The gaming world may never get Star Wars: Battlefront III, but Free Radical Design's co-founder Steve Ellis reveals what could have been. In a recent interview, Ellis said the game was "99% finished," needed bug fixing, and the studio could have "turned a corner" after the debacle known as Haze.
It felt like we had turned a corner as a company. We had had a dark period during the development of Haze, we'd had problems with our tech and we'd had some growing pains as we expanded to the size we needed to be, but it really felt like we were finally coming out of the other side intact.
Battlefront III was set to be the most ambitious game of the series yet, with the ability to fight on a planet on foot, then fly into space and land on a capital ship to continue the battle. Free Radical had designed a brand new technology to make that possible and overcame a wealth of limitations in the process, but it never got to see the light of day. Some leaked footage has appeared online to show what could have been, and Ellis is at least happy about the positive reaction.
We had a 99% finished game that just needed bug fixing for release. It should have been our most successful game, but it was cancelled for financial reasons. I'm happy that people did at least get to see what we were working on and share the team's enthusiasm for it.
Former project manager at Free Radical, Martin Wakeley, said the studio's relationship with LucasArts was fading fast due to changes in the latter's leadership. It's a possible insight into why Battlefront III was never released, but either way, something changed and a nearly finished game was shelved.
Star Wars: Battlefront III was never officially confirmed by LucasArts, but it was in development at Free Radical back in 2006. The studio lost the game just two years later and LucasArts was rumored to have been shopping it to a couple of other studios, like Pandemic and Rebellion. However, nothing came out of any of that, except for Rebellion's Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron in 2009 for the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.