Aw snap, this Battlefront III business is getting nasty. Yesterday we quoted Free Radical founder Steve Ellis as saying that Star Wars: Battlefront III was “99 percent done” before being squashed by LucasArts. Seemed fairly plausible, but now an anonymous, former high ranking LucasArts employee is striking back (and not sparing a drop of venom in his response).
Hit the jump for the LucasArts side of the story…
“This 99 percent complete stuff is just bulls–t. A generous estimate would be 75 percent of a mediocre game.”
Ouch. But hey, given LucasArts’ recent output they clearly don’t really have anything against mediocre.
On the subject of Free Radical, the former LucasArts employee paints a picture of a studio constantly behind schedule and with a habit of giving misleading progress reports. Battlefront III was originally set for a 2008 release, and yet…
“For much of 2007, Xbox 360 builds simply did not work. Initially, Free Radical claimed it was a US/UK kit difference, but when we asked to FedEx one of their working machines to the US for a build review, they declined.”
Is LucasArts the Empire in this scenario? Hmmm, feels right I think.
Worse, there was suspicion that payments LucasArts was sending Free Radical for Battlefront III, were actually being used to fund the completion of Free Radical’s own original title Haze (which was released in early 2008 and promptly torn to scraps by reviewers). To top it off, while developing both Battlefront III and Haze, Free Radical was also shopping a new version of TimeSplitters to publishers. In other words, there was a lot, probably way too much, on Free Radical’s plate at the time.
“I felt that Free Radical was akin to a Ponzi scheme where time and budget from the next game was being used to finish the previous, late, title.”
According to our LucasArts tipster it was this perpetual lateness, as well as the unfinished game’s poor focus testing, that led to their decision to cancel Free Radical’s version of Battlefront III in October of 2008.
But wait! Steve Ellis isn’t letting LucasArts get the last word. Hit the second page for the Free Radical founder’s counter-attack…