Former LucasArts Employee Doubts Battlefront III Claim

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Former LucasArts Employee Doubts Battlefront III Claim

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The anonymous source estimates Battlefront III was nearer 75% done than 99%.

Not that long ago Steve Ellis of Free Radical Design claimed that, when Battlefront III got canned, it was 99% finished. Nonsense, says a former LucasArts employee; it was closer to 75%, and so many target dates had been missed that any confidence LucasArts had in Free Radical was gone.

"I was at LucasArts during this time, working on Battlefront III, and remember it well," says the source, speaking to GameSpot on condition of anonymity. "Everybody from producers to marketing was 100% invested in making the relationship work," the source adds, but Free Radical overestimated its ability to meet dates. Despite good will payments from LucasArts to keep things going, eventually the relationship broke down altogether when LucasArts lost faith in Free Radical's ability to deliver.

In 2008, when Haze met with indifferent reviews and sales, LucasArts became seriously alarmed. LucasArts had thought that the frequently delayed Haze would be a blockbuster, but clearly that wasn't the case; and if Haze was that bad, what would Battlefront III be like? Shortly afterward Battlefront III missed yet another target date, and LucasArts decided to pull the plug.

"I won't though let Steve Ellis whitewash the part that he and Free Radical played," says the source. "I'd suggest that everyone keep this as something tragic to muse over with a beer rather than throwing stones in public."

Steve Ellis has written a lengthy response to the anonymous statement, which can be read here. Among other things, Ellis admits that 99% was probably a bit of an exaggeration."I probably should have said 97% or 98%," Ellis says. Otherwise he refutes the anonymous claims pretty much in their entirety, and stands by his initial statement.

Source: GameSpot

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I will believe the dev over the anonymous lucas arts employee thanks, Lucas Arts has a tendency to be assholes.

I've seen the gameplay videos, it was nearly finished.

The guy won't even leave his name, assuming he's from Lucas Arts at all he clearly knows that any claims he made as a person would be taken apart on seconds. Oh well, desperation moves from the PR department...

Captcha: minced oaths, haha, has Captcha achieved sentience or something?

One source is standing tall and proud while the other cowers behind anonymity. Who are people more likely to trust I wonder?

Yeah let's keep this deplorable failure a secret so Nobody knows what miserable pieces of shit we really are. No need to find-out what actually went wrong, just chalk it up to the instability of the free market (Hallowed be it's name!)

Also it was totally THEIR fault

I just came here because I read Battlefront III. Where is it? I want it! NOW!

I chose to believe we still have a chance. And I hope it's going to turn out better than Duke Nukem...

Sorry but I will believe the developers more than an anonymous source any day. Let's hope that maybe someday it will see the light of day. Hell I guarantee that if they somehow released it for the PS2 it would still be a huge hit. Of course that's just me being optimistic and wanting another PS2 game. Man I love my PS2.

I like how the anonymous source WAS and is NO LONGER a LucasArts employee yet most of the comments here are like, "THE PR DEPARTMENT IS JUST COVERING THEIR ASS!"

At any rate, BF3 isn't coming out anytime soon, LA is doing their thing, Free Radical (Crytek UK) is doing their thing...

There's just no justice, is there?

fix-the-spade:
I've seen the gameplay videos, it was nearly finished.

The guy won't even leave his name, assuming he's from Lucas Arts at all he clearly knows that any claims he made as a person would be taken apart on seconds. Oh well, desperation moves from the PR department...

Captcha: minced oaths, haha, has Captcha achieved sentience or something?

I've seen the gameplay video's, it was nowhere near finished. Just because it has the -majority- of it's graphic assets and engine done doesn't mean it's done.

CardinalPiggles:
One source is standing tall and proud while the other cowers behind anonymity. Who are people more likely to trust I wonder?

Professionalism sometimes means not running your mouth and waving your willy.

TsunamiWombat:
Just because it has the -majority- of it's graphic assets and engine done doesn't mean it's done.

No, but if it's together and working it's well past the 'flailing about building things' stage. The footage is supposedly pre-alpha stage and far removed from the state the game was in when the bell tolled. Whether that's true or not, who knows, a few guys from each side of the argument but certainly not us.

That the whole statement comes from 'some guy' who 'totally used to work for LucasArts' set of my bs alarm. I'd put money on it being someone currently employed within LucsArts (or third party PR company) being told specifically to discredit Ellis. That the 'not LucasArts guy' describes Free Radical as essentially a group of liars and thieves set of alarms too (seriously, the guy describe Free Radical as being like a Ponzi scheme).

They had dropped one massive clanger in Haze, all the games before that were excellent. It all seems a bit odd.

If the guy names himself (and turns out to have held a credible position at LucasArts) then I'll be eating humble pie.

75% or 95%, it was mostly done.

I wonder if the game data still exists...

Ed130:
75% or 95%, it was mostly done.

I wonder if the game data still exists...

LucasArts likely seized and scrapped it's assets. I doubt much of it still remains in any usuable state.

So an annonymous -former- employee comes back to defend an old case in a company that he/she either a) left for own reasons, b) got layed off or c) fired from the company.

b and c really needs no elaboration on why this would seem really, really unlikely and backwards for anyone to come back and defend them (maybe b if they left on good terms but... unlikely). However... if it was a, and in so it was a leave on good terms, why would you not just stand all out and not be annonymous about it. You do not come out to defend someone, while staying hidden, unless you have no special relation to party, or you spite the other party.

...Myeah, excuse me if I am not sceptical about the credibility of an illogical lash out about the whole thing. Not that I am all up with banners and soapboxes behind Free Radical, 99% sounded fishy too, but judging from the leaked footage, it did looked like it was at least going rather well. Not 99%, but pretty good nevertheless.
This seems so backwards and there would be no reason to do this kind of "response", except for either being: a troll, 3rd party hired to sugar coat lucas arts, a current lucas arts employee, someone who has a thorn in the eye of Free Radical or... well, that's pretty much all the reasons I can think of.

If the person comes forth, and all things add up, then I will believe them humbly, but until then, I am about as convinced as if someone told me the world is flat as a board.

I love how everyone is dismissing this guy mostly because his statements disagree with what they despretly want to be true.
I mean its not like Steve Ellis has every reason to want you to think that it was all Lucas Arts fault and absolve his own team of any wrongdoing, right?

Yeah, unfortunately I've going to have to come down on the side of Free Radical. Really? You didn't know that Haze was going to be a bust? Anybody should have been able to tell you that, but Battlefront III is an established franchise with a huge fan base. Just re-skin the first game and I would still give it a 10/10 today.

Plus, when you're leaving behind great games like Battlefront or X-Wing and going with Force Unleashed, there is definitely an issue with the company, not the developer.

It's really too late to do damage control on this. Since this anonymous lucasarts employee is responding at all, he/she just opened the wounds back up and now things are going to get ugly for lucasarts.

josemlopes:
Gamespot already covered the FRD response to this:

http://www.gamespot.com/news/free-radical-cofounder-responds-to-battlefront-iii-claims-6400991

I started reading it and all the way through it I kept thinking, wow he even knows the guy who would say things like this,

"From the personal tone of the comments it is clear that the source is someone whom I personally dealt with. It's unfortunate that they are making this kind of criticism while choosing to remain anonymous."

josemlopes:
Gamespot already covered the FRD response to this:

http://www.gamespot.com/news/free-radical-cofounder-responds-to-battlefront-iii-claims-6400991

Call me picky, but I am really not seeing a rousing or effective defense in those statements. It's clear from reading both sides that the truth lies in the middle. Yes Lucasarts had some major changes, and new people with new priorities, no pre-existing relationships, and high expectations that probably did put undue pressure on the developer.

But really, read between the lines about some of what Ellis is saying in that last commentary. Free Radical obviously did have huge issues regard the tech and platforms, time management, resource management and budget management. And the claims of "well that was only happening over on that other project" ring kinda false. Sorry. I see nothing rebuting the claims of missed deadlines or targets. The mismanagement seen over on the Haze project was probably enough to make the new folks at Lucasarts skitish about what they would be getting in BF III, regardless of whether or not Haze was costing them any money directly. The missed dealines increased that, and whatever final demo's happened apparently failed to wow them. We can debate whether it was a good or bad decision all we want. But these are businesses. And this was a fair business decision to make. Not the one that we fans wanted, but still not outside the lines for a publisher to choose to do.

It doesn't matter if it is our favorite game ever. Before it releases to us it must survive for an extended period of time as the favorite game ever ever ever of someone who is providing the money for it. If the game fails to achieve this, then chances are it will not see release.

Is it weird I don't like COD or Battlefield, but would play another Battlefront game?

99% means nothing. 99% is days away from being gold. I don't know any of the people involved into this discussion, but I don't trust someone whose public opinion is "99% done".

Three quarters done seems far more likely...

*shrugs*

I don't trust any statement give by some one lacking the stones to put their name on it

What I read -> Lucasarts wanted battlefront 3 to come out unfinished like fucking kotor 2 which they destroyed halfway through because it had no ending and missed more than one important sequence due to their glorious deadlines. So screw them, should have been a decent publisher and allowed the game to be finished.

CardinalPiggles:
One source is standing tall and proud while the other cowers behind anonymity. Who are people more likely to trust I wonder?

Neronium:
Sorry but I will believe the developers more than an anonymous source any day. Let's hope that maybe someday it will see the light of day. Hell I guarantee that if they somehow released it for the PS2 it would still be a huge hit. Of course that's just me being optimistic and wanting another PS2 game. Man I love my PS2.

Perhaps you two are not aware of how much of the gaming industry runs on Non-Disclosure Agreements.

Pretty much anything you work on as a developer now, you have to sign an NDA before the publisher will give you any money to develop anything. These mean that if you say anything about a game outside of production that the publisher doesn't want you to, they can successfully take you to court.

It's the reason why no-one within the industry is addressing the current working conditions that have become standard among publishers, the practise of hiring and firing staff, the shitty hours, etc etc. It's also why this guy is probably hiding anonymity. He probably signed an NDA back in the day, and if he started running his mouth off now without anonymity, he'd currently be facing a lengthy court battle from Lucasarts.

At least, that's my reckoning. Because what I've seen of Battlefront 3, while it looked good, did not look anywhere near finished.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

CardinalPiggles:
One source is standing tall and proud while the other cowers behind anonymity. Who are people more likely to trust I wonder?

Neronium:
Sorry but I will believe the developers more than an anonymous source any day. Let's hope that maybe someday it will see the light of day. Hell I guarantee that if they somehow released it for the PS2 it would still be a huge hit. Of course that's just me being optimistic and wanting another PS2 game. Man I love my PS2.

Perhaps you two are not aware of how much of the gaming industry runs on Non-Disclosure Agreements.

Pretty much anything you work on as a developer now, you have to sign an NDA before the publisher will give you any money to develop anything. These mean that if you say anything about a game outside of production that the publisher doesn't want you to, they can successfully take you to court.

It's the reason why no-one within the industry is addressing the current working conditions that have become standard among publishers, the practise of hiring and firing staff, the shitty hours, etc etc. It's also why this guy is probably hiding anonymity. He probably signed an NDA back in the day, and if he started running his mouth off now without anonymity, he'd currently be facing a lengthy court battle from Lucasarts.

At least, that's my reckoning. Because what I've seen of Battlefront 3, while it looked good, did not look anywhere near finished.

And yet Steve Ellis is talking about it? Your logic, me no know? Is he simply willing to take an unnecessary risk?

i remember reading all the reports about this. Battlefront 3 was destined to be a HUGE game. To be MASSIVE and STRAIGHT from ground combat to space. But no console could pull it off.

I just want battlefront back.

LucasArts can burn for destroying such a great series. It could've easily become a decently large thing akin to call of duty or battlefield but y'know, IN SPACE, WITH ALIENS, AND LAZERS, BIG SPACESHIPS, JEDIS! :D

but still retaining the best features it innovated. Anyone who played knows what I mean. Jedi granted to random (? don't remember, been a while) players, able to create squads by picking troops already in the field to follow you (also the ability to tell them to take cover, although that was a bit faulty, they just ran back to you) space battles and cool as hell, many ways to win, classes with usefulness definitely almost as well balanced as Team Fortress 2, etc....

It was fucking glorious. If it only it made it to the xbox 360, it would've absolutely BOOMED.

fix-the-spade:
I've seen the gameplay videos, it was nearly finished.

The guy won't even leave his name, assuming he's from Lucas Arts at all he clearly knows that any claims he made as a person would be taken apart on seconds. Oh well, desperation moves from the PR department...

Captcha: minced oaths, haha, has Captcha achieved sentience or something?

I decided a few months ago that one of the (many) reasons I believe in a God is thanks to Captcha.

It's just irrefutable.

FelixG:
I will believe the dev over the anonymous lucas arts employee thanks, Lucas Arts has a tendency to be assholes.

This, but not because the anonymous guy works for LucasArts.

I find it far more palatable to believe the guy who's willing to put his name next to his statement. Anonymity, especially in a situation like this where the guy wouldn't be facing censure from his boss/company, just takes away from his credibility.

hermes200:
99% means nothing. 99% is days away from being gold. I don't know any of the people involved into this discussion, but I don't trust someone whose public opinion is "99% done".

Three quarters done seems far more likely...

I have a feeling that it's a matter of interpretation. A beta version of a game could arguably be "99%" done, you just haven't ironed out everything or added ALL of the content nad shiz yet. An Alpha version could likewise be considered this way, as normally by the alpha your story, level design, etc. is all complete and you may even have the vast majority of your content done, but it's all the polishing and extras that you probably haven't completed yet (as well as editional play testing and shiz). Meanwhile, someone else could also equally consider that 75%, because while the game itself is more or less complete, the total development of it is not. It's like, I could say that I "finished" writing a book because I just complete ALL of my first rough draft, but anyone who's actually written something considered for serious publication knows that what you end up publishing is usually NOTHING like the final project, with entire chapters often omitted and added by the end.

That's how I view this argument.

Either way, it's odd to me that LucasArts didn't try to keep going anyways.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Perhaps you two are not aware of how much of the gaming industry runs on Non-Disclosure Agreements.

Pretty much anything you work on as a developer now, you have to sign an NDA before the publisher will give you any money to develop anything. These mean that if you say anything about a game outside of production that the publisher doesn't want you to, they can successfully take you to court.

It's the reason why no-one within the industry is addressing the current working conditions that have become standard among publishers, the practise of hiring and firing staff, the shitty hours, etc etc. It's also why this guy is probably hiding anonymity. He probably signed an NDA back in the day, and if he started running his mouth off now without anonymity, he'd currently be facing a lengthy court battle from Lucasarts.

At least, that's my reckoning. Because what I've seen of Battlefront 3, while it looked good, did not look anywhere near finished.

You'd have a point here, except for two things:

1) This kind of statement is never covered by NDAs. There's no reason to, and there's actually legislature in place to prevent such. There are several laws in place to protect whistle-blowers, if necessary.

2) The anonymous source is supporting LucasArts. What kind of retribution would he really have to fear for speaking up in defense of the company he works for? Even if he did violate some incredibly obtuse and ridiculous NDA, he'd be getting sued for defending his company. There's a term for that: "PR Shitstorm". LucasArts would lose massive amounts of face, and a similar loss of revenue. No one in a decision making position would be stupid enough to pull that.

Named, reputable source from Free Radical: "99%"
Anonymous source from LucasArts: "75%"

Now how did that second guy expect to be taken seriously.

(The only reason I would doubt Ellis' claims is that pulling the plug on a 99% complete game with a clearly eager fanbase is beyond a dick move, that's stupidity in one of its purer forms).

MeChaNiZ3D:
Named, reputable source from Free Radical: "99%"
Anonymous source from LucasArts: "75%"

Now how did that second guy expect to be taken seriously.

(The only reason I would doubt Ellis' claims is that pulling the plug on a 99% complete game with a clearly eager fanbase is beyond a dick move, that's stupidity in one of its purer forms).

I can't recall anything intelligently done by LucasArts within the last five years. Even the wikipedia check came back negative. So Ellis is probably right, LucasArts is run by simians?

crimson sickle2:

MeChaNiZ3D:
Named, reputable source from Free Radical: "99%"
Anonymous source from LucasArts: "75%"

Now how did that second guy expect to be taken seriously.

(The only reason I would doubt Ellis' claims is that pulling the plug on a 99% complete game with a clearly eager fanbase is beyond a dick move, that's stupidity in one of its purer forms).

I can't recall anything intelligently done by LucasArts within the last five years. Even the wikipedia check came back negative. So Ellis is probably right, LucasArts is run by simians?

That's as good an explanation as any. I mean...we've all seen the videos. It would take simian intelligence to look past that.

Mimsofthedawg:

hermes200:
99% means nothing. 99% is days away from being gold. I don't know any of the people involved into this discussion, but I don't trust someone whose public opinion is "99% done".

Three quarters done seems far more likely...

I have a feeling that it's a matter of interpretation. A beta version of a game could arguably be "99%" done, you just haven't ironed out everything or added ALL of the content nad shiz yet. An Alpha version could likewise be considered this way, as normally by the alpha your story, level design, etc. is all complete and you may even have the vast majority of your content done, but it's all the polishing and extras that you probably haven't completed yet (as well as editional play testing and shiz). Meanwhile, someone else could also equally consider that 75%, because while the game itself is more or less complete, the total development of it is not. It's like, I could say that I "finished" writing a book because I just complete ALL of my first rough draft, but anyone who's actually written something considered for serious publication knows that what you end up publishing is usually NOTHING like the final project, with entire chapters often omitted and added by the end.

That's how I view this argument.

Either way, it's odd to me that LucasArts didn't try to keep going anyways.

Everything is up to interpretation; but most of the replies on this thread seems to support Ellis and antagonize the LucasArts representative just because they wanted the game, and antagonizing LucasArts is the de facto thing to do.

I have no love for LucasArts since they stopped making anything but Star Wars (like 15 years ago), but Radical argument about 99% makes little sense. No one would pull the trigger after spending years in the production of a game if it really was 99% complete. That number is a buzz word. In project management, it means nothing. Even if the game was in beta, there is a lot more work to do to get to gold than "1%" (and even more if it was alpha).

Gameplay videos means little. How many games have we seen videos or played E3 demos that were months away from release? How about Prey 2? Or the playable demo of God of War 3, nine months before release? I bet that Final Fantasy 13 Versus gameplay looked pretty much done, right? Where did all that work went? Those are just vertical slides of a presentation running on beastly hardware. In a controlled environment, they can make everything look as final as they want...

I am just saying, if I have to guess which percentage was more realistic, 75% seems a lot more down to earth.

FelixG:
I will believe the dev over the anonymous lucas arts employee thanks, Lucas Arts has a tendency to be assholes.

Yes, and...

the main reason Haze sucked is because the publishers of that game wouldn't leave it alone.

It was originally meant to be a deconstruction of military shooters... a bit like Spec Ops: The Line...

but the executives had the writers rewrite everything until the message was gone and the game's story resembled nothing like what was shown in trailers.

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