Before Star Wars: Battlefront, there was Star Wars: Battlefront 3, in development at Free Radical Design for a couple of years before the whole thing was canceled in late 2008. A few months ago, die-hard fans set about resurrecting the project, based on the work that was completed, as Galaxy in Turmoil. But the heavy use of Star Wars assets, which developer Frontwire Studios obviously does not own, meant the game couldn't be offered on Steam. Or could it?
The developers announced earlier this week that, yes, actually, it can, thanks to a distribution deal with Valve that will allow Galaxy in Turmoil to be released free on Steam. “While this is undoubtedly a big step and accomplishment for Frontwire Studios itself, it’s an even bigger step for you, the community,” Frontwire President Tony Romanelli wrote. “By Steam agreeing to ship Galaxy in Turmoil we are not only adding more validation and awareness to the project by opening up the game to a whole new audience, we’re also cementing Frontwire Studios’ reputation as an up and coming developer with the opportunity to now publish our games on Steam in the future. This will help us ultimately achieve our goal of making the games that you, the community want.”
There's still the possibility that Disney, which does own Star Wars, could clobber the whole thing with a cease and desist order, but while Romanelli admits to having “mild concerns” about such an outcome, they're apparently eased somewhat by the fact that Valve “clearly lacks that same concern. By agreeing to publish Galaxy in Turmoil, Valve is assisting us in growing and ensuring the longevity of the Galaxy in Turmoil project and community as a whole.”
That's a pretty thin rope upon which to hang your ambitions and dreams, and in a follow-up posted today, Romanelli clarified that Valve is not officially supporting the project in any way, and that the distribution agreement does not give it any sort of defense against a C&D from Disney. He also said that the team has reached out to Disney's licensing department twice, but has not received a response.
“We are more than willing to negotiate a deal with EA and/or Disney directly. Even if that means finishing our game and then placing it under their control,” he wrote. “Our development is not about us. It’s not about making a name for Frontwire. It’s about resurrecting the memories and feelings we all loved and cherished when we played the original two Battlefront games.”
There's no word on a release date at this point, but you can follow along with the fun at frontwirestudios.com.
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