Steve Ellis, co-founder of TimeSplitters developer Free Radial Design, has revealed that the company was working on Star Wars Battlefront 3 and 4 before the studio was snapped up by Crytek.
Speaking with GI International, Ellis said the studio maintained a strong relationship with LucasArts after signing a deal with the Star Wars IP owner in 2006. In fact, LucasArts approached the studio to develop a sequel to the first Battlefront game before the original was even released.
“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,” said Ellis. “It was a big thing, we were very excited and for a long time it was going very well.”
“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? 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."
Ellis went on to detail the reasoning behind the collapse of its relationship with LucasArts, pointing the finger at numerous layoffs and a shift in focus at the Star Wars IP holder in early 2008.
“The really good relationship that we’d always had suddenly didn’t exist anymore,” he explained. “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. 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."
As a result of the crumbling relationship between the two companies, Battlefront 3 and 4 were both scrapped. However, while the latter barely progressed beyond the early tech stage, Battlefront 3 was in a near-complete state.
While Battlefront 3 failed to materialise under Free Radical’s watch, it has been rumored that Spark Unlimited – who is currently working on Lost Planet 3 for Capcom – has now jumped on board the project.
Stay tuned to PSU.com for more details.