I want to play Star Wars: Battlefront III. We've seen enough of the game in action, I'd like to think that some day soon it'll be in a playable state, in my hands, in my living room. Is that too much to ask for? Free Radical co-founder David Doak said that while that was their mission, LucasArts was just plain unreasonable all along the way.
Speaking with Eurogamer, Doak calls Battlefront III a dream job, an "ambitious" project where for two years of development, all signs pointed towards the Deathstar being destroyed and a kiss from your sister as a reward. That is… until the Empire took over at IP owner LucasArts:
We began thinking that the dates were looking a bit tight… so we though we'd do what we had never done before and let LucasArts know our concerns. Because LucasArts had been so good to work with, we thought they'd see the sense of what we were saying. And that coincided with [then LucasArts president] Jim Ward not being there one day.
Still, do, or do not. There is no try, right? When heads roll, you gotta roll with the… force… or something:
We still thought we'd done the right thing. 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…. My role at Free Radical meant that I was simultaneously involved in these unpleasant "high level" discussions with psychopaths who wanted to destroy us, and then the next day sitting with our dev staff at their desks trying to boost people's morale. Helping them to pass milestones that I knew would subsequently be manipulated to cause them to fail. It was the most depressing and pointless thing that I have ever been involved in. The dream job which I once loved had become a nightmarish torture.
Of course we know that the Jedi's don't prevail in this story, with Free Radical shutting their doors and assets getting picked up by Crytek. Now, excuse me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Battlefront games always sell pretty well? Why wouldn't you let the team do what they needed to do to continue assuring quality and revenue on a series that made so many fans and gamers happy?
What sense does any of that make? Unfortunately, LucasArts isn't doing so well either, but it's a shame Free Radical, the developers of Timesplitters 2, one of the best multiplayer shooters of all time, got caught in the laser fire.