In a statement released last Saturday, President of Frontwire Studies Tony "Fergie" Romanelli announced that "Frontwire Studios has officially signed a distribution deal with Steam/Valve" for their fan-remake of Free Radical Design's canceled Battlefront 3 game.
Despite its familiar branding, Star Wars: Galaxy in Turmoil has no official connection to the greater Star Wars brand, nor was the project approved by anyone at Disney. Perhaps as result of disappointment in the most recent entry in the Battlefront series, the folks at Frontwire Studios have taken it upon themselves to make a game "based on the original canceled project by Free Radical called Battlefront III."
Developed on the ever-popular Unreal Engine 4 by Epic Games, Galaxy in Turmoil boasts massive 32v32 player maps with full ground to space battles and an all new never before seen competitive mode.
Rumors and small pieces of information have been floating around the internet for a few months regarding this project, but this announcement of Valve's approval for the game to make appear on Steam is one of the first concrete pieces of proof that Galaxy in Turmoil might actually make it into the hands of players.
It is with great pleasure that as of today I am able to officially announce that Frontwire Studios has officially signed a distribution deal with Steam/Valve for the game Galaxy in Turmoil. After ongoing discussion between Valve Representatives and myself, Valve/Steam has agreed to ship Galaxy in Turmoil to it’s millions of users for FREE.
While it seems like "Fergie" might want to just be the video game version of Santa Claus, the move to make Galaxy in Turmoil free to play was most likely because they want to avoid a copyright lawsuit with Disney. If Frontwire Studios doesn't make a profit from Galaxy in Turmoil, then the fair use doctrine might hold up in their favor. In the face of Disney's long and spindly network of lawyers and cash they're still likely screwed, at least this way they made sure not to cover themselves in beef juice and catnip before they walked into the lion's den.
So what does Frontwire have to gain from this, other than a nice cease and desist letter straight from Mickey himself? For one, they're certainly gaining their fair share of publicity; even if Galaxy in Turmoil goes south, the notoriety and public awareness that they've gained will at carry over, at least to some degree, to any future projects that they tackle. Perhaps they're even positioning themselves to get acquired by Disney or some other game developer, but that prospect seems tenuous at best.
Whatever may come out of Galaxy in Turmoil, at the very least we'll have some juicy Star Wars drama to follow for the next couple of months.
Check out some footage from the project below: