The old-school sequel that never was, Star Wars: Battlefront III, would have been “incredible” had it not been canceled just before it was finished, according to former Free Radical Design developer Michael Barclay. Free Radical was responsible for the project’s development before its cancellation in 2008. Barclay, who now works at Naughty Dog as a lead designer, shared his feelings regarding the shut-down project in a response post on Twitter. Quite plainly, he said, “Gamers don’t know what they were robbed of.”
I feel like it’s been long enough now to come out and say Star Wars Battlefront III was gonnae be legit incredible and the fact it got cancelled 2 yards from the finish line is an absolute crime. Gamers don’t know what they were robbed of. https://t.co/zZUu8JR3iV
— Michael Barclay (@MotleyGrue) April 16, 2023
Barclay’s LinkedIn profile lists his time at various studios through the years, including Free Radical. It says he worked on Star Wars: Battlefront III single-player, multiplayer, and mission scripting as a level designer. Barclay isn’t the first to mention the dramatic missed opportunity of Star Wars: Battlefront III being canceled though. Free Radical co-founder Steve Ellis said in a 2012 interview that the game was “99% finished” and only needed “bug fixes.”
The Free Radical team seems disappointed by Star Wars: Battlefront III’s cancellation, but some at LucasArts, the now-defunct company responsible for early Star Wars video games, refuted their claims. Speaking with GameSpot in a separate 2012 interview, an anonymous LucasArts employee alleged that the “99% complete stuff is just bullsh*t.” The person added, “A generous estimate would be 75% of a mediocre game.”
“I was at LucasArts during this time, working on Battlefront 3, and remember it well,” the anonymous employee said. “Everybody from producers to marketing was 100 percent invested in making the relationship work. We were desperate for a next-gen followup to Battlefront (the claim that the project was sabotaged for financial reasons is ludicrous. The [Battlefront] franchise was a huge money maker at the time). When Free Radical continually missed dates and deliveries, [former LucasArts presidents Jim Ward and Darrell Rodriguez] made many ‘good will’ whole or partial milestone payments to keep the project going.”
It’s worth clarifying the Star Wars: Battlefront III Barclay spoke of is different from DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront series EA started in 2015. It received a sequel with Star Wars Battlefront II in 2017, though, poetically, it has yet to receive a third entry as well. Whether or not the Battlefront franchise will go on without ever reaching a third entry remains to be seen.