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Dev: Star Wars: Battlefront III Was Done in 2008

According to Free Radical co-founder Steve Ellis, the long-awaited Star Wars: Battlefront III was cancelled due to a “change in philosophy” in LucasArts. Not only that, Ellis states the game was all but finished when the game was canned due to LucasArts being unwilling to back it with a huge marketing push.

Ellis stated:

“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. 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.”

However, the departure of president Jim Ward and product development VP Peter Hirschman in 2008 resulted in a lack of corporate support for the game; Ward and Hirschman had been Free Radical and the game’s biggest backers.

He then added:

“The really good relationship that we’d always had suddenly didn’t exists anymore. 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.”

Even more frustrating for Ellis, Star Wars: Battlefront III was “pretty much done” when it was cancelled.

“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.”

By then, Free Radical had begun development on another project, and never returned to Battlefront III.

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