Free Radical co-founders David Doak and Steve Ellis and former audio director Graeme Norgate have been chatting to Eurogamer about Star Wars: Battlefront 3, revealing the chain of unsavory events that led to its cancellation. According to the developers, “psychopaths” at LucasArts colluded to screw them over.
Doak said things turned sour when Jim Ward stepped down as president of the publisher and Darrell Rodriguez took over. Rodriquez was, allegedly, quite unsupportive of Free Radical’s project.
“It was worrying,” revealed Doak, “but it didn’t seem like it would be a bad thing. And then we 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.”
Norgate claimed that LucasArts started looking for reasons to push the game back: “If a publisher wants to find something that is wrong with a milestone, it’s very easy for them to do so as there are so many grey areas within a deliverable. If the contract says, ‘graphics for level X to be release quality,’ who can say what’s release quality? And there you have it … We hadn’t been paid for six months.”
“In many ways it was a depressing farce talking to them,” added Doak. “They had an agenda motivated by purely financial concerns. Their goal was to stop doing it. And it didn’t matter that we had a contract that protected us.”
Ellis concluded that “your contract is only worth as much as how far you can pursue it in court.”
That certainly sounds like a modern videogame publisher. The day more studios cut them loose can’t come quickly enough.