A Redditor claims to have obtained the only physical copy of the canceled Star Wars Battlefront 3 video game from Free Radical, sparking excitement among Star Wars fans online. But don’t get your hopes up, because it probably isn’t what it seems.
An image of what looks like a PSP game test disc titled Star Wars Battlefront 3 has been shared on Reddit by user MissFeepit, alongside several photos of the game running on PlayStation’s handheld console.
The Redditor says they came into possession of the disc through a family friend, who tested LucasArts games back when Battlefront 3 was in development. They were given the PSP disc to play, but they never returned it.
The images show what appears to be a loading screen, a main menu, and a single-player game mode selection screen, which displays options for “Instant Action”, “Campaign” and “Galactic Conquest”. All three game modes were included in the first two Battlefront games, although the Redditor also mentions that their family friend remembers playing Capture the Flag, AI Battles, and Conquest.
But as one Redditor pointed out, the photos more likely show an early build of Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron, a PSP spin-off released in 2009. Its game mode selection screen certainly looks remarkably similar to those images shared on Reddit, with two Clone Troopers looking at each other from the sides of the screen. Although the disc is labeled Star Wars Battlefront 3, it may have simply been the game’s internal title before release.
The Redditor initially stated that he was interested in selling the record and was curious to see what he might fetch. Others, however, have suggested trying copying its contents and exporting it to a ROM file – which could be run through modern PSP emulators – to preserve it.
Duplicating games, even canceled decades-old projects, however, raises several legal issues regarding copyright infringement and the NDA. But if the game is ever copied and widely shared, we’ll know for sure what MissFeepit has gotten its hands on.
What could have been
Star Wars Battlefront 3 has remained an alluring mystery since its first appearance over a decade ago. Development of the game was given to studio TimeSplitters Free Radical in 2006, but it was never officially unveiled until it was canceled two years later.
Sources inside the studio spoke about the since-cancelled project, with Free Radical co-founder and director David Doak telling Eurogamer it was the most ambitious project the studio had worked on so far. here. Building on its predecessors, Battlefront 3 would have allowed you to seamlessly transition from land warfare to space battles, letting you jump into a starfighter and soar into combat unfolding in the skies above you.
“It was so ambitious because you had to populate an environment like this on such a scale, so we had some tough problems to solve,” Doak told Eurogamer. “We were continually trying to improve on that, and it was going well. In fact, it was going so well that we were going to do two, and they let us do some really cool stuff with the mythology.”
However, Free Radical’s relationship with LucasArts became increasingly strained, as their visions for the project became divided. Eventually, the game was fully canned, with Free Radical agreeing to pass some assets to Rebellion Studios, which would continue to publish Elite Squadrons.
So while the PSP disc shared by MissFeepit probably isn’t Free Radical’s Star Wars Battlefront 3, they may well share some similarities. It would be interesting to know what assets were transferred from the canceled project to the elite squads and how they appeared in the first version of the game.
Star Wars Battlefront 3 leaked gameplay has made its way online in the past. In 2012, an hour of play was uploaded to YouTube, but has since been removed after Disney filed a copyright claim. Shorter snippets of footage have since been uploaded.