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mclem
Member
(04-02-2012, 08:04 PM)

Originally Posted by Visualante2

Guess that rumour about Rebellion doing it was bullshit then...

Not *exactly*...

Shiggy did actually gently prompt me about this in PMs a little while back, so I've been putting it together and waiting for a convenient time to post it without taking a thread all for myself, and this looks about as good as any.

First, a little background: I was a Rebellion employee up until a couple of years ago. I worked on Battlefront: Elite Squadron, and so had first-hand experience of the events behind the scenes - at least, from one angle. I was laid off after the following project I was put on failed to get traction with its publisher. There's still a lot of great people working there, I wish them well!

It's *very* important, before we start, to specify that this is only *how I understood matters*. This is the information that was presented to me as a rank-and-file Rebellion employee. I'd be very curious to hear if this meshes up with the viewpoint of someone on the Free Radical side, or if someone along the chain of information was embellishing the actual truth. I wasn't all that important, I'm not privy to the major meetings and decisions. My recollection may be imperfect, too; it's been a couple of years, now.

In short: Please don't regard this as incontrovertible fact.

With those disclaimers out of the way:

Rebellion was signed up to produce PS2 and PSP versions of Battlefront 3; Free Radical, as you all know, was working on the next-gen (as it was then) versions. We'd work on hand-me-downs of assets from Free Radical (who, I believe, had had a while's head start?) to downgrade them to PS2/PSP quality and get them running on our builds. We were expected to mimic FR's game as best as we could given the weaknesses of the platforms we were developing on.

For whatever reason, Free Radical appeared to be having development problems. We weren't actually *receiving* the assets we needed to work with in a timely fashion, and what I heard about their builds was that they were looking mediocre, particularly for the development time which was being spent on them. That was in turn affecting our schedule; eventually we reached a point where we started to have to diverge from their design simply by virtue of the fact that we needed to keep working on *something*.

Increasingly, too, I got the impression that Lucasarts were unimpressed with FR's lack of progress. Rebellion were indeed planning to pitch to take over the project - those stories are true - but I got a very strong impression that FR's version was *already* dead in the water prior to that; given the timing of the cancellation announcement, I believe that Rebellion's pitch was more an attempt to save the game rather than to steal it. I'm biased, I admit, but it was so rapid a changeover that I have to surmise that Lucasarts' mind was already made up about the next-gen project.

Ultimately, Rebellion's Battlefront 3 became the PSP-only Elite Squadron. For a time we thought they were still going to go through with the PS2 version as well but at some point along the line that got canned in favour of presenting it as a side-game and a natural followon from Renegade Squadron.

My theory - and I must stress that this is entirely my own supposition - is that the vertical battlefield that was meant to be the lynchpin of the new Battlefront on next-gen was proving too ambitious to implement. I'm curious whether it was something that Lucasarts considered non-negotiable.

I should add that that wasn't the first attempted takeover, either. There were two distinct console versions of Black Hawk Down - Rebellion working on PS2, Climax (I believe?) doing the Xbox version. Rebellion produced a sample level of the PS2 version running on Xbox to try to convince Novalogic to change their plans, although Novalogic in that instance stuck with the original developer. I don't know if Novalogic actually saw the demo that was produced or if it was in-house only to see if it was worth pursuing. It's important to indicate that I wasn't aware of any development problems at Climax for that one, however - which isn't to say there weren't any. For what it's worth, the PS2 version was *much* better-recieved than the Xbox one!
Last edited by mclem; 04-04-2012 at 01:56 PM.