Whatever happened to the Star Wars Battlefront series? It was critically acclaimed, sold like golden hotcakes, and it was a rare boon for the Star Wars brand. So why don't we see it on store shelves anymore?
Free Radical director and co-founder David Doak opened up to Eurogamer to explain the sordid tale of the last 6-7 years of Free Radical's history. Which includes why Haze was a disaster, and why Battlefront 3 ended up canceled even though the gameplay videos looked incredible for the time they were made.
"It was going well," says Doak. "They wanted to massively upgrade the scope, and consequently we were being required to be very ambitious technology-wise - when you see those leaked videos of it you can see it looks spectacular."
In the Battlefront 3 videos, you can see the key hook of the game. The scope was so large that you could be in a gun fight on the ground, then hop into a starfighter and fly off into an aerial battle moments later -- all in real-time.
"We were continually trying to improve that, and it was going well, in fact it was going so well that we were going to make two, and they were letting us do some really interesting stuff with the mythology," Doak continued.
Up until that point, everything had been going fine, but according to the story, things hit the fan when LucasArts brought in a change of leadership. "For a long time we talked of LucasArts as the best relationship we'd ever had with a publisher," Free Radical co-founder Steve Ellis told Eurogamer. "Then in 2008 that disappeared, they were all either fired or left. Then there was a new guy called Darrell Rodriguez [new CEO at LucasArts], who had been brought in to do a job and it was more to do with cost control than making any games. And the games that we were making for them were costly."
The hostile relationship that developed even caused Free Radical employees to make this video lampooning the money-hungry suits at LucasArts.
"And then we went from talking to people who were passionate about making games to talking to psychopaths who insisted on having an unpleasant lawyer in the room,” Doak said.
There's much more to the story, and it's a fascinating glimpse inside the normally opaque developer publisher relationship. Check it out over at Eurogamer.