Lucasfilm Removes Star Wars From Battlefront 3 Project

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Mod team turned development studio Frontwire Studios has been getting a lot of attention over its free fan recreation of the cancelled Star Wars: Battlefront 3, and it turns out that Lucasfilm is fine with them continuing develpment, as long it doesn't leverage the Star Wars IP, the developer announced on its website.

In June, Frontwire announced its fan-made version of the cancelled Star Wars: Battlefront 3 would be released in Steam. In a letter to the community, Frontwire president Tony Romanelli summed up what went down between the studio and Lucasfilm since June's Galaxy in Turmoil announcement.

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On Wednesday June 22, 2016, we received a letter from Lucasfilm requesting that we halt production of Galaxy in Turmoil with any Star Wars related IP at once. Rather than laying down at the first sign of trouble, I requested a meeting with the Lucasfilm executives to discuss our project and to find some common ground to work with. Honestly, I didn't expect too much negotiation to occur. But much to my surprise, executives at the top of Lucasfilm agreed to meet. A week later, that meeting took place.

Romanelli said that he talked to "two of the top decision-makers at Lucasfilm:" on the phone, but he didn't name either of them. The Lucasfilm executives said that they would have been willing to license the IP to Frontwire, but that it was precluded from doing so due to its arrangement with Electronic Arts (The publisher signed a multi-year exclusivity deal for Star Wars games in 2013.) Romanelli said that Lucasfilm talked to EA about Galaxy in Turmoil but the publisher was not interested.

"[EA's] main concern was due to the possibility of Galaxy in Turmoil taking away attention from their Battlefront franchise," Romanelli said. "I tried to pitch the idea about putting Galaxy in Turmoil behind EA's paywall but was told that EA had previously rejected that proposition as well."

According to Romanelli, he hasn't spoken to anyone on EA but noted: "I do not for a second hold any grudge against Electronic Arts and/or Lucasfilm, and neither should our community."

"While I and our attorneys still believe that we fall under the Fair Use law, I have no desire to get into any type of legal battle with Lucasfilm, and lose due to the sheer amount of money Lucasfilm has," he added. "As a businessman, I have enough respect for other companies and their intellectual properties to not put up a fight that should not be fought in the first place.

"At the end of the day, Star Wars is Lucasfilm's property, and they have every right to request Frontwire stop using their IP, even if we believe that we were within legal limits. In a perfect world, they will see we were team players, and we may just have the chance to work with them in the distant future."

An original piece of Galaxy in Turmoil art

This is bad news for fans looking forward for a Star Wars-themed multiplayer game, but thankfully, this doesn't spell the end for the Galaxy in Turmoil project. The plan now is to create a "Battlefront-inspired game that is not using the Star Wars IP." Romanelli described the goal as being to "create a new, original game in a never-before-seen universe" that still features what was originally planned: a single-player campaign, 64-player multiplayer, ground-to-space combat, and destructible capital ships. Frontwire is still planning to release the game in Steam for free with no microtransactions.

Here's Romanelli's letter to that community:

"While I and our attorneys still believe that we fall under the Fair Use law, I have no desire to get into any type of legal battle with Lucasfilm, and lose due to the sheer amount of money Lucasfilm has. As a businessman, I have enough respect for other companies and their intellectual properties to not put up a fight that should not be fought in the first place. At the end of the day Star Wars is Lucasfilm's property, and they have every right to request Frontwire stop using their IP, even if we believe that we were within legal limits."

Read: What You'll See in Star Wars Battlefront's New Offline Skirmish Mode