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Frontwire Studios has been receiving a lot of press lately for their take on Star Wars: Battlefront 3. No, it's not an official game, it's an unofficial successor to Free Radical's cancelled project and it's called Galaxy In Turmoil. Some legal experts think it's a recipe for disaster.
Speaking with Game Informer, Ryan Morrison of the Morrison / Lee Fair Use Protection Account, explained to them that despite Galaxy In Turmoil not using the actual Star Wars name in its title and despite claiming to be a parody and thus is protected in Fair Use, Morrison notes that that's not actually the case, stating...
You would be hard pressed to find a stronger advocate for fair use on the internet than myself, but this game is in no way fair use, […] It actually infuriates me to see people spreading such terrible misinformation throughout various websites, especially journalists, because it encourages other developers to do the same. It quite literally ruins lives. It doesn't take more than a five second Google search to see this game has nothing to do with parody law. And if you further examine fair use, you will see it is a defense, not a right.
According to Morrison, the only safe haven for the project is that it's going to be distributed for free. Not charging for the Star Wars: Battlefront knockoff doesn't necessitate that Frontwire is safe from the long arm of Disney and Electronic Arts' lawyers.
Morrison further stated that directly ripping off the assets will surely put Frontwire in trouble. However, Morrison is incorrect in his assessment about Frontwire utilizing “every asset of the original” given that the team working on Galaxy In Turmoil are building everything from scratch.
They have a team of around 50 people working on the project and they're teaching newcomers to help them grow and understand game design. According to the article, Frontwire's president Tony Romanelli has the team working on everything from the ground-up, stating...
We're re-imagining a lot of what Star Wars is as well by creating everything from the ground up. This includes models, textures, sounds, etc. In addition, we're actually using this as a tool for educational purposes. We're not sticklers about who can help us. As long as you have a working understanding of your craft and you are open to learning from those more experienced, we'll teach you along the way.
Romanelli has already sought legal counsel and they've already informed him that the project is safe. Furthermore, he states that Valve has agreed to distribute this Star Wars: Battlefront re-imagining on Steam... for free.
Valve is known for helping and hosting an ecosystem that fosters growth and creativity. The only problem is that just about everyone across the internet believes that both Disney and Electronic Arts will not be as accommodating. In fact, most people believe that even if Disney doesn't sic their lawyers on Frontwire for copyright infringement, Electronic Arts will sic their lawyers on Frontwire since they've entered into a multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership with Disney to exclusively produce Star Wars games.
Gamers are already excited about this Star Wars title, feeling as if it could be a nice, fun throwback to the Star Wars: Battlefront games that were made by Pandemic. Gamers also believe that EA will be quick in wanting to shut down this new project because if it turns out to be more fun than DICE's Star Wars: Battlefront they can't afford to have a free game on the market taking all the wind out of their sails.
There's no ETA on the release of Galaxy In Turmoil but Frontwire expects a beta to be available sometime within the next nine months.