Story compiled by Mojo Staff.
Last week, three extremely lucky Mixnmojo staffers attended a LucasArts 20th Anniversary press conference at the Acqua Hotel in Mill Valley, California. Andrew “telarium” Langley, Jake Rodkin, and DJG* eagerly entered the conference room to discover that LucasArts had cleverly gathered about forty members of the press to look at upcoming titles. Andrew "telarium" Langley shares his thoughts on the conference:
We sat down among the lines of white cloth tables and stared ahead at the giant television screen, waiting to be wowed and dazzled. Admittedly, we aren’t the kind of gamers who get overly excited about Star Wars games, and since there were no original titles being shown at this particular press day, we didn’t expect to come away with a lot of anticipation. As it turned out, we did see a lot to get excited about.
The presentation kicked off when producer Rachel Hardwick demonstrated the upcoming PS2 and Gamecube action title, Star Wars Bounty Hunter. First, LucasArts showed an amazing cinematic cutscene that was put together by Industrial Light and Magic. I think that Bounty Hunter has some of the best, if not the best, cutscenes I have ever seen in a video game. Jake agreed that they look good, but maintains that the Warcraft 3 cutscenes are better. Regardless, this game marks the first time that ILM, Skywalker Sound, and LucasArts have all collaborated on a project, and the results are impressive. The voice work sounds top notch, with the actor who portrayed Jango Fett in Episode II providing the dialogue in the game. The music will consist of the original John Williams Star Wars scores and about 20 minutes worth of new music written by Jeremy Soule.
The story, written by longtime LucasArts Star Wars designer Jon Knoles, isn’t as extensive as other titles like Grim Fandango or Full Throttle. However, it still rivals the stories you find in most other video games these days. Bounty Hunter takes place prior to Episode II and just before the point where Jango Fett is picked to be the original source for the clone army. It seems that a renegade Jedi is interfering with Darth Sidious’ plans to rule The Republic, so he asks Count Dooku to find a bounty hunter to do away with this obstacle. The story introduces around 120 unique characters in the game and explains more details about the history of Jango Fett, and it answers questions like why Jango was tapped to create the clone army and why he wanted a son to accompany him.
The gameplay for this title looks to be fun. It’s all fast-paced action, so you hardcore adventure game fans will be sorely disappointed. Bounty Hunter consists of 18 levels over 6 worlds and unique environments. In traditional 3rd person action game style, Jango’s movements are camera relative. When attacking, you can either use a manual targeting system or a lock-on feature. Locking on to an enemy causes the camera to focus on your target so that you can run, jump, roll, fly, and dangle from ledges while accurately firing where you want to. In fact, since Jango has two blasters, he can lock on to one target with one blaster and use the other blaster to fire at a different enemy. This all allows for a fun and flexible fighting style. If you want to get sidetracked, you can hunt down some optional bounties. These rewards give you points that can be used to unlock some DVD-like extras in the game. Rachel couldn’t really comment about what these extras will be, but she seemed very excited about it.
The PS2 version of Bounty Hunter is scheduled for release around November 12th. The Gamecube version, featuring higher polygon counts and increased frame rates, will follow about two weeks later. When we got our hands on this game in the conference room, it turned out, not surprisingly, to be a lot of fun, and the game is only in its pre-alpha build (it crashed a few times when we played it -- oops). We can’t wait to play the final version.
Next: The Clone Wars and Jedi Outcast, console style!
* DJG's real appearance and name unknown.