The Star Wars Battlefront fan-game Galaxy in Turmoil was intended to rebuild the experience based on the leaked assets from Battlefront III that were released back in January. The developer, Frontwire Studios, had managed to get all the way to distribution negotiations with Valve about releasing the game to the public, according to a June 4th blog. At the time, they were surprised that EA and Lucasfilm hadn’t intervened. But apparently that changed sometime soon after.
According to their newest blog post, Frontwire Studios got an official letter from Lucasfilm asking them to halt production on June 22nd. This story doesn’t have too terrible of an ending though, because Frontwire Studios got the opportunity to have a discussion with Lucasfilm executives. Lucasfilm told the President of Frontwire Studios, Tony Romanelli, that they would’ve been open about negotiating the Star Wars IP for this project, but due to their contract with Electronic Arts they wouldn’t be able to. They also made it clear that EA had no desire to see this project continue, as it would’ve taken away attention from their own Battlefront games.
Tony made his position clear.
Let me stop for a moment. I do not for a second hold any grudge against Electronic Arts and/or Lucasfilm, and neither should our community. The Star Wars brand is a highly valuable and lucrative brand. I would expect nothing less from Lucasfilm than to do everything they can to protect and preserve their intellectual property. As for EA they have an extremely expensive and profitable production contract with Lucasfilm. Likewise, EA has done what they felt they needed to do and if I were in the same position, I hope I would also do anything to protect my golden egg. While I do wish EA would realize that backing a free fan game would actually be an effective way to help and promote their brand, their decision is final, and we as both a business and as a community must respect that.
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. 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.
What does that mean for the future of the game? According to the blog, Frontwire Studios is still allowed to make a Battlefront inspired project, just as long as it doesn’t use anything related to the Star Wars IP. This means any code, sound, and non Star Wars assets, are safe to be used. They’ll still be able to release the ground-to-space combat game, with a full single player campaign, and 64-player players and destructible capital ships, and even still call it Galaxy in Turmoil when they release it on Steam – just as long as there’s no Star Wars IP in it.
They also threw in some pictures of their work in progress renders, so have fun taking a peek at those.
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