The other day, Free Radical co-founder Steve Ellis said that Star Wars: Battlefront 3 was 99 percent finished before it was unceremoniously killed by publisher LucasArts—but a former employee of LucasArts who’s remaining anonymous says that the claim is, in a word, “bullshit.” He told GameSpot:
“This 99 percent complete stuff is just bullshit. A generous estimate would be 75 percent of a mediocre game.”
The former LucasArtist also took issue with Ellis’s claims that the publisher wasn’t supporting the project:
“I was at LucasArts during this time, working on Battlefront III, and remember it well. Everybody from producers to marketing was 100 percent invested in making the relationship work. We were desperate for a next-gen followup to Battlefront (the claim that the project was sabotaged for financial reasons is ludicrous. The [Battlefront] franchise was a huge money maker at the time). When Free Radical continually missed dates and deliveries, [former LucasArts presidents Jim Ward and Darrell Rodriguez] made many ‘good will’ whole or partial milestone payments to keep the project going.”
The anonymous source continues to make claims against Free Radical, Ellis, and their work on the project, claiming that they were using funding from LucasArts to work on another game, Haze, which ultimately was released to poor sales and reviews. The source claims that Free Radical’s progress wasn’t as far along as they were trying to convince LucasArts. This, and the “alarming” results of Haze led to the cancelation. The only thing the source holds back on in his comments is his identity—and Steve Ellis offered his own response to this response:
“From the personal tone of the comments it is clear that the source is someone whom I personally dealt with. It’s unfortunate that they are making this kind of criticism while choosing to remain anonymous. […]
The allegation that we used the LucasArts money to fund the completion of Haze is false. Aside from anything else, we didn’t need to. When Haze slipped, Ubisoft supported us by increasing the dev budget to cover the extra time. The ironic thing about this allegation though, is that just about every publisher we worked with would simultaneously worry that we might spend their money elsewhere, but they would invariably ask us to move resources from another project onto theirs. Our answer was always the same: ‘If we do that for you now, how do you know we won’t do it for someone else later?.’ They never liked it, but it seemed like the only way to treat everyone fairly.”
The whole thing is quickly spiraling into crazy-town. For my part, I’m not sure who to believe…no one can know what it’s like on the other side of the fence, so it’s possible both these sources have their points of view that are totally truthful…even if they don’t line up. And, interestingly, all for a game that’s been in the garbage for years now. Is this really the best use of their time? I mean, look, it is entertaining. Stuff like this is why people watch reality television.
Make sure to head over to the source below and get the full blow-by-blow.