Ouch, Battlefront 3 Was 99% Done When Cancelled
Nothing is more infuriating than bringing a project through almost to completion, only to have the whole thing cancelled at the last minute. That appears to be the case with the aborted Star Wars: Battlefront III, previously under development by Free Radical.
That game was never officially announced, though rumors and leaked images dating from 2006 suggested the work was underway, and earlier this year, Free Radical Design co-founder Steve Ellis confirmed the project’s existence, saying they were close to completion in 2008, until Lucasarts informed Free Radical that it could not support the marketing budget necessary to sell the game.
How complete was it? Talking to GamesTM (via Now Gamer) Ellis revealed the game was basically done. Like, ready to ship, almost.
“It felt like we had turned a corner as a company,” he said. “We had had a dark period during the development of Haze, we’d had problems with our tech and we’d had some growing pains as we expanded to the size we needed to be, but it really felt like we were finally coming out of the other side intact.
“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. We’d had to build all kinds of new tech and overcome numerous technical challenges and limitations but we had done it.
“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.”
This puts Free Radical’s 2008 collapse into stark relief. In December of that year, it was announced that the developer had gone into administration, laying off 145 employees. Within three months, it had been purchased outright by Crytek, where it now exists as a subsidiary called Crytek UK. Since then the company has thrived making sequels to Crytek’s Crysis series (along with the upcoming sequel to Homefront.) No doubt the rug being pulled out from under them like that contributed to that outcome, and it’s a good reminder of just how tricky things are for developers who aren’t working on Grand Theft Madden Duty games.