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Lucasfilm Uses Legal Force To Quash Star Wars Battlefront Knock-Off

by Elise Favis on Jul 31, 2016 at 10:09 AM

A few months ago, the studio Frontwire announced that it was releasing a Star Wars Battlefront successor titled Galaxy in Turmoil via Steam. However, without any licensing rights from Lucasfilm or Electronic Arts, the project's development has halted due to its unauthorized usage of the Star Wars IP. Frontwire president Tony Romanelli detailed in a blog post that as of June 22, Frontwire received a letter from Lucasfilm requesting development on Galaxy in Turmoil be halted immediately.

Romanelli, however, wasn't ready to back down just yet. He reached out to Lucasfilm and asked if they would be willing to negotiate to find "common ground." In an unexpected turn of events, the company agreed to speak with him on the phone. "Honestly, I didn’t expect too much negotiation to occur," he writes in the post. "But much to my surprise, executives at the top of Lucasfilm agreed to meet. A week later, that meeting took place."

Romanelli goes on to clarify that he bears no ill will towards Lucasfilm, and that the discussion between both parties was pleasant. "I only wish we were able to speak and conduct business on different terms," he writes.

During the meeting, Lucasfilm informed Romanelli that while it would have considered the opportunity to negotiate a Star Wars license with Frontwire, it is currently impossible due to their contract with EA, who had "no desire" in allowing Galaxy in Turmoil's development to continue. Romanelli then suggested that the game could be put behind EA's paywall, but that request was also denied. "Their main concern was due to the possibility of Galaxy in Turmoil taking away attention from their Battlefront franchise," Romanelli writes. 

He also tried reaching out to EA to get the full scoop, but no response was extended to him. After reiterating that he understands both EA and Lucasfilm's position on protecting their intellectual property, Romanelli states, "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."

Frontwire's attorneys, according to Romanelli, nonetheless believe that their case falls under Fair Use, and notes that he doesn't plan on crowdfunding the game until a playable demo is available.

"From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for your continued support of both Frontwire Studios and Galaxy in Turmoil," he writes to end the post. "I look forward to continuing this ride together as we move forward with the brand new Galaxy in Turmoil universe."

[Source: Frontwire Studios]

Our Take
It's not surprising in the least that Lucasfilm and EA have demanded that Galaxy in Turmoil abandon the Star Wars IP, considering the game in no way falls under Fair Use. As Romanelli pointed out, however, not all hope is lost for his game, as long as it no longer associates itself with the Star Wars brand and its assets.