It’s been a long, long time since Star Wars Battlefront 3 was confirmed dead in the water, but stories about the game it could have been continue to bubble up. The latest comes from former Free Radical Design level and mission designer Michael Barclay, who has indicated that the game may have been further along than anyone realised.
Yes, for clarification, we’re talking about Star Wars Battlefront 3, the 2008 threequel to Free Radical’s original Battlefront series from 2008, not the also cancelled Star Wars Battlefront III, which was part of a franchise reboot by DICE that began in 2015.
Barclay’s Battlefront 3 story came in reply to a Twitter thread that asked game developers to describe “the one that got away,” a project or IP they’d worked on or courted that seemed as though it was within arm’s reach until it wasn’t.
“I feel like it’s been long enough now to come out and say Star Wars Battlefront III was gonnae be legit incredible and the fact it got cancelled 2 yards from the finish line is an absolute crime.” wrote Barclay, who these days works as a Lead Designer at Naughty Dog. “Gamers don’t know what they were robbed of.”
I feel like it’s been long enough now to come out and say Star Wars Battlefront III was gonnae be legit incredible and the fact it got cancelled 2 yards from the finish line is an absolute crime. Gamers don’t know what they were robbed of. https://t.co/zZUu8JR3iV
— Michael Barclay (@MotleyGrue) April 16, 2023
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the fate of Star Wars Battlefront 3 from people who worked on it. Free Radical co-founder Steve Ellis also told Gamespot’s Eddie Makuch back in 2012 that the game was “99% done.” As Makuch continued to report on the story, Ellis’ statements were disputed by other employees who believed the game was closer to 75% done at the time of its axing, stating that they felt Free Radical had been in bad shape. An incensed Ellis fired back, and the war of words ended with the shuttering of LucasArts a short time after.
Plenty of footage from Star Wars Battlefront 3 has found its way online over the years. The game looked as though it it built on the foundations of the first two, extremely popular titles, but even those who worked on it feel it was “mediocre” compared to its two predecessors. Perhaps one day a playable build will find its way online for preservation. Until then, all we can do is remember the good times, fighting pitched battles in familiar locales from a galaxy far, far away.
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