The claim by Free Radical Design co-founder Steve Ellis that Star Wars Battlefront III was 99 per cent complete at the time of its cancellation is "bullsh*t", says an anonymous former LucasArts employee.
"This 99 percent complete stuff is just bullsh*t," the former LucasArts employee told GameSpot. "A generous estimate would be 75 percent of a mediocre game."
The source also denies claims that LucasArts sabotaged the game's development, adding: "I was at LucasArts during this time, working on Battlefront III, and remember it well. Everybody from producers to marketing was 100 percent invested in making the relationship work.
"We were desperate for a next-gen follow-up to Battlefront (the claim that the project was sabotaged for financial reasons is ludicrous. The [Battlefront] franchise was a huge money maker at the time). When Free Radical continually missed dates and deliveries, [former LucasArts presidents Jim Ward and Darrell Rodriguez] made many 'good will' whole or partial milestone payments to keep the project going."
These comments have led to Ellis giving a statement on the matter to GameSpot.
"I want to set the record straight because a lot of people worked very hard on BFIII (and BFIV) and they don't deserve their efforts to be distorted in this way," said Ellis.
"From the personal tone of the comments it is clear that the source is someone whom I personally dealt with. It's unfortunate that they are making this kind of criticism while choosing to remain anonymous."
Ellis says that claims the game was only 75 per cent complete and it was merely mediocre are "false", adding: "Until very recently there was a gameplay video on YouTube that showed exactly where the game was. It was leaked by people who were very proud of the game that they had spent over 2 years developing and wanted the world to at least have an opportunity to see it before it was consigned to history. Unfortunately, four years on, LucasArts have chosen to have the video removed. Objectively though, the game was 'content complete' and we were fixing bugs. At that stage in development, the way that completion is measured is by looking at the number of open bugs in the database. These are tracked and people spend a lot of time analysing the fix rate and the rate of discovering new bugs and projecting a completion date when the game will be ready for release. At the time that the development on BFIII was stopped, the figures showed that we would close our 'must-fix' bugs with 3-4 weeks. So yes, maybe on reflection 99 percent was a little of an exaggeration. I probably should have said 97 percent or 98 percent."
Ellis concluded: "I stand by everything I've said. All I've ever tried to do is explain the series of events that led to the failure of Free Radical. We were not perfect. We made mistakes, but third-parties had a hand in our failure. Personally I am very proud of the efforts made by the former staff of Free Radical through 2008. They are an incredibly talented group of people who through no fault of their own found themselves in a no-win situation. I'm happy that most of them have had the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities subsequently on games such as Crysis 2."