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.

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14 Comments on Ouch, Battlefront 3 Was 99% Done When Cancelled

Ed

On December 1, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Why tell us this?! It’s torture!!

Maay

On December 2, 2012 at 3:59 am

Was it sent to digital shredders ? Or is there a chance it could be offered as, say, open source, and some could pick it up where it was left of ?

Axetwin

On December 2, 2012 at 4:17 am

@ Maay – If Lucasarts doesnt want it out, then it wont come out. There is no chance of the company releasing it anyway. I mean, hell, look at KOTOR 2. LucasArts was the one that forced Obsidian to release the game before it was finished and then never let them finish the game in post release at least for the PC.

Mr Glassback

On December 2, 2012 at 4:37 am

This game would have made money without a huge marketing campaign. There were enough fans of the first two Battlefronts for word of mouth to be sufficient. Another example of corporate headary.
(Unless it was actually crap and Lucasarts were sparing their feelings)

Huge Balls

On December 2, 2012 at 5:29 am

For every Sleeping Dogs, you get about twenty of these. Myopic greed and a complete lack of knowledge of the industry leads to stupid decisions, as we’ve all become far too accustomed to this year sadly.

max

On December 2, 2012 at 9:47 am

WTF……………….. they should seriously deserve to be *ucking punished for that…. if it was only for me id say shot on sight, but the law is more mercy full, so Jail For LIFE…

max

On December 2, 2012 at 11:23 am

lol… imagine what would of happened if they said back in the days, we cancelled Star wars 6 movie(was movie 3 in the days) and it was 99% completed.

Derek

On December 2, 2012 at 11:45 am

I wish Disney would just throw down the cash and push it to release.

Lacial

On December 2, 2012 at 11:50 am

max – I wish they would have done that with Episodes 1-3.

Bruce

On December 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Dear Disney,

Want to start recouping you investment right away? Give the Crytek UK team a million bucks and two months.

Red Menace

On December 2, 2012 at 6:12 pm

I’m not sure what is worse, Battlefront 3 being almost finished or that they’re making a sequel to Homefront.

Sam Handwich

On December 3, 2012 at 7:32 am

Red Menace – the worst part is that the majority won’t give a stuff.

Ares

On December 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm

If it was so close to being shipped why not be allowed to put in that little extra time to put it out the door. Then the developer along with Lucas Arts could have made some income off the project. Really silly to cancel something that far along.

Knobb

On December 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm

How much did they really need for marketing? It seems like a bigger waste to spend all that money in development and do nothing with the product. Battlefront has a pretty die hard fanbase, the Internet would take care of the marketing.