What Happened To Star Wars BattleFront?

Footage of Star Wars Battlefront 3 leaked this week.

Kotaku recently posted an article featuring video content, supposedly of the title before Disney canned it along with the entire studio (LucasArts) who were making it. You can the footage below:

Leaked Battlefront III Footage by All-Games-Beta

This got us thinking – what actually happened to the Battlefront series? It was revolutionary at the time. King of the hill/domination on a huge basis, where you could play as a regular foot soldier (predominantly in third person mode, but where you can move into a FPS view) and pop into vehicular combat. Think; Battlefield, in the heart of the Star Wars universe. The maps were locations Star Wars fans knew and loved with the space based combat being truly immerse and exciting. On top of that after a period of time, you were rewarded by being able to leap into the body of one of the main characters for a limited period of time (who were granted super strength).

The original title, released in 2004 for Xbox and PS2 was what would be considered today a AAA title. It was successful enough that in 2005 the sequel was released which added the ability to control star fighters and have battles set in space. In addition the ability to become a Jedi was added!

Since then the franchise has only appeared on the PSP, Nintendo DS along with an additional version for mobiles being released. The PSP titles were actually very good, pushing the hardware to their limit. There were three in total, one being Battlefront 2, the other a title called Renegade Squadron whilst the other was Elite Squadron. What let those titles down were the control’s of the PSP itself, as it really required two control sticks, with the PSP only offering one.

Elite Squadron even offered the ability to move the battle between the planet surface and space. It wasn’t quite as fluid as sold in the marketing – it triggered an animation, but it was true that the two areas of gameplay were linked. Firstly enemies that were following you from space to planet level would continue to do so, and in addition there was a strategic link between the two areas as technology could be commandeered on land which could be fired into space at the capital ships in orbit.

Ok, so the graphics weren’t great, but for the PSP they worked, and it was a FULL BattleFront game in your pocket!

Elite squadron came out in 2009, which in game terms is a long time in the past for a successful franchise. Since then we have had various attempts to release a new entry into the franchise. Free Radical Design (of Timesplitters fame, and now owned by Crytek), were working on a game which was supposed to become Battlefront 3, but was then cancelled. LucasArts then decided to take the game in house, with it once again becoming lost to the LucasArts closure.

Does this mean the end of the Battlefront series? It probably means we won’t see a title released on this generation of console, but Disney could take this opportunity to take the title, license it to a company that knows what it is doing (Crytek perhaps…) and prepare it for PC, Mac and the new consoles. Perhaps though, even with the pulling power of Star Wars, the game now sits lower on gamers’ list of most wanted games. It could be that it is now firmly a handheld only title. The good news there is a handheld with amazing graphics and two control sticks, just waiting for a title like this. Battlefront on the Vita anyone?