Star Wars Battlefront 3 is one of those games that just got lost in the ether. Despite a dedicated fanbase after two games, Battlefront 3 disappeared from existence unceremoniously, to the point where fans continued to clamor for it long after it was clear that the game was no longer in production.

Steve Ellis, co-founder of Timesplitters and Timesplitters 2 developer Free Radical, told Gamesindustry International the story of his former studio's fall from grace, which included Battlefront 3's cancellation.

Though it was never officially announced, it's an open secret now that Lucasarts tapped Free Radical to take over development of third Star Wars: Battlefront game starting in 2007. Though they went into the project optimistic about the opportunity, clashes with Lucasarts led to the project's eventual implosion.

"The really good relationship that we'd always had suddenly didn't exists anymore. They brought in new people to replace them and all of a sudden we were failing milestones. That's not to say there were no problems with the work we were doing because on a project that size inevitably there will be, there's always going to be grey areas were things can either pass or fail. And all of a sudden we were failing milestones, payments were being delayed and that kind of thing."

The project's failure played a major role in forcing Free Radical to look for potential buyers. The company was eventually purchased by Crysis developer Crytek, becoming the company's UK studio.

This is just a brief summation of a chapter from a much longer story. Ellis discusses the differences between working on their successful projects - Timesplitters and Timesplitters 2 - and games like the PS3-exclusive Haze that, in hindsight, were doomed to failure.

If you're interested in getting some insight into the developer/publisher relationship, and learning about the realpolitik of making AAA games, you should definitely check out the full feature here.

[Via Gamesindustry International]