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Before development of the long-awaited Star Wars Battlefront 3 collapsed a few years ago, the now-defunct developer Free Radical Design was working on the game and even a successor to a game that wasn't even out.
The studio's co-founder Steve Ellis told GamesIndustry International that the developer held a strong relationship with LucasArts, who are the current IP holder of Star Wars.
"They were big fans of our work, they liked our take on making games, they liked the way we work and they wanted to do this project. It was a big thing, we were very excited and for a long time it was going very well."
At the end of 2007, a year after the deal to work on the game was signed, LucasArts approached Free Radical Design to work on another Battlefront title.
"We were still at that time probably a year out from completing and 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?" he said. "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."
While Lost Planet 3 studio Spark Unlimited is high believed to be developing Star Wars Battlefront 3, it was a mystery as to why the game was halted despite its completion stages. Ellis explained:
"The really good relationship that we'd always had suddenly didn't exist 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."
"It was a change of direction for LucasArts as a company rather than for the games that we were working on," continued Ellis. "I think what had happened was the new management had been bought in to replace the old and given an impossible mandate. 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.
Due to the layoffs and a shift of focus from LucasArts, both Star Wars Battlefront 3 and 4 became cancelled with the former in its final QA stages. Battlefront 4, meanwhile, was at an early tech stage, but Free Radical did hire more employees in order to further its development.
After their time with LucasArts, Activision approached the developer, who were bought by Crytek to form Crytek UK, regarding the creation of the next GoldenEye game.
"As you can imagine that was something that was very well-received by a lot of the staff, it was going to be a great project to work on. But as we jumped at the opportunity it suddenly disappeared. We never got a real explanation about why it disappeared. I suspect it was to do with rights about which platforms a GoldenEye sequel could be released on."