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Star Wars: Battlefront 3 canceled due to 'change of direction' at LucasArts, dev claims

Free Radical co-founder Steve Ellis shares details on how shifts at LucasArts and failing milestones led to the cancellation of Star Wars Battlefront 3.

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Despite a good deal of buzz and fan expectations, Star Wars: Battlefront 3 never materialized. We've seen bits of the game through leaked media and alpha footage, but the game never found release. Free Radical co-founder Steve Ellis has finally shared more detail on just what happened to the project.

"We were still at that time probably a year out from releasing the first game and they asked us to sign up for the sequel," Ellis told Games Industry International. "That was a big deal for us because it meant putting all our eggs in one basket. It was a critical decision - do we want to bet on LucasArts? And we chose to because things were going as well as they ever had. It was a project that looked like it would probably be the most successful thing we had ever done and they were asking us to make the sequel to it too. It seemed like a no-brainer."

But the deal between the companies was bolstered by a strong relationship between Free Radical and key LucasArts figures: president Jim Ward and product development VP Peter Hirschman. After internal changes resulted in both of them leaving the company in 2008, everything had changed.

"The really good relationship that we'd always had suddenly didn't exists anymore," Ellis said. "They brought in new people to replace them and all of a sudden we were failing milestones. That's not to say there were no problems with the work we were doing because on a project that size inevitably there will be, there's always going to be grey areas were things can either pass or fail. And all of a sudden we were failing milestones, payments were being delayed and that kind of thing."

He says the new management at LucasArts was a "change of direction" for the company. "It was a financial decision basically and the only way they could achieve what they had been told to do was to can some games and get rid of a bunch of staff. So that's what they did but it was quite a long, drawn out process."

Ellis says the first contracted game was "pretty much done" and in final QA, and just needed some more tweaking before release. "LucasArts' opinion is that when you launch a game you have to spend big on the marketing and they're right. But at that time they were, for whatever reason, unable to commit to spending big. They effectively canned a game that was finished." Plus, Free Radical had already staffed up for its second project, and had to lay off those staff members too.

The project has been dead for years without signs of a revival, despite early rumors of a new developer. But at least now Battlefront fans can know more about how the project sunk.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 26, 2012 9:45 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Star Wars: Battlefront 3 canceled due to 'change of direction' at LucasArts, dev claims.

    Free Radical co-founder Steve Ellis shares details on how shifts at LucasArts and failing milestones led to the cancellation of Star Wars Battlefront 3.

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      April 26, 2012 9:46 AM

      This is the most dis-heartening news I've heard this year so far.

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        April 26, 2012 10:23 AM

        I wouldn't be so negative, after all, knowing Lucas Arts, the unnamed canned game was probably "Jar Jar's Gungan Wakeboarding"

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      April 26, 2012 9:58 AM

      change of direction, meaning flipping the switch from suck to blow

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        April 26, 2012 2:55 PM

        No, they're stopping all production on flashy 3D action and shooter games to concentrate on 2D Adventure Games.

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      April 26, 2012 9:58 AM

      Hell I thought it was canceled years ago.

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        April 26, 2012 10:12 AM

        This is what I feel. Pure soul wrenching loss D:

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      April 26, 2012 10:08 AM

      Nice the news of all that got out eventually :)

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      April 26, 2012 10:15 AM

      Don't they change direction over there a couple times a week?

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        April 26, 2012 10:41 AM

        Pretty much. They're a fucking mess. There was a period a couple of years back where they were interested in adventure games and did remakes and rereleased games and then they switched management and dropped interest suddenly. Whoever they have in charge now is an idiot. The company is basically on life support and can't really make new games but they won't do anything with older ones either.

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          April 26, 2012 12:08 PM

          remember that cool monkey island remake they did with commentary? that was awesome.

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      April 26, 2012 10:18 AM

      ya the shift to Kinect only games. fuck u lucas arts

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      April 26, 2012 10:36 AM

      So if I'm understanding this right they weren't willing to put money behind one of their most successful game franchises, one in which gamers were clamoring to get a modern sequel of??

      Yup, I was right when I first said Lucas Arts don't like making easy bundles of money

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      April 26, 2012 10:40 AM

      [deleted]

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      April 26, 2012 10:45 AM

      star wars: dance front 3 however is on track.

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      April 26, 2012 11:11 AM

      lol - someone should get a price tag from Lucas for the complete Starwars IP -- then start a kickstarter to buy it from him.

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        April 26, 2012 11:16 AM

        100 gajillion rupees

        lucas has more money than god there isnt a price that would get him to sell. plus it's much more fun trolling star wars fans

        "maybe jar jar should be a jedi"

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      April 26, 2012 11:21 AM

      Damn ... the Battlefront games were pretty fun

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        April 26, 2012 2:56 PM

        I loved #2 a lot. I'm happy I bought it at launch because that community dried up quick.

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      April 26, 2012 12:07 PM

      Dammit Lucasarts if you're going to do it, DO IT!

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      April 26, 2012 12:47 PM

      Financing wise, this industry is FUCKED

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      April 26, 2012 5:22 PM

      With so many changes of direction at LucasArts...its amazing they haven't managed to stumble upon a good direction since the 90's.

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        April 27, 2012 7:21 AM

        It comes down to a core pursuit.. "Is the game FUN?" and the willingness to scrap all the work you have done and start over if it isn't. Until then being a game developer isn't a primary goal.

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