A lengthy feature on Eurogamer
looks back at the rise and fall of developer Free Radical games. The article's into states it was once to be called "Did Haze Kill Free Radical," but their research resulted in more of an indictment of mainstream game development in a piece ultimately titled "Free Radical vs. the Monsters." One interested contention, highlighted by GameSpot
, is that LucasArts actually wanted their ambitious plans for Star Wars: Battlefront III
to fail. Here's what he says about the sequel where the idea was that "players could seamlessly transition from a small-scale gunfight into a space battle simply by climbing into a ship and taking off":
But LucasArts began to press hard on other, less quantifiable, issues. "Stalling tactics," says Graeme Norgate. "If a publisher wants to find something that is wrong with a milestone, it's very easy for them to do so as there are so many grey areas within a deliverable. If the contract says, 'Graphics for level X to be release quality,' who can say what's release quality? And there you have it."
"LucasArts hadn't paid us for six months," says Norgate "and were refusing to pass a milestone so we would limp along until the money finally ran out. They knew what they were doing, and six months of free work to pass on to Rebellion wasn't to be sniffed at." Part of the eventual agreement between LucasArts and Free Radical saw certain assets passed on to Rebellion Studios. For a time LucasArts was tempted by the thought of a hastily put together Battlefront 3, but nothing came of it. When presented with the allegations put forth by this investigation, LucasArts said simply that it does not comment on rumour and speculation.
An interview on Rock, Paper, Shotgun
talks with Nels Anderson of Klei about working with EA's Partners program. After EA took some heat for offering an "indie" bundle
, Anderson explains that a lot of those games could not have been created without EA, which some would say is the reason this all doesn't qualify as "indie." Here's one of his comments:
First, all the games in this bundle were published via the EA Partners program. It’s the same group that Valve uses to release their games on consoles. It’s actually a very small group of people within EA and the people that run it are separate from EA’s internal studios.
And it really is a partnership. I never saw anything that could even be vaguely considered creative pressure. EAP got on board with the games because they liked the concepts and the developers! I think they understood that total creative freedom was very important to all the developers involved in these projects.
Happy Cinco de Mayo! And happy birthday Wolfenstein 3D, as id Software's seminal first person shooter was released (brace yourself) 20 years ago today.