Battlefront III – Contradictory Claims About Completion
Last week, in an interview to GamesTM, Free Radical co-founder Steve Ellis claimed that Battlefront 3 was 99% complete and only needed bug fixing before release, but the financing problems stopped it from finishing the development. However, a few days ago, an anonymous source from LucasArts gave an interview to Gamespot with a completely different view on development progress and the reasons why the game was cancelled.
By anonymous source’s claims, the development was very problematic and Free Radical was constantly falling behind schedule and requiring more financing. There was also a suspicion, that in 2007, developers didn’t have a working Xbox 360 version of their engine, as Haze became PS3 exclusive and that they used funds received from LucasArts to finish Haze, instead of working on Battlefront 3. Haze’s low scores and constant missed milestones in 2008, made publisher doubt the success of BF3 and cancel it. With all that, source says: "A generous estimate would be 75 percent of a mediocre game."
Afterwards, Steve Ellis responded to the anonymous interview, defending his view of the events. He claims that problems with Haze were due to the lack of experience in first years of development for 7th generation consoles and the increase in staff that was required for it. The publishers were giving more financing to Free Radical in 2007 and starting new projects with the developer, which should be considered as a trust in the company’s ability to deliver its projects. Ellis blames the management reorganisation in LucasArts in 2008 for the cancellation, when game was 97%-98% complete and just needed few bug fixes (he has admitted that 99% was a bit of exaggeration). He gives leaked gameplay video and team’s work on Crysis 2 as the proof of game completion and the ability Free Radical had to deliver good games.
As each side blames the other for the cancellation of the game, it’s hard to say what has really caused the cancellation of Battlefront 3. Both give their proofs, but unsuccessful Haze doesn’t automatically mean bad next game, while a montage of gameplay may be cherry-picked to show only the best and working parts of the game. We simply don’t know enough at the moment to be sure.