Galaxy in Turmoil, the fan-made game based on the canceled Star Wars: Battlefront 3, will remove all Star Wars content after meeting with Lucasfilm and being asked to stop using the properties it owns.
In a lengthy note yesterday, Tony Romanelli of Frontwire Studios explained the future of the game, which will proceed as a generic multiplayer shooter that incorporates many of the features of the old Battlefront series, without any imagery, characters or references to Star Wars. The game will still be called Galaxy in Turmoil, and Frontwire still intends to launch it, for free, over Steam.
"Regardless of what some have said, all of our code, sounds and many other non-Star Wars assets have been created in-house, which means they are indeed owned by us," Romanelli wrote.
Romanelli said Lucasfilm wrote him June 22 to request that Frontwire immediately stop any production of a game using its Star Wars properties. Romanelli asked for, and received, a conference call with two Lucasfilm representatives.
Lucasfilm noted to Romanelli that even if the two sides could negotiate a licensing agreement and Frontwire could pay for it, Electronic Arts has the exclusive license to make Star Wars video games (excepting the Lego titles) and just published the Battlefront reboot for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
"I was told that Lucasfilm had already spoken with EA about Galaxy in Turmoil and that EA expressed no desire in letting our project continue," Romanelli wrote. "Their main concern was due to the possibility of Galaxy in Turmoil taking away attention from their Battlefront franchise. 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."
Galaxy in Turmoil came to the gaming public's attention in early June when Frontwire announced it had reached a publishing agreement with Steam. Romanelli also expressed the belief at the time that the studio's work qualified as a fair use of others' property because "technically we'd be classified as a parody." About 50 volunteers working remotely were contributing to the project, even with the awareness that their work could be shut down at any moment.
Galaxy in Turmoil was suspected by many of using assets or code from the Star Wars: Battlefront 3 builds that leaked out after that project was canceled. Romanelli insisted this was not true, and that any Battlefront 3 assets that had appeared in prior work (screenshots above) were placeholders only.
"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.," Romanelli wrote yesterday.
This does not mean Galaxy in Turmoil is itself shelved. "Frontwire Studios will be pivoting away from Star Wars and embarking on a mission to create a new, original game in a never before seen universe," Romanelli said. "Our game will still have massive 64-player battles, ground-to-space combat, destructible capital ships, and a full single-player campaign. We will also still be releasing Galaxy in Turmoil on Steam as planned and it will remain a free game."
Frontwire plans to fund development of the game with a crowdfunding campaign, and will begin that once it releases "a fully playable demo consisting of a single-player mission and at least two multiplayer maps with a single game mode."