When EA Dice’s Star Wars: Battlefront released last year, it was a huge commercial success with critics praising the gameplay, visuals and high production values. But paradise was soon lost when players began to realise that both the single player and multiplayer modes were lacking in content with reports surfacing that the game had a rushed release to cash in on the success of the Force Awakens movie.
Disappointed fans, however, had something to look forward to with Galaxy in Turmoil an unofficial installment based on Free Radical’s abandoned Star Wars: Battlefront 3. The project was picked up by independent developer Frontwire Studios who made headlines when it was announced that Valve had made a distribution agreement and that the game would get a free to play release. Production however came to a temporary halt when Disney’s Lucasfilm division and Electronic Arts issued a cease-and-desist letter to Frontwire Studios on June 22 requesting the studio halt development immediately. The nail was driven further into the coffin when Frontwire on their blog, announced yesterday that they have ceased production.
In the post, Tony Romanelli, president of the company explains that instead of halting production immediately after the cease and desist he arranged for a meeting with the heads at Lucasfilm. In his description of the meeting it seems evident that Lucasfilm was “open to the idea of negotiating a license for Frontwire to work on the Star Wars IP” however they are not able to due to their contract with Electronic Arts (EA). Lucasfilms, it seems, had already pitched the idea to EA only to be turned down with even a release behind EA’s paywall not being considered.
The silver lining seems to come in the form of a completely new IP isolated from the Battlefront universe albeit being an inspired one. Since the code, sounds and many other non-Star Wars assets have been created in-house, it means that they are owned by Frontwire Studios and therefore can be used by them in a completely new IP. The studio plans to use crowdfunding to further help development, however will not do so before they have a playable demo. Romanelli ends the post by releasing a few previously unseen screenshots from the game.