Despite our infinite sadness that TimeSplitters 4 is not in development right now, at least we have some closure regarding developer Free Radical Design today. Steve Ellis, one of three individuals who left Rare after the completion of GoldenEye 007 on the N64 and founded Free Radical Design, has shed some light on what happened to the UK-based developer – and why we never got Star Wars Battlefront 3, even though Free Radical basically finished it in 2008.
“It was a big thing, we were very excited and for a long time it was going very well,” Ellis told GI.biz in an interview that focuses on the rise of Free Radical and how it eventually became Crytek UK. “That was a big deal for us because it meant putting all our eggs in one basket. It was a critical decision – do we want to bet on LucasArts? And we chose to because things were going as well as they ever had. It was a project that looked like it would probably be the most successful thing we had ever done and they were asking us to make the sequel to it too. It seemed like a no-brainer.” But then things got a bit rocky due to a shift in LucasArts management. Key individuals left the company and suddenly things were looking grim for Free Radical’s Battlefront 3.
“LucasArts’ opinion is that when you launch a game you have to spend big on the marketing and they’re right. But at that time they were, for whatever reason, unable to commit to spending big. They effectively canned a game that was finished.” As of March 2008, Free Radical had a very competent working build. “It was pretty much done, it was in final QA. It had been in final QA for half of 2008, it was just being fixed for release,” Ellis concluded.