Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
|Star Wars: Bounty Hunter|
Promotional North American PS2 cover art
Disney Interactive (PS4)
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (released in Japan as Star Wars: Jango Fett) is a Star Wars video game developed and published by LucasArts for the GameCube and PlayStation 2, released in 2002. The game was re-released digitally on the PlayStation Store for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in November 2015. Limited Run Games re-released a limited supply of the game physically for PlayStation 4 on June 28, 2019. In the game, the player controls the Mandalorian bounty hunter Jango Fett, featured in the 2002 film Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, to which this game serves as a prequel.
The main objective of Star Wars: Bounty Hunter is to hunt Dark Jedi Komari Vosa. During the game, it is revealed why Jango Fett was chosen as the template for the Grand Army of the Republic, how Boba Fett, his cloned "son" was born, and how Jango acquired Slave I. Players also fight many "bosses", such as Montross and Longo "Two-Guns". There are also side-objectives, such as collecting secondary bounties, that open special bonus items in the game. When the player beats a chapter, blooper reels - comedic machinima productions - are unlocked.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter is played from a third person perspective. Jango Fett has access to a wide array of weapons in the game; from his trademark blaster pistols to flamethrowers to jetpack-mounted missiles. In game, Jango can make use of his acrobatic abilities by somersaulting and jumping to the side to backflipping to avoid enemies. He automatically targets enemies, and holding a button allows Jango to move around an enemy while keeping them targeted. If the player is using Jango's blaster pistols, up to two enemies can be targeted at the same time. There are also many pickups, powerups, and items to help along the way. In every level, there is a primary objective and several secondary objectives, relating to the capture of several bounties; bounties are found and marked using his ID scanner, which switches the game to first-person perspective.
Amassing enough credits unlocks concept art. Each level also has a secret feather, which, unlock cards from the ccg by Wizards of the Coast ; if all feathers are found, bonus footage is unlocked. After every level, pages of the comic Open Seasons are unlocked for viewing, and after completing chapters, "blooper reels" for the cutscenes in that chapter are unlocked.
Bounty Hunter tells the tale of Jango Fett that begins as he receives a transmission from Darth Tyranus inviting him to participate in "a special hunt... for a special prey." The reward is 5,000,000 Republic Credits for the capture of the deranged leader of the Bando Gora, Komari Vosa, a Dark Jedi (and an ex-pupil of Tyranus). The Bando Gora are a group of Force-worshipping criminals who are proving a thorn in the side of Tyranus and Darth Sidious' plans. Jango agrees to pursue the hunt, despite his Toydarian friend Rozatta advising him not to go after the Bando Gora; as no bounty hunter who set after them has ever returned.
The Bando Gora are behind narcotics modifications of shipments of an illegal drug known as death sticks. Jango pursues a death stick dealer on Coruscant named Jervis Gloom. He captures Gloom and coerces him into revealing his sources. This leads Jango to a processing plant run by a gangster named Groff Haugg. When Jango arrives, he encounters his former comrade-turned-nemesis Montross, a fellow Mandalorian bounty hunter; who has already killed Haugg via carbonite freezing. Jango learns that they are both pursuing the same target. Jango fights Montross, who flees after finding a message on Haugg's computer from a co-conspirator, Senator Connus Trell. Jango fights his way through Trell's heavily guarded apartment tower to the Senator's penthouse where he learns that the death sticks came from a Malastare crime lord named Sebolto. Jango kills Trell by throwing him off the edge of the building.
Jango then proceeds to the asteroid prison Oovo IV to break out Bendix Fust, a former employee of Sebolto. Due to the fact Fust had placed a bounty on Sebolto's head, and by capturing him alive; Jango would gain an audience with the gangster. Deep inside the prison, Jango is surprised when another bounty hunter, Zam Wesell, reaches Fust before him. The two meet at gunpoint, but are forced to co-operate in order to escape from the locked-down prison. Jango's beloved ship, Jaster's Legacy is destroyed, so he commandeers a new ship which he dubs Slave I. Before leaving, Fett destroys the hangar and the remaining ships so as to avoid any chance of him being pursued. Montross, across the galaxy, realizes that Haugg gave him a false lead. When he hears of the prison riot, Montross follows Jango to the jungle planet, Malastare.
Fett and Wesell travel to Malastare to deliver Fust to Sebolto. When Sebolto realises Jango's plan, he flees, but perishes when he falls down a pipe into his own death stick factory. Jango ventures through the factory, and eventually comes to a cave crawling with members of the Bando Gora. Once he gets past them, he reaches a supply ship. Upon further inspection, he finds Huttese markings on it. Montross again reappears and taunts Fett about the death of his adoptive father Jaster Mereel and the disastrous battle at Galidraan when the Mandalorians were wiped out by a Jedi ambush. Jango battles Montross, with Wesell eventually providing cover fire and allows the pair to escape.
Not knowing which Hutt is involved with the Bando Gora, the pair split up to question the two Hutts, Jabba and Gardulla. After killing Longo Two-Guns and his gang and collecting Jabba's bounty on them, Jango questions him and finds that Gardulla has the answers he seeks, with Jabba asking for Jango to kill Gardulla. Fett proceeds to the back of Gardulla's palace through a small canyon, battling Tusken Raiders and Gardulla's guards en route, before finding Wesell locked in a holding cell. He tries to leave her there to avoid sounding an alarm, but Zam, thinking Jango is ditching her, compromises his position; and he is apprehended. After escaping detainment, Fett reaches Gardulla, who refuses to give up Vosa's location. Fett then feeds Gardulla to her own pet Krayt dragon, before slaying the dragon himself. Out of anger for her betrayal, he leaves Wesell on Tatooine to continue searching for Vosa alone. Fett contacts Rozatta, but Montross is listening in and attacks the station, rigging it to explode. Montross then taunts Fett, telling him that his friend is in danger. Fett temporarily abandons his quest to help Rozatta. He arrives to a fatally wounded Rozatta, who gives him a guidance device to help him track Vosa before she dies. Fett leaves Outland Station, with it exploding moments later.
Fett arrives on Kohlma, a moon of the planet Bogden, and secret headquarters of the Bando Gora. He arrives at the gates of Vosa's citadel, where he finds Montross waiting for him. They duel one last time with Montross wearing his Mandalorian helmet and jetpack. Jango finally defeats Montross once and for all, who wishes to have a warrior's death. Fett, as a means of revenge for his abandonment of Jaster and murdering Rozatta; lets the Bando Gora tear Montross to pieces as he walks away. Upon entering the castle, he is taken prisoner. He is tortured both physically and mentally by Vosa. However, Wesell then arrives, but is injured by Vosa. As Vosa moves to kill her, Wesell blasts Jango's restraints, freeing him. Fett follows a fleeing Vosa through the castle and ultimately fatally wounds her. As she lies defeated, she is then force choked from the shadows by an unknown figure, where Darth Tyranus reveals himself. Tyranus explains that the entire ordeal was a test, and that Fett has passed with flying colors. He offers Fett a considerably larger sum if he agrees to go to Kamino, to be cloned as a template for a clone army. Fett agrees, on the condition that he gets the first clone for himself unmodified (thus honoring Rozatta's final wish that he would find something to live for besides money). The game ends with Fett carrying the wounded Wesell to Slave I, where he tells Zam not to push her luck.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter began life when LucasArts was asked to make an Episode II-based game which featured the character Jango Fett. In March 2001, game design documents were presented, and development began shortly after. The PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube versions of the game have different custom in-house graphics engines, each designed specifically to take advantage of the two platforms' unique strengths and work around their unique limitations, but the core game engine is identical. In the PS2 version, they took advantage of both vector unit (VU) chips to drive the graphics to maximum performance. The DMA bandwidth was taken advantage of to use a high number of textures. There is full-screen antialiasing and texture mip mapping support. They used the second VU1 chip to handle all the character skinning and VU0 to handle all the skeletal animation transforms. Which enabled dozens of characters to be on-screen without bogging down the frame rate. They had 10 individually optimized rendering loops on VU1 to speed up the rendering process. Their PS2 graphics engine could move 10,000,000 triangles per second, and adding the gameplay, collision, logic, textures, sound would go down accordingly to around 30,000 to 50,000 triangles per frame, all at an average frame rate of 30 frames per second.
In the Nintendo GameCube version, they took advantage of the system's fast CPU to achieve a higher frame rate, and added more polygons to characters, especially Jango, who has roughly twice the polygon count on GameCube. The GameCube's texture compression allowed them to use high-resolution textures. Texture compression also allowed for improved color variance on textures. Mip mapping support across the board on all textures helped provide a rich and consistent environment. They exploited additional memory to improve load times. They implemented projected shadows on all the characters and an increased draw distance to allow for vista views.
Level design began with what designer Michael Stuart Licht referred to as spatial studies. Design began with paper cut outs of various rooms. Licht would rearrange these rooms until he found a design that he felt worked. The papers had design ideas written on them so that other developers could understand the overall flow of each level. Bubble diagrams were then created which represented main ideas for each space. This was followed by various stages of overview drawings and other drawing studies. 3D level design began after such studies were completed. In-game cinematics were created by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), and marked the first collaboration between LucasArts and ILM. Composer Jeremy Soule wrote music for the game, including both cutscenes and gameplay. The characters Jango Fett and Komari Vosa have their own leitmotifs. Both Temuera Morrison and Leeanna Walsman reprise their roles from the Attack Of The Clones as Jango Fett and Zam Wesell, respectively.
Production began in November 2000 when LucasArts were asked to make a game based on Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones featuring Jango Fett. They presented the game design proposal in March 2001, and development started soon after. Jon Knoles revealed in an interview that they wanted to develop Jango into the ideal action-based video-game character and that he was to be exciting to watch and fun to play. Secondly they wanted to develop a story that fleshed out Fett's character more fully than in Attack of the Clones, while at the same time remaining true to the spirit of his character as seen in the film. It was imperative to not dull the game with a slow story and leaden script; as such, their goal was to work a fine balance between backstory, narrative, and action-packed gameplay. Knoles said Jango Fett was developed to be an extension of the player's will, the ideal vessel through which the player could live out the fantasy of being the galaxy's most dangerous bounty hunter. His movement and animation blending system was designed to automatically react to other world objects and to never be unable to use his weapons or devices in any situation. The jetpack was originally designed to be used in areas specifically designed for its use. When the team got it working, they changed their minds and implemented a rechargeable timer on it so the player could use it anywhere for a limited time. At the most, the crew was over fifty people that were working on the game, excluding Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).
Their concept artists looked to the team's favorite graphic novels for inspiration and the concept artwork by Ralph McQuarrie, Doug Chiang, Joe Johnston, and others who worked on the Star Wars films. They were given access to the Episode II script and concept art early on before the film came out. LucasArts created storyboarded scripts of their cutscenes and gave them to ILM, who developed them into cinematic cutscenes. Knoles envisioned the level layouts and then consulted with lead level designer David Wehr and his level designers. They created a bubble map of the levels which they worked from to determine details in what the player would face and be able to do. The team made a new engine for the game to be able to do what they wanted. The graphic designers worked concurrently with the level designers to create the environments, which the level designers then used to better visualise what they were trying to do. Knoles had previously been involved in the development of the Super Star Wars trilogy for the Super Nintendo and often referred to those games when describing certain aspects of Star Wars: Bounty Hunter to the team.
Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound assisted in the creation of the game, which was the first collaboration between LucasArts and ILM in the field of in-game cinematics. Knoles said LucasArts and ILM learned a great deal from their cooperation, which allowed ILM to try new methods for creating scenes, as well as new tools and techniques. LucasArts provided ILM with models, textures, and a storyboarded script, and then applied their cinematic expertise in adapting the script into dynamic and visually stunning films. The sound designers of LucasArts and the sound designers at Skywalker Sound worked together to create the game soundtrack. Skywalker Sound made sounds directly for game animations and events, and created foley sounds.
Bounty Hunter received average to positive reviews. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 71.06% and 67 out of 100 for the GameCube version, and 69.26% and 65 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version.
PlayStation Official Magazine gave the game an above-average 7 out of 10, complimenting the core shooting and production values, but criticizing its repetitive nature: "A Star Wars-themed 3D shooter with some optional bounty hunting. Good fun, but it promised more." IGN awarded the GameCube version of the game 8.3 out of 10, and the PS2 version 8.2. Praising the graphics, sound, length and level designs, they criticized the implementation of the bounty hunting system; "The whole process is pretty clunky, and there should have been a way to streamline this to make it more fluid - especially in the heat of a battle when your mark is mixed in with four or five other opponents. It works the way it is for sure, but it certainly could have been fixed to be more intuitive than it currently is." In the end, however, they found the game to be one of the better Star Wars tie-in games; "Star Wars Bounty Hunter is a solid, if not technically challenged third-person action/adventure. Successfully combining our favorite aspects of the Star Wars universe with a clever stage design and a fantastic presentation, LucasArts has done a great job in suppressing the myth that games based on the Skywalker universe aren't any fun. A definite recommendation for Star Wars fans, Bounty Hunter isn't necessarily built for everyone, but for those of you out there who just can't get enough of this stuff, it's one of your better choices for this or any holiday season."
Less impressed was GameSpot, who awarded the GameCube version 6.5 out of 10 and the PS2 version 5.4. They found the technical issues of the game to be too significant; "Bounty Hunter suffers from an array of technical problems that have plagued other third-person action games. You can move the camera perspective using the right analog stick, but the camera will still cause you some major headaches when in tight corridors or when trying to draw a bead on a specific enemy. Often it'll automatically swivel to point you in entirely the wrong direction. Clipping and collision-detection issues also abound." They also criticized the graphics and the overall gameplay, concluding that "Star Wars Bounty Hunter may have all the basic ingredients needed for a solid third-person action game, but it falls flat in the execution and is far too often cumbersome, confusing, or in some other way un-fun to be recommendable on its own merits. Serious Star Wars aficionados should enjoy the game's story, but they'll be forced to slog through a lot of tedious action to see how it pans out."
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