Craig has been a writer on HubPages since 2013. He is currently studying for Marketing at Nottingham Trent University—in the land of Robin.
Free Radical Design was contracted to make Battlefront 3 back in 2004, and the games release was set for 2005. 10 years later, and EA DICE released Star Wars: Battlefront in 2015 for the next-generation consoles.
Free Radical Design was the Greatest Creative Gaming Developer Back in 2004.
In 2004, Pandemic Studio released their sequel to Star Wars: Battlefront (released in 2003), and this was a very well received game from critics and the gaming community, alike. But, it was Free Radical Design who won the contract to design the following years sequel to Star Wars: Battlefront II, and its title was Star Wars: Battlefront III.
The Star Wars gaming community was overjoyed by the announcement, the PS2 gaming community was ready to embrace the Battlefront III development, but there were rocky roads ahead. Being that I was one of the PS2 gaming community members back in 2004 I too felt the buzzing feel after hearing the announcement for a follow-up to Pandemic’s Battlefront II that released in 2004.
Fear emerged in hearing that a new developer was taking over the series, as Pandemic Studios had won over millions of adoring fans for the series, and they kept true to the original source material from the Star Wars series. In 2004, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith released onto DVD, and the marketing for the DVD got fans of the Battlefront series on the PS2 all the more pumped for the sequel.
The fear emerged as EA (the games publisher) moved away from Pandemic Studios (the original series developer) and crossed into new territory with Free Radical Design. The project went ahead regardless, but the buzz for the Star Wars franchise was shimmering off as movie goers minds were straying from the dark side. Lucas Arts had doubts over the work being done by Free Radical Design, and supposedly had a fallout with the developer. This may have contributed to the scrapping of FRD’s Battlefront 3, but this cannot be confirmed.
Free Radical Design had nearly finished the development of Battlefront 3 when they were ultimately black listed by the EA gaming publisher, and had their Star Wars game sequel cancelled. The communication was all over the place between the two parties, with FRD arguing that EA cancelled their game just 2 weeks before its completion without any warning, and EA argues that it was FRD that lacked the proper approaches in keeping EA up to date on their progress. FRD supposedly didn’t turn up to vital meetings, stopped communication that could go on for months, and this basically led to EA’s dismissal of FRD from all of their contracts, and this meant the cancellation for the Battlefront 3 game.
Regardless, Battlefront fans were distraught back in 2005 after hearing that the entire series progression had been cancelled for good. In 2005, there was a big change in gaming mechanics and graphics, as this was the year when the next-generation console released for the Xbox 360. In a nutshell, gaming publishers and developers at this time were going through all kinds of transitions to keep up to date with the times. This may have contributed to the cancellation of the Battlefront 3 game, and without a developer under contract the series was put onto hiatus. No one saw it coming, and Sony were ill-prepared for the crossover to their own next-generation console.
EA clearly saw the Battlefront series as one that did not require an immediate resolution, so fans for the original two titles that released onto the PS2 in 2003 and 2004 were left to dwindle and die with the last generation console, the PS2. In fairness, as the PS2 console gamers transferred over to the PS3 console nobody cared in the slightest for the games that were big on the PS2 console. All except for those sunny Saturday morning when PS3 console users would scan over their games library on the shelf to be eye met with the PS2 game oldies, and there they are - Battlefront and Battlefront II sat comfortably in PS2 packaging. Only thinking, what happened to the good old days.
Free Radical Design has ultimately failed as a brand developer for video-games, and having been founded in Nottingham, England they have gone through various rebranding exercises and transitions, but neither had helped resurrect the company. But, in 2004, they were a talented developer for the PS2 and Xbox consoles and seemed to have a promising future.
FRD’s first game to develop was TimeSplitters in 2000, and it soon attracted a cult following. In 2002, they released TimeSplitters 2, and the developer was seen to be going places. Certainly a developer to keep an eye out for, and even had a well-received game that released for the PC that slipped under the radar, a solo title - Second Sight in 2004.
It was in 2005 when the developer was meant to make the big push into the peak sight of the video-gaming universe, with FRD’s Star Wars: Battlefront III title. Forces at work would ultimately sidetrack the studio, as Lucas Arts had worries, and the EA publisher made the decision to scrap the game altogether. This, in our opinion, was simply bad luck for the FRD developer, as in 2005 the gaming universe was changing with the announcements for a next-generation console.
Star Wars: Battlefront 3 was a shameful time for EA entertainment, as fans stretched into the millions for the community of gamers who were anticipating the games release. But, Star Wars at the time was adapting into a much bigger universe of its own on the gaming consoles, including such spin-offs as Star Wars: Unleashed, LEGO: Star Wars, and others.
None of this stopped Free Radical Design from releasing their next sequel to TimeSplitters, a game titled TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, and this game was the moment when gaming fans on the PS2 and Xbox realised what could have been had the FRD developer made the Battlefront III game that was due out that same year, in 2005.
The Future for Star Wars: Battlefront - EA decided to keep the development in-house for the 2015 reimagining of the Battlefront series
EA DICE was the team of developers tasked with bringing the Star Wars: Battlefront series back to life in 2015, and they did a heck of a job. The story is definitely Star Wars, so this was sure to bring gamers in from the world over. The online mode was as anticipated… Star Wars current. Clearly, Walt Disney’s acquiring of the Star Wars brand was one that EA wanted to capitalise on for their gaming market.
The problems, however, comes in the plain and simple… that of course being around the fact that this Star Wars: Battlefront game is nothing like the one that we had for the PS2 original Battlefront series. For starters, in the PS2 series for Star Wars: Battlefront the battlefield was clustered with enemy bots that were reeking havoc on the battlefield, and it felt comforting to see so many friendlies heading into battle. It truly felt like an all out war happening on a battlefront that focused on the wars taking place within the Star Wars universe. I am not the most adoring of Star Wars fans, but the love that I had for the PS2 Battlefront series has led to my disappointment for the EA DICE remake in 2015.
Do not fear likeminded people, as Star Wars: Battlefront is back for another round out on the battlefield, as a Battlefront II is due out this year, in 2017. The battles are supposedly more gritty, the battles are going to be more immersive, the battles are going to be more air based/as equally to ground warfare, and the entire game is going to beat what they did with 2015’s Battlefront. Sounds exciting, but this would need to the game that fixes all of the mistakes that the 2015 release made.
For starters, 2015’s DICE Battlefront did not feel like it had enough players on each side, as in the PS2 version there was actual bumping of shoulders with allied players, whereas in the DICE remake version the friendly players are way too scattered to get up close and personal with. The original PS2 version for Battlefront advertised the game as being personal and extremely close for comforting when it came to the vast numbers of friendlies. This equalled out for the number of enemies, and made the game super fun to take to the battlefield in a unique and immersive experience.
Improved graphics, online abilities, online functioning, and the lack thereof offline gaming amongst the gaming community in 2017 is the reason they don’t make video-games like they used to. Back in 2004, when the last game for the old version of Battlefront was made, the only way a gamer could get a good online experience was to play on the PC. This meant that the console experience was honed in to the offline gameplay experiences, and Battlefront was a prime example of substantial footing forward in developing an immersive war world where the battlefields were massive in scope and over-packed with friendlies and enemies.
The problem with gaming on the console in 2017 is that the restraints that were had with online gaming in 2004 are still here in 2017. To create a war world on the console where the maps are enormous, the players on the friendlies and enemies sides enter into the hundreds, the servers would need to be optimised to support this, as otherwise the pixels would collapse, the servers would crash, and the entire functioning would be unplayable for players. The PC is still the stronger and more stable of the two (PC and console) when it comes down to online gaming.
The day when a game like Battlefront has the online capacity like they had in offline capacity for waring in the PS2 version for the series, there will be a hundred million sales for a single game. This has never happened, but with a little imagination, a game that provides the ultimate and most realistic waring experience that has scopes and capabilities coming out of the wazoo, this will be the gaming of the future. Breaking the status quo, isn’t that what made Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google so successful. Perhaps, the only way for this level of gaming to be possible would be for another corporation to enter into the console market, perhaps Google or Apple. We’re thinking Google.
© 2017 Dreammore
ReViewMeMedia on October 05, 2017:
Great article, and yeah, new Battlfront sucks compared to the old ones, they skimped on everything, even Battlefront 2 EA looks like it should have been Battlefront 1 EA, but nope, gotta milk Star Wars fans with microtransactions!