fixing", Steve Ellis told gamesTM magazine. That's it. Ellis earlier complained that a change in leadership brought in folks at LucasArts who were less interested in making games and more interested in killing the partnership.

In 2008 Free Radical was looking to rebound from the high-risk, high-concept, low-reward shooter Haze with a proven winner in the Battlefront franchise, and never got the chance. The studio ultimately dissolved and its core assets, including TimeSplitters — a franchise mourned as much as Battlefront — was sold off to Crytek.

"We were making a game with very high ambition. You could start a battle on the ground, jump into a ship and fly into space, continuing on to dock in a capital ship and continue the battle there," Ellis said. An hour's worth of video from this game was leaked back in July before LucasArts KGB'd it.

"We'd had to build all kinds of new tech and overcome numerous technical challenges and limitations but we had done it," he said. Having overcome that challenge plus the morale dent suffered from Haze, all they needed to get back on track was QA for Battlefront III, which it never got.

Free Radical: Battlefront 3 Was 99 per cent Finished [nowGamer]


Comments

    I am crying :(

      Me too.

        Me three :( I love Frd and love battlefront this was a match made In heaven I have no idea how these fuckwits can fund the ouya or whatever that shit is... But nobody has funded a full blown revival of FRD and the licensing to make BF3 a reality, all you gamers are fucked

          hey bro its not as simple as just getting the money the intelectual property no longer belongs to anyone associated with FRD (or in the case of star wars never did) so while it would be nice to have a great dev resurrected they would have to start from scratch.

          also dick move lucasarts seriously what the hell is wrong with you guys.

            also if you think Disney will relinquish their death hold on anything star wars after blowing $4 Bn on it think again.

    You have to wonder which half arsed idiot would do this to a project? I could understand if its not good (which I have no idea either way) but at the 99% mark? bleh..

    Feel even more sorry for the folks who worked at Free Radical.

      If I remember right they didn't can the project by choice, they went belly up.

      I'm sort of having a rough time believing it was just QA then onto the shelves. Didn't the company that brought them say they were going to have to cut a bunch of features (the big one being seamless ground-to-space travel)? Granted it's not easy debugging someone else's stuff but still.

        It got cancelled and they went belly up as a result of it.

        Lucasarts went through huge management changes in the games area so it was more Bobby Kotick types than people who knew the games industry. (not the best comparison, but you get the drift)

          Now I think about it I thought it was Haze that sent them spiraling, then delays on Battlefront III which led LucasArts to hold back on the only funding keeping them afloat.
          I seem to remember some politics being involved with LucasArts pushing to bring everything back in-house, but I still find it hard to believe anyone at LucasArts, particularly someone interested in money more than games, would pull the plug on this when all that was left was the QA. It's one of the most well received, financially successful Star Wars games of the past fifteen years.

          Plus there was the huge cut in features when it moved studios. The ground-to-space transitioning being replaced with a cut-scene being the big one.

    And what do you know? That hour of leaked footage got stopped real quick by Lucasfilm.

    Yeah, I'm sorry, but I call BS on this. If it were truly, demonstrably 99% complete, there is no-one in their right mind who would halt production and kill the product. Simple logic suggests that allowing them to finish the purported "final 1%" would result in huge profits in a relatively short time-frame.

    There isn't a single business-man - when looking at profit-potentiality - wouldn't invest in the completion of a profitable product.

    My belief is that they said "99% done" several times beforehand, never actually producing a product, after which management at LucasArts got annoyed and pulled the plug. I think it's far too easy to blame LucasArts in this debacle rather than looking at it through the lens of logic because they "robbed" us of the game we all wanted.

      You'd be amazed at how many games get cancelled despite being fully playable. "99%" is probably an exaggeration, but games get cancelled post-alpha all the time. It costs a traditional publisher almost as much to market a game as it does to develop it, and if you don't see a market for it, or there's a similar game out there (either from within your own studios or from someone else) that you don't think you can compete with, out comes the axe.

      Sadly it's really not as simple as "put game on shelf, make money".

        They could have sold a number of copies of a turd with "Star Wars Battlefront" on it. This strongly suggests that there were real costs associated with finishing it and they thought it would cost more to finish than they would get back. More than just QA. Studios release buggy, clearly rushed-out-the-door games all the time to try and recoup SOMETHING from the money sunk so far. The fact they didn't do that with a game which would sell just from the name on the box says it wasn't even in a state where they could quickly and cheaply sell a rushed version.

    I remember racking up so many hours on both the first and second battlefront.

    Hearing this just makes me sad. =(

    Hmm then the footage released after the project was scrapped must have been way early on as it looked terrible in near every respect. Animations, textures were very poor and even the AI seemed non existent.
    And as Tadmod has said, seems utter BS. No company would abandon a project at the 99% mark after investing all that time and money.

    You'd think with the outcry Battlefront III has received for it's scrapping would encourage someone to revive it wouldn't you? *R.I.P Battlefront III :(

    Holy shit. They Sam And Max 2'ed it?!

    Considering Battelfront 2 sold like 6 million all formats combined it seems like complete madness, anyway the management team at Lucas arts is completely different now but you have to wonder how hands on the the the bearded one was with is company or if he is just an idiot.
    Hopefully Disney will listen to the demands of the customers more and release:
    1. Battlefront 3
    2. KOTOR 3
    3. new Xwing
    4. New Dark Forces
    Etc.

      Unfortunately, that would be too easy to make the Star Wars games we actually want. They'd rather beat Star Wars into the ground, and then whinge about why it failed... same as Square Enix, who refuse to stop making Final Fantasy 13 games, but wont give us Final Fantasy 15, let alone an Final Fantasy 7 remake...

    All to true about Square-Enix, but at least Lucas Arts is a publicly traded company now with share holders to appease and not a private company.

    Sorry but... I'm rather skeptical of this. Why can a game when it's 99% done in a series that historically has been at least moderately successful financially? I daresay there was more to it that what we are being told.

    They actually released a similar Battlefront on the PSP that actually involved ground war and space war simultaneously (sorry, forgot the name).

    But hearing this again, and worse that it was actually completed it really open an old wound up again.

    I suspect that even if it was 99% finished, the marketing and distribution costs may have made the project unviable. We're also assuming it would have been good - it's possible they saw the 99% complete project and though it was crap.

    This is actually a quite plausible outcome if you've ever worked on a software project. For perspective:
    http://www.kotaku.com.au/2012/06/starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-is-99-complete/

    That was mid-June this year, and the current release date is set at mid-March next year which adds up to another 9 months of development and testing effort after the game is 99% complete. While it's disappointing to hear that a game can be so close to finishing yet be cancelled, if you're short on funds, your choices are to either cut your losses now and divert those funds to a project that makes money, or release now, incurring marketing and distribution costs on a buggy mess that people may not buy, further increasing your losses. This is also not taking into account the deals you have with publishers and investors about milestones (Like with 38 Studios).

    It seems now that so much disgraceful crap has gone on in the videogames industry, that it warrants a few dramatic thriller films based on it.

    The ground-to-vehicle-to-space stuff sounds cool, but he's basically describing Starhawk, which also sounded cool but turned out to be pretty lousy.

    If the project was really that far along then the closed studio would still have the engine and development environment etc. Make a kickstarter and change enough to avoid IP issues. Then release the game and make a killing.

    Look at who is making the claim: a scorned dev. All it needed was bug fixing? Load o' BS. The leaked game footage looked like a first-gen Xbox game. Missing textures; stiff, crappy animations. Seriously. Free Radical has been crying boo for awhile now. I would too if my project got canned, especially one poised to rake in the dough. But it seems apparent Lucasfilm didn't like what they saw and didn't want to blow money on marketing a turd. Seriously. You don't think they didn't want the game to come out? LucasArts desperately needed this game to come out, especially after the disappointing TFU series. Dude at Free Rad needs to move on with life.

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