Star Wars: Battlefront 3's "99 percent done" claim contested by ex-LucasArts employee
A former LucasArts employee has called into question the claims made last week by Free Radical's co-founder, Steve Ellis, that Battlefront 3 was "a 99% finished game that just needed bug fixing for release."
Speaking to Gamespot, the anonymous source said, "this 99 percent complete stuff is just bullshit. A generous estimate would be 75 percent of a mediocre game."
The source makes some damning claims, going so far to compare the developer to a "Ponzi scheme". "At this point, I felt that Free Radical was akin to a Ponzi scheme where time and budget from the next game was being used to finish the previous, late, title," he said, referring to Free Radical's PS3 exclusive, Haze.
The source alleges that Free Radical were missing major Battlefront 3 milestones, that several game modes were never implemented and that the game's maps "generally tested poorly with no focus for action."
"The failure of Battlefront III was tragic for everyone involved, not least the fans," he finished. "There's a lot of blame to go around and many different perspectives. I won't though let Steve Ellis whitewash the part that he and Free Radical played. I'd suggest that everyone keep this as something tragic to muse over with a beer rather than throwing stones in public."
But Steve Ellis has hit out against these accusations in a lengthy and detailed rebuttal, posted in full by Gamespot. "What annoys me about the article is that I personally am accused of a whitewash, which is nonsense," Ellis writes, stating that he had been entirely open about the problems that the Free Radical had been facing at the time.
He also strongly rejects the claim that the company used LucasArts money to fund development of Haze, and argues that Free Radical had a positive and honest relationship with LucasArts.
Ellis goes on to suggest that the publisher's own hiring of the developer to work on Battlefront 4 was "a pretty strong vote of confidence in us, not the actions of a company that was concerned about our abilities to deliver on such an important project."
"If the problem really was that we had failed to meet their desperate need for a new Battlefront game," he continues, "you might ask why after all this time they still haven't released a new Battlefront game using a different developer. I can only speculate."
He finishes by hitting out at the lack of evidence provided by the source. "As the 'anonymous source' says, there are two sides to every argument. However, it's easy to make anonymous allegations and not have to back them up. I stand by everything I've said."
"All I've ever tried to do is explain the series of events that led to the failure of Free Radical. We were not perfect. We made mistakes, but third-parties had a hand in our failure. Personally I am very proud of the efforts made by the former staff of Free Radical through 2008. They are an incredibly talented group of people who through no fault of their own found themselves in a no-win situation. I'm happy that most of them have had the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities subsequently on games such as Crysis 2."