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The Bounty Hunter Interview

by the NWR Staff - December 18, 2002, 2:18 pm PST

PGC gets the inside scoop about Star Wars: Bounty Hunter from the game's director, Jon Knoles.

PGC: First, who are you

and what is your involvement with Bounty Hunter?

JK: 

My name is Jon Knoles and I’m the Director of Star Wars Bounty

Hunter.  I also wrote the story and

game design. It was my job to provide the vision for the game, and to direct the

development team’s efforts.

PGC: Can you give us a

brief summary of the plot and time period for this game? 

JK: 

It is 10 years before the events

of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, and explains how Jango became chosen

to be the template for the clone army through the hunt for a deranged dark Jedi.

This lost Jedi is the leader of a deadly and bizarre cult that is causing

trouble for the Emperor-to-be Darth Sidious and his new apprentice, Count Dooku

(a.k.a. Darth Tyranus).  Darth Sidious tasks Dooku with eliminating this rogue Jedi,

and also to find the ideal specimen to serve as the template for a clone army.

Dooku resolves to accomplish both tasks with a single stroke by placing a

fantastic bounty on the head of the cult leader. Any bounty hunter fearless and

resourceful enough to hunt down this dark Jedi would be the perfect host for a

clone army.

PGC: What are the

differences between the PS2 and GameCube versions, and which was the lead

platform? 

JK: 

The PS2 and GC versions of Star Wars Bounty Hunter are

identical in gameplay, but are different graphically as each version was

developed to take advantage of each system’s unique strengths.

PGC: How many different

weapons will you be able to use, and what are a few examples?

JK: Jango has a built

in whipcord snare for capturing bounties, a cutting laser to cut through doors,

a built-in flamethrower for roasting enemies, a missile-equipped jetpack, a

sniper rifle, thermal grenades, toxic darts, and periodically he can pick up and

use a heavy repeating blaster rifle, a thermal grenade launcher, and a blaster

rifle.  And of course he’ll have

his extremely effective dual blaster pistols. He can also use mounted turrets

throughout the game.

PGC: How does the

bounty-collecting feature work, and how is it balanced with your real missions? 

JK: 

Most of the story-based missions

in Star Wars Bounty Hunter involve capturing or killing a character with a price

on his (or her) head. But throughout the game, there are also 150

“secondary” bounties, or non-critical characters with prices on their own

heads, sometimes wanted alive only, or dead only, or dead or alive. Think of

secondary bounty collecting as something like finding gems in other games, only

these “gems” may run away from you or shoot back. While collecting secondary

bounties is not a requirement to completing the game, it’s certainly a

challenging diversion, and one that you may enjoy coming back to play a level

again to see if you can find all of them. It’s really up to the player. The

money you earn is basically your score at collecting them. Live ones are worth

more than dead ones most of the time, because it’s much harder to capture a

bounty alive.

The idea is simple, but the

task is fairly complex. You must equip your ID scanner and scan the area in a

first-person scan mode (hopefully from a fairly safe location, as you cannot

move or shoot while scanning), then if you find a character with a bounty, his

information will come up. You “mark” the bounty by pressing a button, then

it’s up to you to blast him, then run up and press action to “claim” the

bounty, or tie him up with your snare and press action to “claim the bounty.

PGC: Do you have a bounty

on your own head, and if so, what factors determine its severity?

JK: 

Jango Fett is probably wanted dead by somebody—he makes a lot of

enemies, but that’s not a factor in this game.

PGC: Will killing

civilians draw the attention of local law enforcement?

JK: 

Nope. Part of the fun of being Jango Fett is being a bad guy if you

want to. There is no reward for the killing of civilians, and Jango’s robust

auto-targeting system does not include non-combatants, but there is no penalty,

either. If they get in your way, that’s just too bad.

PGC: Will you get to drive

the Slave 1 or any other vehicles?

JK: 

This is not a vehicle game, or a flight-shooter. Jango has a jetpack

that you use in 16 of the 18 levels, and that’s pretty much the extent of his

powered travel. Thing is, we did a mix of character and vehicle combat in

Shadows of the Empire, and while many players appreciated that variety, we also

received a lot of criticism for not sticking to one thing and doing that one

thing as well as we could. We focused on making Jango Fett a badass, and a fun

character to play. For spaceship-flying fun, we recommend Jedi Starfighter

(where you can unlock Slave I), Rogue Leader, or Clone Wars. These games are

centered on vehicular combat and flight-shooting.

PGC: What major Star Wars

characters from the movies can you meet along the way?

JK:  

You perform a couple of jobs for Jabba the Hutt, actually helping him

take over Tatooine’s crime world from another Hutt. You will meet Count Dooku

(a.k.a. Darth Tyranus) as your employer.  You’ll

also find out how Jango took amateur bounty hunter Zam Wesell on as a

“partner” of sorts, and of course you’ll see many familiar aliens

throughout the game, mostly as enemies, but some as bystanders, like Jawas or

Sullustans (Lando’s  funny

mumbling alien co-pilot from Return of the Jedi). There are also a ton of droids

and creatures. One droid even has a price on its head for carrying sensitive

information.

PGC: Will the game support

progressive scan and/or Dolby Pro Logic II?

JK:  

We support both progressive scan and Dolby Pro Logic II. The textures

will all be high-resolution and crisp, the special effects will be over-the-top,

and the game will run at a smooth 60 frames per second. If you've got a surround

system at home, the sounds will come at you from all directions, and put you

right in the middle of the action. We're taking advantage of the system's fast

CPU to achieve a smooth framerate of 60 fps The Gamecube's texture compression

allows us to use high-resolution textures on the environment and characters, and

Mip-mapping support across the board on all textures to give a rich and

consistent environment. We are exploiting additional memory to improve load

times, which are incredibly fast. Projected shadows on all characters. Increased

draw distance to allow for vista views. Advanced material shader effects,

dynamic character lighting, and tons of sprite effects

PGC: Are there any secrets

to find or unlock?

JK:  

There are a lot of extras in the game, mostly outtake videos, concept

art, a comic book based on Jango’s backstory invented for the game, and

collection cards. Claiming bounties, finding secret icons on each level, or just

making it through a chapter or level unlocks these things. The secrets weren’t

planned to alter gameplay or give “invincibility” cheats and things like

that, but mainly to provide more content to ogle, and hey, if you’re into

finding things just for the sake of finding them, that’s what it’s about,

right?

PGC: Why should our

readers be excited about Bounty Hunter?

JK: 

If you like an intense, story-driven action game starring an

extremely cool and fun to play, morally questionable badass like Jango Fett,

then this game’s for you. If you’re a Star Wars fan and you want the real

skinny on who Jango Fett is and how you can take on the hunt for a dark Jedi

that made him the source for the clone army, then this game’s for you. If you

want to light a Jawa on fire just because you can, that’s okay too.

PGC: Thanks very much for

your time!

JK:

Thank

you! We hope you have fun playing Jango!

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