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Author Topic: The Death of Free Radical (And Battlefront 3)  (Read 969 times)
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Bullwinkle
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« on: May 04, 2012, 03:33:01 PM »

There's a great article on Eurogamer called Free Radical vs The Monsters.

It follows the rise and fall of the company.  It will further your hatred of "suits" of course, but the saddest part comes when it comes to Battlefront 3 and what might have been.  What should have been.  Hell, what practically was (it was almost finished).  Here's a link to a leaked video that will make you cry.  

The article doesn't go into it much, but they were even doing some really interesting things with the story.  Here's Dark Obi Wan, for instance:

Spoiler for Hiden:

All in all, a good read.  The quotes from people involved are quite entertaining, too.  I enjoyed this one about Haze:  

Quote
"It's like you're in a race and you're racing along, and there's a mechanic hanging on to the front trying to finish the car," says Doak. "And every lap you've got to smile, wave to the grandstand and pretend you're doing really well, even though on the other side you can see two wheels have just come off."

Free Radical was a sad loss.
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2012, 04:11:16 PM »

Why you got to make MO cry like that?
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2012, 04:37:06 PM »

Holy crap was that a young Admiral Thrawn featured figthing about midway through the video? I'm pissed about its cancellation more than ever if it was? Otherwise I don't know - for the most part the gameplay just looks like BF2 with better graphics. The character animation also looked a bit stiff. Those cutscenes however, looked damn good despite it being recorded on a shakey handcam. Of course gameplay being just like BF2 would have been perfectly acceptable to 99% of the fans including me. slywink

I suspect the problem with Free Radical is that they started as such a small studio (only 18 staff on the original PS2 TimeSplitters) and then grew very quickly. I want to blame the cancellation of BF3 solely on Lucasarts -who we know to be very capable of very asshatish maneurvering-  but Crytek Germany putting TimeSplitters 4 on indefinite hold, really raises a lot of questions for me about Free Radical/Crytek UK.

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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2012, 05:02:57 PM »

Quote from: kronovan on May 04, 2012, 04:37:06 PM

Holy crap was that a young Admiral Thrawn featured figthing about midway through the video? I'm pissed about its cancellation more than ever if it was? Otherwise I don't know - for the most part the gameplay just looks like BF2 with better graphics. The character animation also looked a bit stiff. Those cutscenes however, looked damn good despite it being recorded on a shakey handcam. Of course gameplay being just like BF2 would have been perfectly acceptable to 99% of the fans including me. slywink

I suspect the problem with Free Radical is that they started as such a small studio (only 18 staff on the original PS2 TimeSplitters) and then grew very quickly. I want to blame the cancellation of BF3 solely on Lucasarts -who we know to be very capable of very asshatish maneurvering-  but Crytek Germany putting TimeSplitters 4 on indefinite hold, really raises a lot of questions for me about Free Radical/Crytek UK.



It's certainly a very one-sided piece, no question.

As for BF3, the biggest innovation (apart from the awesome story elements and the grander scope) was something that seems less like a big deal now: the seemless transition from grand space battles to smaller ones.  They show the very smooth transition between a dogfight and entering a cruiser, then exiting the ship to continue the fight on foot.  Apparently, however, you could also go right from a ground battle on the planet's surface to the dogfight and then into the cruiser.  Grand scale was like their mission statement.   You could even see it just in the environments, I think.
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2012, 05:08:03 PM »

Quote from: Bullwinkle on May 04, 2012, 05:02:57 PM

As for BF3, the biggest innovation (apart from the awesome story elements and the grander scope) was something that seems less like a big deal now: the seemless transition from grand space battles to smaller ones.  They show the very smooth transition between a dogfight and entering a cruiser, then exiting the ship to continue the fight on foot.

Right, but that was already there in BF2. However, you didn't experience it if you chose to bypass the space battles. IMO the space battles were the most impressive thing about BF2.
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2012, 07:36:27 PM »

Quote from: Teggy on May 04, 2012, 04:11:16 PM

Why you got to make MO cry like that?

yeah i nearly HAVE been crying over this(in fact i read it in another article a week or so ago-Here),i was a massive fan of Battlefront,it was my first console online game and i got kind of addicted,used to see the target in my sleep,i used to think of it when i went to work,met a great bunch of people,i joined their online community(BFG-Battlefrontgang)and we used to always meet up every night sing songs,get drunk,fall asleep etc etc

It was my first real introduction to Xbox Live and i tried other games hoping they would be just as good online,but they didn't have the same love from me as SWBF:-Halo 2 and Counter-Strike were alright ..Black Hawk Down 50 players-YES PLEASE!!..but it was a bit of a mess having that many people running around,i even tried TimeSplitters Future Perfect,but just couldn't get into it-in the end i would always go back to SWBF

Battlefront II was released a few weeks before the Xbox 360(November 1st 2005),which was terrible planning,so it just didn't stick with me,but i still had time to play BF1 a lot until MS stopped XBL1 a few years later

now i still post on the LucasArts forums in the Star Wars Speculation Thread,which was started in 2005,has 11,881 posts and 1189 pages..our last kick to the teeth was Spark Unlimited announcing they were doing Lost Planet 3,when we all were determined that it was Battlefront III(and it didn't help that their twitter guy was putting out Star Wars references like no tomorrow)

LucasArts have since said that all their games will now be developed in-house,rumours are that they have 2 games to show at E3,and some have said 1 is a MMO for the Wii U(which seems a bit dumb IMO with TOR just been released)

releasing SWBF3 anytime soon would be another kiss of death just like what happened to SWBF2,no point announcing it now for current gen when Next gen is nearly upon us,save it for Next Xbox


What happened to Free Radical on the other hand is pretty shitty,HAZE didn't help things along though...but you have to wonder if LucasArts had just stuck with them for a while longer,just what could of happened for FR...especially as the end situation meant another British Developer closed its doors,i guess its good that Crytek bought them out and kept jobs going,hopefully they can throw a Project or two their way and see what they can do(TimeSplitters 4 even though just announced is NOT in development,it would not surprise me if it was in development very soon),but as shown,a lot of key people have now left anyway...kinda reminds me of RARE,which is another British Sob story  icon_confused

As Free Radical
TimeSplitters
TimeSplitters 2
Second Sight
TimeSplitters:Future Perfect
Haze

As Crytek UK
Crysis 2(Multiplayer)


Quote from: kronovan on May 04, 2012, 05:08:03 PM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on May 04, 2012, 05:02:57 PM

As for BF3, the biggest innovation (apart from the awesome story elements and the grander scope) was something that seems less like a big deal now: the seemless transition from grand space battles to smaller ones.  They show the very smooth transition between a dogfight and entering a cruiser, then exiting the ship to continue the fight on foot.

Right, but that was already there in BF2. However, you didn't experience it if you chose to bypass the space battles. IMO the space battles were the most impressive thing about BF2.

I think Bull is meaning starting ground space battles on whichever planet you are on,get in a ship join the space battle above and get out in a space cruiser all in one game,BF2 just had space battles and you able to exit into a space cruiser..but if that DID work,it makes me wonder if 32 players(Plus AI) would still cut it

as the first leaked video showed 3 years ago(from 35 seconds onwards)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j81I_-uaOqg

ground to space 'tech',that rumour has it Free Radical kept (they apparently had Copywrite to it)
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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2012, 08:48:03 PM »

Quote from: metallicorphan on May 04, 2012, 07:36:27 PM

BF2 just had space battles and you able to exit into a space cruiser..

Yup, BF2  definitely had that. It also had landing your ship in the hanger of an enemies battleship, then getting out and fighting on foot to the engine room where you could then detonate bombs to disable it. Man, I can't believe you guys played the game and didn't realize that. Me thinks you should both revisit it - it is after all BC. slywink
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« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2012, 09:25:28 PM »

Quote from: kronovan on May 04, 2012, 08:48:03 PM

Quote from: metallicorphan on May 04, 2012, 07:36:27 PM

BF2 just had space battles and you able to exit into a space cruiser..

Yup, BF2  definitely had that. It also had landing your ship in the hanger of an enemies battleship, then getting out and fighting on foot to the engine room where you could then detonate bombs to disable it. Man, I can't believe you guys played the game and didn't realize that. Me thinks you should both revisit it - it is after all BC. slywink

so which part of 'exit into a space cruiser' do you not understand? icon_wink

SO,just to be sure Tongue

Battlefront II had Space Battles where you started on one Star Cruiser(okay Battleships),get into an X wing or whatever was there,and then heading out and having space Battles and then you could land in the enemies Star Cruiser and disable it like you said(if you wanted to do that)

What me and Bull are trying to say is that Battlefront III was to have ground fights(on chosen map/planet),you could then get into a Starfighter(X wing/Tie Fighter whatever),go into space,have space battles if you want and then land on either factions Battleships,or you could just stay on the planets surface and have it out on ground(take bases etc) while other people fought in space...all in one online game

as the video shows thumbsup(well it shows it working,but not an actual online game)

It would certainly be impressive if they had got that working and would have to be bigger/longer battles(more like Battlefield rather than COD length games)
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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2012, 09:47:51 PM »

Quote from: metallicorphan on May 04, 2012, 09:25:28 PM

Quote from: kronovan on May 04, 2012, 08:48:03 PM

Quote from: metallicorphan on May 04, 2012, 07:36:27 PM

BF2 just had space battles and you able to exit into a space cruiser..

Yup, BF2  definitely had that. It also had landing your ship in the hanger of an enemies battleship, then getting out and fighting on foot to the engine room where you could then detonate bombs to disable it. Man, I can't believe you guys played the game and didn't realize that. Me thinks you should both revisit it - it is after all BC. slywink

so which part of 'exit into a space cruiser' do you not understand? icon_wink

SO,just to be sure Tongue

Battlefront II had Space Battles where you started on one Star Cruiser(okay Battleships),get into an X wing or whatever was there,and then heading out and having space Battles and then you could land in the enemies Star Cruiser and disable it like you said(if you wanted to do that)

What me and Bull are trying to say is that Battlefront III was to have ground fights(on chosen map/planet),you could then get into a Starfighter(X wing/Tie Fighter whatever),go into space,have space battles if you want and then land on either factions Battleships,or you could just stay on the planets surface and have it out on ground(take bases etc) while other people fought in space...all in one online game

as the video shows thumbsup(well it shows it working,but not an actual online game)

It would certainly be impressive if they had got that working and would have to be bigger/longer battles(more like Battlefield rather than COD length games)

All of that with no pause for transitions, too.
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2012, 01:00:16 PM »

Battlefront was also one of the first console games to feature full bot support - allowing them in all multiplayer maps and modes. Was awesome jumping in a fighter as gunner and letting one of the AI dudes take over as pilot as we circled the empire's walkers trying to take them down.
Even though MS killed support for the original Xbox (I haven't tried the PS2 version - though I suppose the servers may still be online if you have a BC PS3) at least there's full bot support.

Battlefront 2 seems to have ruined the AI. The best example is getting into any air vehicle as gunner, let the AI be the pilot. He will fly it straight until it crashes, not even trying to move it.
Friendly AI also seems to be dumbed down considerably.

My ultimate dream game would be MAG (128vs128) set in the Star Wars universe complete with ground and air battles with all the classic vehicles as well as AI support to fill in for dropped players.
It's a shame that MAG is so far the only console game to pull off that number of players (and still make it work) when in 2012 we're still seeing 8vs8 or 12vs12 (Battlefield 3) on consoles while the PC counterpart gets 64+.
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2012, 06:33:25 PM »

Quote from: Bullwinkle on May 04, 2012, 09:47:51 PM

Quote from: metallicorphan on May 04, 2012, 09:25:28 PM

Quote from: kronovan on May 04, 2012, 08:48:03 PM

Quote from: metallicorphan on May 04, 2012, 07:36:27 PM

BF2 just had space battles and you able to exit into a space cruiser..

Yup, BF2  definitely had that. It also had landing your ship in the hanger of an enemies battleship, then getting out and fighting on foot to the engine room where you could then detonate bombs to disable it. Man, I can't believe you guys played the game and didn't realize that. Me thinks you should both revisit it - it is after all BC. slywink

so which part of 'exit into a space cruiser' do you not understand? icon_wink

SO,just to be sure Tongue

Battlefront II had Space Battles where you started on one Star Cruiser(okay Battleships),get into an X wing or whatever was there,and then heading out and having space Battles and then you could land in the enemies Star Cruiser and disable it like you said(if you wanted to do that)

What me and Bull are trying to say is that Battlefront III was to have ground fights(on chosen map/planet),you could then get into a Starfighter(X wing/Tie Fighter whatever),go into space,have space battles if you want and then land on either factions Battleships,or you could just stay on the planets surface and have it out on ground(take bases etc) while other people fought in space...all in one online game

as the video shows thumbsup(well it shows it working,but not an actual online game)

It would certainly be impressive if they had got that working and would have to be bigger/longer battles(more like Battlefield rather than COD length games)

All of that with no pause for transitions, too.

That's cool. When I read both of your comments I mistakenly got the impression that you weren't aware of those features. The ability to lift off from a planet and engage in battles in orbit would be very cool. I Loved that in Rogue Squadron II and Halo Reach, even though the liftoff part was only animated and brief.
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2012, 06:49:15 PM »

1 hour of footage from Battlefront III: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VJfc4bAiByM
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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2012, 11:01:15 PM »

How far along was Battlefront 3 when they canned it?  according to co-founder Steve Ellis:

Spoiler for Hiden:

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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2012, 11:10:15 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on December 01, 2012, 11:01:15 PM

How far along was Battlefront 3 when they canned it?  according to co-founder Steve Ellis:

Spoiler for Hiden:

Keep in mind that the last percentage is very expensive. It includes things like marketing (which tends to cost millions and millions of dollars), pressing the game discs and distributing them, QA itself (also expensive. 99% is very inaccurate. They'd probably have to spend several months on bugfixing, and that costs a LOT of money for a studio of their size), and so on. Add on a commitment to support the game through patches, which both costs developer time (ie. money) and requires paying a pretty hefty sum to MS or Sony for each patch they want to release on their systems.

Someone high up probably had a look at the series' previous history and projected potential earnings, and figured that they'd be better off economically by ejecting as soon as possible. This kind of thing happens during transitions in management. Whether they were right or wrong, economically speaking, is harder to tell.

In other words, don't let the 99% figure fool you. There's a good reason why any developer will tell you that the first 90% of software development takes 90% of the time. The remaining 10% take another 90% of the time.
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« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2012, 02:40:46 AM »

The final 10% is definitely expensive, and being a star wars game, there would probably be other licensing costs as well.

Still, it was publisher mismanagement in the first place that put the studio in the position it was in.
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« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2012, 05:44:20 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on December 01, 2012, 11:10:15 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on December 01, 2012, 11:01:15 PM

How far along was Battlefront 3 when they canned it?  according to co-founder Steve Ellis:

Spoiler for Hiden:

Keep in mind that the last percentage is very expensive. It includes things like marketing (which tends to cost millions and millions of dollars), pressing the game discs and distributing them, QA itself (also expensive. 99% is very inaccurate. They'd probably have to spend several months on bugfixing, and that costs a LOT of money for a studio of their size), and so on. Add on a commitment to support the game through patches, which both costs developer time (ie. money) and requires paying a pretty hefty sum to MS or Sony for each patch they want to release on their systems.

Someone high up probably had a look at the series' previous history and projected potential earnings, and figured that they'd be better off economically by ejecting as soon as possible. This kind of thing happens during transitions in management. Whether they were right or wrong, economically speaking, is harder to tell.

In other words, don't let the 99% figure fool you. There's a good reason why any developer will tell you that the first 90% of software development takes 90% of the time. The remaining 10% take another 90% of the time.

You're right.  His generalization that it was 99% done was way off the mark.  He really should have said something like 93% done.
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« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2012, 08:53:13 PM »

Quote from: Bullwinkle on December 02, 2012, 05:44:20 PM



You're right.  His generalization that it was 99% done was way off the mark.  He really should have said something like 93% done.


you know he is talking about the game itself because first off,he is the developer not the publisher...also if he had said all the game needed was bug fixing,disc pressed,distribution and marketing...then yeah,i guess we could of guessed that he meant the games release instead,but he doesn't he says the game was 99% done and all that was needed was bug fixing

and then you have to take into account that this game has never been officially announced..so if he was talking release,that would of been something else
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« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2012, 09:37:25 PM »

Someone with a different perspective:

http://www.gamespot.com/news/former-lucasarts-employee-on-why-star-wars-battlefront-iii-failed-6400936
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« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2012, 01:07:11 PM »

Quote from: Teggy on December 03, 2012, 09:37:25 PM


bah beat me to it,i was gonna name the link 'The Empire Strikes Back'  Tongue
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« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2012, 01:04:52 AM »

Yeah....there's next to nothing I believe coming from the mouths of anyone who's with, or was with,  Lucas Arts. I'm sure the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but LA screwed up so badly this console gen that IMO they lost all credibility long ago.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2012, 08:15:30 PM »

I wonder if LucasArts are to blame Free Radical for the death of Star Wars Battlefront Online from Slant Six

this project was axed in 2010,here is some concept art for it
http://www.siliconera.com/2012/12/12/star-wars-battlefront-online-concept-art-leaks-out-of-slant-six/
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