Star Wars Bounty Hunter
We here at Nintendojo are extremely excited about this interview. What better way to get out those giddy, child-like vibes than to have one of the game Directors from LucasArts answer several of your questions? It was a real surprise when we were approached by LucasArts to do a Q&A with Jon Knoles, director of the recently released Star Wars Bounty Hunter. The title puts the players in the shoes of one of the highlight characters from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Jango Fett, father to fan favorite Boba Fett. How did the creative process go for the team? Check out this exclusive Q&A!
Nintendojo: How did LucasArts first come up with the idea for a Bounty Hunter game?
Jon Knoles: We've always talked about making a Star Wars bounty hunter game at LucasArts. Side-scroller, first-person shooter, RPG, adventure, you-name-it, but for whatever reason, we never have. In the Fall of 2000, we were given access to the script and concept art for Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, and immediately realized the potential of Jango Fett as an awesome action-game hero.
ND: Will we be able to learn more about Jango Fett and his involvement in the Clone Wars?
JK: You'll learn a lot more about Jango Fett, and how he was chosen to become the template for the clone army seen in Episode II. But rather than re-tell the plot of the movie, which as you know did not turn out well for Jango, we decided to go back 10 years prior to Episode II, and create an original story that further fleshes out Jango's character, and answers some important questions about his past.
ND: Does the game support Progressive Scan or Dolby pro-Logic II? What kind of goodies can we expect?
JK: We support both progressive scan and Dolby ProLogic 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 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.
ND: What other weapons will Jango have access to in his personal arsenal besides everyone's favorite dual-blasters?
JK: Aside from this extremely effective dual blaster pistols, Jango also 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. He can also use mounted turrets throughout the game.
ND: All the locales seem to be across Coruscant. Will there be additional settings?
JK: Star Wars Bounty Hunter has 18 levels, which span six different worlds (three levels per world). Each world is totally different in style. There is the familiar bustling city-planet Coruscant as seen in Episode II, the deserts of Tatooine, and a slew of new locales, two of which are expansions of worlds familiar to players of Star Wars Episode I: Racer, the rocky jungles of the planet Malastare and the death-star like asteroid prison Oovo IV.
ND: It's been said that we'll learn more about changeling Zam Weesel in this installment. Could you elaborate on this for us?
JK: In Attack of the Clones, we realize that Jango has a partner of sorts, a changeling named Zam Wessell. We don't know much else about her, except that she's working for Jango. SWBH, Zam and Jango meet for the first time when they both end up competing for the same bounty. Zam's sort of new to the business, and figures that she could learn a thing or two from the famous Jango Fett. Jango figures Zam could be useful, and allows her to tag along on a mission. But the two of them are at odds, and only one will claim the ultimate bounty.
ND: Obviously, Jango seems to be a fan favorite. Who is your favorite character in Bounty Hunter and why?
JK: Jango Fett is my personal favorite. He's an interesting guy. Even though he was a villain in Episode II, he's not necessarily evil. He's a mercenary. He'll work for whoever pays. It just so happens that the bad guys usually pay more. This makes him morally ambiguous, more of an anti-hero than the always do-right Jedi. He doesn't talk much (the coolest tough guys never do), but he's got things on his mind. Why would Jango want the first clone for himself? Why does he want a son? Where did he come from? What the heck is a Mandalore Warrior? What kind of mission might make the fearless Jango Fett think twice about undertaking? This is all interesting stuff.
ND: Jango Fett Vs Mace Windu... A fair fight?
JK: Well, in the original cut of Episode II, the fight between Jango and Mace Windu lasted a bit longer. But in the interests of keeping the movie going, it was reduced considerably. I think Jango got short-changed in the movie. But Jedi are indeed a formidable opponent, and Mace Windu is one of the most powerful Jedi, so it seems appropriate that Mace would come out on top. But as you saw in the film, Jango, with all his gadgets and quick reflexes, could more than hold his own against Obi-Wan Kenobi, who's no slouch either.
ND: If Jango Fett were after Han Solo, who would shoot first?
JK: Jango, like his son Boba, would value Han Solo alive. I'm sure Jango would get the better of Solo (who is still my favorite Star Wars character). But being a tricky sort, Han should probably have given Jango a run for his money. If Boba Fett didn't have Darth Vader and a few hundred stormtroopers on his side, I'm not so sure he would have captured Solo quite so easily. I think Han should have fired off the first shots, but he'd be no match for Jango Fett and all his skills in a fight.
ND: We've seen Jango's jetpack in action, which is very cool looking. Will we be able to see that nifty missile in action also?
JK: Jango has two jetpacks in the game. You get the missile jetpack a little before the halfway point of the game. There are few things cooler than jetpack-strafing sideways or backwards while you fire off a missile into a bunch of goons, or using manual aim to fire one up in to the air and steer it right into an unsuspecting crowd.
ND: What was your favorite part about developing Bounty Hunter?
JK: Playing the game once it's all working is my favorite part, because that's what itís all about. For me, Jango Fett is like my favorite action figure coming to life. He does just about everything you'd want him to do. Just whipping around with the jetpack and unleashing a volley of laser blasts with his two blasters into hordes of enemies is pretty darn cool. The first time I could play through the entire game was a great experience. I caught 97 of the 150 secondary bounties, unlocked most of the bonus items, and did it in about 8 hours on the game clock, which means about two or three times as long in do-overs when the going got too tough. I haven't caught all the bounties yet, but our testers say it can be done. It was meant to be tough...maybe it's a hair too tough:) It was also great fun to work with voice actors, especially Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett) and Clancy Brown (Montross). These guys are tremendous talents, totally professional, and were enthusiastic during their performances. They really added a lot to the game.
ND: I recently found out that a beastie resembling Nexu will be making an appearance. Will we be seeing any other familiar monsters from the Star Wars Universe?
JK: There are over 100 different types of characters sprinkled throughout the game. Many of them, like the Nexu, the Gamorrean Guard, and the Tusken Raiders, are familiar to Star Wars fans. Many of them are new. You also take on, for the first time, a giant krayt dragon.
ND: Bounty Hunter looks like it's going to be an excellent game. Will we be able to see other installments of Bounty Hunter? Perhaps with different assassins?
JK: Well, depending on how successful we are, it seems logical to assume there would be a follow-up, and it would also seem logical to assume Boba Fett would be involved. Next to Darth Vader, he's the character people want to play most of all. Darth Maul would probably come in third. Everyone wants to be the bad guy :)
ND: After your experience with developing Bounty Hunter, what would you like to do next?
JK: Take time off! We worked extremely hard to deliver this game, and pulled some long hours over a very long period. It's time now for everyone to decompress, then a few of us will start kicking around ideas for what we'd like to do next. We've already got a long list of things we'd like to do for a follow-up, mostly focusing on doing more of the things we did well with SWBH, and doing less of the things that didn't turn out so great (hey, nobody's perfect). That's how we learn to make better games.
ND: Not even an Elan Sleezebaggano game? You could call it SimDeathSticks! Well, just remember who gave you the idea. Thanks for your time and we're looking forward to hearing more from your team!
JK: Thank you, and we hope you have fun playing Star Wars Bounty Hunter.
ND: Before you go, I have to ask you the question that everyone is waiting to hear... Who's head do you have on your PEZ dispenser?
JK: I happen to have a Jango Fett PEZ dispenser on my desk!
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