Free Radical co-founder says publisher hamstrung development of shooter sequel, was led by "psychopaths who wanted to destroy us."
Several years ago, the Star Wars: Battlefront series had a third game in the works at TimeSplitters studio Free Radical Design, but the project--and soon thereafter the developer itself--was killed by LucasArts. That's just one of the unpleasant allegations made by former Free Radical developers in a Eurogamer feature recapping the studio's entire history.
From mid-2006 through early 2008, Free Radical was working for LucasArts on a new installment in the third-person shooter take on the Star Wars universe. Studio co-founder David Doak told the site things went well with the project until a management change at LucasArts led the publisher to make deep cuts and cancel projects.
"[W]e 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," Doak said.
Free Radical audio director Graeme Norgate said LucasArts's new management essentially sabotaged the Battlefront III project and the studio, withholding milestone payments for months as they contested every detail of what Free Radical was obligated to deliver in order.
"LucasArts hadn't paid us for six months," Norgate said, "and were refusing to pass a milestone so we would limp along until the money finally ran out. They knew what they were doing, and six months of free work to pass on to Rebellion wasn't to be sniffed at." (Rebellion did not end up finishing the project, although some of Free Radical's work was passed on to the studio.)
Doak said Free Radical's contract had provisions that should have protected the studio, but they didn't matter because they would not be able to afford the court costs to win the protracted legal battle with LucasArts necessary to collect on those clauses.
"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," Doak said. "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."
Free Radical entered administration in late 2008, with part of the studio acquired by Crytek and renamed Crytek UK in February of 2009. Doak has since left game development entirely.
Reading and seeing how these big corporate game companies are screwing over all these game developers makes me want to start up my own game studio and bring honor in respect back to an industry I once loved unconditionally.
EA has to the Monsanto of the gaming industry. Destroying the quality of video games 1 game developer at a time, other publishers are following in EA's footsteps.
And to think I wanted to be a game designer. Looks like i should quit school and look for a different career for my future =(
that last sentience kind of up set me.........''Doak has since left game development entirely.''
once dream is now a nightmare. F'in Lucas'so called'Arts......
Ok I've played/beaten BattleFront 1 and 2 I loved them and the first time they released info on swbf3 I was sooooooo happy could'nt wait for it and then it went blank... Now I'm a huge and I mean huge fan of starwars and the force unleshed was cool but Lucisarts it KILLING them selfs and their fans the makeing stuff that's a disgrace to starwars and now I here they sabatoged swbf3 I'm in shock they made some awesome crap plus theres rumors saying their not making a starwars forceunleshed 3 I mean it ended at a cliff hanger...... I'm disgraced!
I know the feeling... I once worked for a game development company for Nintendo DS/DSi (we made Markerman, Clueless Fashion, House M.D., etc...), and the publishers are part of what ran us out of business... late/missed/ignored milestone payments, crazy deadlines, and carefully worded contracts make it very difficult to develop games... I would have loved to delve further into that career.
this is what happens when you think only of cutting costs, profits, and legality people simply become another commodity to be bought, traded, or thrown away. Sadly it's a very successful model unless consumers are informed *cough* EA *cough*
So that's the reason LucasArts games started sucking around 2008. The decline began with the the average The Force Unleashed and has pretty much hit rock bottom with Kinect Star Wars which is just a disgrace to the Star Wars name. Yoda would be ashamed of LucasArts right about now.
I have been a fan of Lucas Arts and their products for a long time! I think back on many fond memories as a child, fighting and adventuring as my favorite characters from Star Wars. Sadly, though i have had my fears, I have lost ALL faith in Lucas Arts. Not only am I upset about the destruction of Battlefront III (which I have waited for many years now), I am furious at Lucas Arts as a company and their dirty business practices. I will NEVER purchase a product with their label on it ever again.
wth is wrong with lucasarts? I know so many people that would have preordered the game, inculding me! When they anounced i would have been one of the first people at the store!
That's a shame -- both Battlefront games were stellar fun, whether in MP, local MP, or even SP with bots (although they could use a little AI help from the Unreal team...). While I don't want to support terrible publishers like "the new LucasArts", it's truly a shame that we'll never see SWBF3.
Sounds like George Lucas allright.
What a scumbag, they worked so hard to make a good game and he spits them right in the face.
The dude quit Gaming because of it, so he allows himself to speak of it. Makes you wonder about what the other studios are gonig through under the hands of publishers like Activision and EA. They have enough power and mnoey to shut anyone up, but I still can't forget the s**t EA has put Crytek workers through.
What a messed up world we live in. It's never about creativity, always about money...
Apparently they dont know George Lucas. Sure. it may look like he wants somethign to fail, but in actuality, he thinks those horrible ideas are good.
I don't understand why Lucasarts would cancel it. It makes absolutely no sense. The game would've made plenty of cash.
That is certainly one side of the story. I doubt LucasArts was trying to lose money. I'd love to hear the 'psychopaths' take on it.
Some of the guys in charge of my favourite pastime really are a lost cause... Those poor guys at Free Radical :(
Brendan is putting his name on the line of everything - in rivalry to EA (used game debate) and Lucasarts (here)! We need to rally up and support his heroic acts!
Though it is unlikely we can help him fend off any potential retaliations, I pray to God justice is achieved eventually.
Yeah, we're going to have you go ahead and miss that milestone and if you could go ahead move your desk back further we're going to need room for these boxes ok?
Gotta love that corporate culture. It's not unique to gaming, and the higher up you go in a corporation, the more pyscho- and sociopaths you find.
It is a shame the world has come to BS like this, oh well as long as we get the game eventually i don't care! I can probably wait a few more years :P
WTF!? WHY!? Battlefront is arguably the best Star Wars series out there.
Its disgusting that this is what cetain Companies are like now.
Disgusting that this is what the gaming industry is like.
Not to worry however, you will find as you probably have been in the last few years that Indie developers have become more prominent and are generally being better supported - this is fantastic because then developers who just want to make good games don't have to worry about all this BS.
And people wonder why economies of the world are failing today... sheesh, if the governments aren't spending more than they can afford, then you have idiots killing companies for no reason. What happened to good, old fashioned elbow grease and PRIDE FOR THE COUNTRY! oops, I think i meant company, oh well...
that sux .....this is what the industry is becoming, its so sickning...Im supporting torchlight instead odf Diablo and small developers like the ARMA series, Counter Strike global offensive over Modern Warfare and Bf3 as much as possible..i dont want to contribute to this awful stuff.
I find myself looking for Indie games first too. Better to support the little guys, it is clear the big guys are a lost cause.
@nyran125 I foresaw, a little while ago now, the gaming community splitting between, for lack of a better words, conscious gamers and unconscious gamers. Better put, gamers who care about the industry as a whole - game quality, business ethics, prices, etc.. and those who couldn't give a flying f@#$ about it as long as they got their gaming fix.
I'm with you on the the whole supporting runic over blizzard thing. I personally think torchlight 2 is looking to be a better game than diablo 3. At least better than the beta was for sure! I just read an article today saying that developers at blizzard that were working on diablo 3 actually wanted to make it either a third person or fps. Luckily one of the leading developers said hell no. That just goes to show that even a lot of developers these days don't even have a clue.. or are just sheepishly following trends. Could you imagine if they made Diablo 3 a FPS. I wonder how many million cupcakes blizzard would get to 'fix it'!
if you want to see a real Star wars FPS..Look up ARMA 2 Star wars mod on You tube, the most realistic star wars looking game ever.
These kind of tyrant 'management changes' take place in all industries. It's just a damn shame when good talented people get disheartened and lose interest in the industry they work in as a result of it. Screw business. The interesting thing about these managers is they think they are saving/making money by 'slaying the goose that lays the golden eggs' but they're actually causing long term harm to the company they work for. But I guess they don't really care.. they're only there for a few years to make share holders happy, add that to their resume, then piss off and destroy another company.
I'd love to see more of these articles focusing on the inner business side of things in the gaming industry. That way I could support good business ethics as well as talent!
I remember when Lucas's Companies were still about integrity, independent design, creative structures and free thinking. It is amazing how they turned into such souless corporate enitities. This just shows that George Lucas has lost everything that made us love his work in the first place.
To me this sounds like a case of sour grapes. They didn't meet some of the dead-lines under the new management and were penalised for it. Under the old management they seemed to have a little more leeway.
That is really a shame. I hate "corporate" people with no vision. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good, creative people in that category, it's just a shame so many of them happen to suck so hard and be totally like 80's guy from Futurama.
Battlefront 3's story will be like the first two games. They don't care what will happen to the series anymore.
Even The Force Unleashed 3 is canceled while the story doesn't yet end. Where's Darth Vader taken to ? or What now that the clone kills Starkiller.
I always wondered why they hadn't come out with a Battlefront 3 yet...I guess I can stop waiting for it now.
That is really too bad, they really were an amazing series of games.
Huh.....that's really interesting. Of course, everything has to be taken lightly, always 400 sides to a story really. Though I wouldn't be surprised if this was really true. Just for what reason is the real question.
that sucks... the game would've been great for next gen consoles... Battlefield 2 was one of the few games I enjoyed on my PSP
Is Lucasarts crazy!? Other then KOTOR i think battlefront is the best star wars game. I remember everyone used to play battlefront and i always wondered why a new one never came out, guess i know now. (Republic Commando is probs tied with battlefront behind KOTOR.)
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