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Bounty Hunter Interview

Star Wars: The Old Republic Interviews - By Michael Bitton on April 29, 2011

Bounty Hunter Interview
MMORPG.com:

Without too many spoilers, can you give us a basic overview of what the Bounty Hunter’s story is about?

Daniel Erickson:

The Bounty Hunter is the classic free man with a gun, he goes where he wants, he does what he wants. It is very much based on the Boba Fett fantasy, the Jango Fett fantasy, but even more than that, what I’d always seen the Bounty Hunters as, is classic Westerns. You noticed when you played the Bounty Hunter, in fact, very early, you had the quick draw guy, you were the lonesome gun guy who wandered into town by himself, met up with some people, some bad things happened. It’s very important to the Bounty Hunter that your independence is never threatened, that you always feel that you’re trying to do what you’re doing for yourself and for your goals.

So the chapter one story of the Bounty Hunter is about the Great Hunt, which is an underground, very secretive, Mandalorian contest to see who the greatest bounty hunter in the entire galaxy is, but that’s just chapter one, there are two chapters after that, now that you’ve proven you’re the best in the galaxy, now what do people want me for?

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MMORPG.com:

Outside of aesthetics, how does the Bounty Hunter differ from his counterpart the Trooper on the Republic side?

Daniel Erickson:

The Bounty Hunter and the Trooper are very very different stories. The Trooper is a man who is actually part of a military group, he’s the head of Havoc Squad, and he has a direct command. He has an armor cam and he has people watching what he’s doing all the time, he has to report in. He has to head to Coruscant and face the Senate and he has to decide whether or not to talk about top secret operations. The Bounty Hunter is in a very very different world. He’s taking down people for money, deciding what sorts of jobs he wants to take, dropping heads on Hutt floors, threatening Hutts in their own sort of place.

As far as combat feel, the Bounty Hunter tends to be much more gadgeteer-y, everything works off his armor, so everything is running off his armor’s power and has a heat system. The Trooper actually has an ammo system, he plays much more sort of classic gun game, so everything works for his ammunition, he has to actually reload, he’s got grenades, things like that, where the Bounty Hunter is a bit more fantastical in the things that he’s got, as far as his abilities and powers. Being able to jetpack straight up into the air and shoot missiles down on people never really gets old.

MMORPG.com:

Do players have to approach things differently when tanking as a ranged class such as the Bounty Hunter? What else does a Bounty Hunter bring to a team situation?

Daniel Erickson:

Well when tanking with the Bounty Hunter specifically, you definitely have to be aware of where you’re pulling the fight. So a melee tank will very often go straight to where the fight is, a ranged tank is actually looking at where he wants the fight to be. Because backing up just a little bit, you can actually sort of move the whole system of a fight, because you’re already at the periphery, you’re at the furthest range of what you can be. The ranged tank also, for me personally, I really like the visibility it gives. If I’m playing tank, I’m kind of playing battle commander, everything is, I’m the most important person as far as managing the conflict. Ranged tank means you’re far enough back from the action, but you’re not covered in nine dudes, so you can actually see what all the different players are doing, so it lets you play a bit more of a general role.

MMORPG.com:

In addition to the Bounty Hunter’s various gadgets he can also use either a pistol or a pair of pistols as part of his main arsenal in combat. Are Bounty Hunters limited to only these two sets of weapons? Will Bounty Hunters gain access to carbines or rifles later on in their development? If not, are there any plans to expand their arsenal post-launch?

Daniel Erickson:

So right now they are blaster classes, so we went with hand blaster, two hand blaster, and then all the gadgets. There are no plans right now to give them the rifles or any of the other pieces, but if, again, at this point in the game it is all about testing. If the testers say, “No. You’re wrong. We need blaster rifles.” Then you know, they win.

MMORPG.com:

What does a Bounty Hunter bring to PvP combat?

Daniel Erickson:

Bounty Hunters bring a lot of different things because of all the different roles. Some of the stuff that I really enjoy for the Bounty Hunter is, really sewing chaos. The Bounty Hunter has the missiles, the Bounty Hunter has the crazy uppercut with his jetpack that sends people into the air. The Bounty Hunter actually has a lot of abilities to knock people around or move them in the piece, especially when you’re trying to control pieces or assault maps; having the Bounty Hunter in there can instantly mix things up. You’ll very quickly see that having a bunch of people in one area works really well to defend a point until a Bounty Hunter runs in with a flamethrower, then you just have a whole bunch of people on fire.

MMORPG.com:

Will there be any form of player bounties in the game?

Daniel Erickson:

This is one of those things thats always sat around the maps. We know that it’s one of the classic fantasies, it’s there. There was more than that on the original things on the wish list, so player bounties were on the wish list, but what we’ve always said is, “If there’s going to be a player bounty system, there’s going to be a game for all classes.” So, we’re not going to have Jedi chasing bounties. So if there’s going to be a player bounty system, it’s going to be for Bounty Hunters, which means we need a smuggling system, we need the, whatever we decide to, we’ve got some really interesting ideas about what you’d do as a Sith or Jedi, but these are not things that are going to make it in for launch. At this point, any tech has to going into making the base game as tight and clean and bug free and fast and smooth as it can. We have to say, “What are the things that make this game the core of what we want it to be?” and most of that stuff is in the game now. Now we’ve got two things basically, endgame and tightening, and polish, and so all things are going into that. But we have, for all those people who are constantly interested; we have no moral objectives to player bounty systems. They’re just not going to make it in for launch.

MMORPG.com:

What races can players currently select from when creating a Bounty Hunter?

Daniel Erickson:

Rattataki, Human, Zabrak.

MMORPG.com:

Zabrak is new, right?

Daniel Erickson:

Maybe. Maybe I just announced it, but it’s in there. People were playing it today. I think that’s all the ones that are in now, that are specifically tied to the Bounty Hunter right now. Those are also not all of them that will be available for the Bounty Hunter.

MMORPG.com:

All classes can make choices that earn them Dark or Light Side points. Can you give us an example of the type of situation in which a Bounty Hunter would have to make such choices?

Daniel Erickson:

Yeah, so the Bounty Hunter, I don’t wanna spoil a quest you’re just about to do, but, the Bounty Hunter often comes into the kill-or-capture problem. Some bounties are very specific one way or another, so, but nobody ever knows what happens in the heat of battle. So, a really nasty Bounty Hunter can be killing people that he really wasn’t supposed to kill in the first place. What are you going to say? He’s dead now. A really nice Bounty Hunter, or a really Light Side Bounty Hunter, can actually very often decide, “Hey. You know what, I’m going to go ahead and freeze this person and bring him back to you. If you want him dead, you kill him yourself.” And then there’s a few interesting places in the plot where one decision or the other turns out to be the better decision even if that’s not what they specifically asked for to begin with. The Bounty Hunter also has to decide, what is money worth to him? Is he really willing to do anything for money? When somebody asks you, “Hey. You need to take this down this guy, he’s a big threat.” OK, that’s fine. When they say, “Hey, and I’ll give you a bonus if you murder all of his family.” You have to stop and think, “Alright, well, I do need 15,000 credits to expand my inventory. It is really full. What am I willing to do to get it?”

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager.