Battlefront 3 Fan Remake Will Continue, Just Without Any Star Wars in It
As expected, Lucasfilm's lawyers didn't take too kindly to the unlicensed use of the Star Wars IP.
The fan-made project seeking to build a complete version of Star Wars Battlefront III will continue development, but it will no longer leverage the Star Wars IP in any way, its developer has announced.
In a post on its website, Frontwire Studios--which was initially comprised of a group of fans but has since become a development studio--announced that it has met with Lucasfilm and reached an arrangement for its game, Galaxy in Turmoil. This came after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the company's lawyers, a prospect which Frontwire had previously indicated it was not worried about.
"On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, we received a letter from Lucasfilm requesting that we halt production of Galaxy in Turmoil with any Star Wars-related IP at once," Frontwire president Tony Romanelli wrote. "Rather than laying down at the first sign of trouble, I requested a meeting with the Lucasfilm executives to discuss our project and to find some common ground to work with. Honestly, I didn't expect too much negotiation to occur. But much to my surprise, executives at the top of Lucasfilm agreed to meet. A week later, that meeting took place."
Romanelli said he talked by phone with "two of the top decision-makers at Lucasfilm," though he didn't name either of them. The Lucasfilm executives indicated they would have been willing to license the IP to Frontwire, but that it was precluded from doing so due to its arrangement with Electronic Arts. (EA signed a multi-year exclusivity deal for Star Wars games in 2013.) According to Romanelli, Lucasfilm spoke with EA about Galaxy in Turmoil and the publisher was uninterested.
"[EA's] main concern was due to the possibility of Galaxy in Turmoil taking away attention from their Battlefront franchise," Romanelli said. "I tried to pitch the idea about putting Galaxy in Turmoil behind EA's paywall but was told that EA had previously rejected that proposition as well."
Romanelli said he hasn't been able to speak to anyone at EA but noted, "I do not for a second hold any grudge against Electronic Arts and/or Lucasfilm, and neither should our community."
"While I and our attorneys still believe that we fall under the Fair Use law, I have no desire to get into any type of legal battle with Lucasfilm, and lose due to the sheer amount of money Lucasfilm has," he continued. "As a businessman, I have enough respect for other companies and their intellectual properties to not put up a fight that should not be fought in the first place.
"At the end of the day, Star Wars is Lucasfilm's property, and they have every right to request Frontwire stop using their IP, even if we believe that we were within legal limits. In a perfect world, they will see we were team players, and we may just have the chance to work with them in the distant future."
This doesn't spell the end for the Galaxy in Turmoil project, though. The plan now is to create a "Battlefront-inspired game that is not using the Star Wars IP." Romanelli described the goal as being to "create a new, original game in a never-before-seen universe" that still features what was originally pitched: a single-player campaign, 64-player multiplayer, destructible capital ships, and ground-to-space combat. The plan is still to release it through Steam as a free game with no microtransactions.
"When Frontwire Studios makes a promise, we keep it," he said. "With that being said, we will still create the game you have all wanted and deserved, even if it turns out to not be Star Wars-related."
This of course begs the question of how such a project will be funded, to which Romanelli said the plan is to conduct a crowdfunding campaign. This won't begin until after "a fully playable demo consisting of a single-player mission and at least two multiplayer maps with a single gamemode" has been released, though.
Given how early this all is, there's no timetable for when any of this will be released. Frontwire plans to deliver updates on the game's development through its website. Its Steam page, meanwhile, has been updated to remove any of the artwork that directly tied it to Star Wars.
The original version of Battlefront III, which Frontwire initially set out to recreate and complete, was never officially announced, though leaks have revealed what was secretly in development at one point. When it acquired the Star Wars license, EA put Battlefield makers DICE to work on a new Battlefront game, though many fans were disappointed with the end result, which lacked things like a single-player campaign or the ability to transition from ground to space combat. While the game continues to be supported with new DLC, a sequel is also on the way, as are other Star Wars games.
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