SWCA 2022: 7 things we learned from the Star Wars: Hunters panel

Fans were finally able to enter the colorful and action-packed world of Star Wars: Hunters – the next multiplayer arena fighting game – to star wars Anaheim 2022 Celebration. The Hunters booth, large-scale and decorated with the game’s original characters, featured stations for fans to play ahead of release, and a panel with Lucasfilm Games and developer Zynga provided some background on the title’s making. Panelists Jeff Hickman (Senior VP, Zynga), Caitlin Conner (Senior Game Designer, Storytelling and Content, Zynga), Anna Kay (Senior Concept Artist, Zynga), Ross Burt (Senior Concept Artist, Zynga), Kelsey Sharpe (jr. creative director, Lucasfilm) and Craig Derrick (executive producer, Lucasfilm) got together to talk about everything Hunters with host Amy Ratcliffe, and here are seven things we learned about this unique star wars Game.

Hoth in Star Wars: Hunters

1. Hunters takes place after the Battle of Jakku, during a time of turmoil and opportunity across the galaxy. For lovers of continuity, this is an important detail. “In the real world, it puts us after Return of the Jedi and at the time of The Mandaloriansaid Kelsey Sharpe of Lucasfilm. “It’s a time of a lot of hope and a lot of promise.” The timeline also helps inform some of the characters and their backgrounds, including a former Imperial and Rebel Alliance loyalist turned New Republic.

Gameplay of Star Wars: Hunters

2. Zynga assembled the initial prototype of the game in two weeks. The development of Hunters dates back five years, about half of which was built with everyone in the office together and the other half remotely. Initially, a small team at Zynga sat down with Lucasfilm Games and thought about what kind of game it would be and what kinds of characters could be included. The team assembled the initial prototype in just two weeks. “And that was amazing already,” said Jeff Hickman, senior vice president at Zynga.


3. Two Jawas in trench coats sum up the spirit behind Hunters. Utooni was panel moderator Amy Ratcliffe’s favorite and certainly caught many fans’ attention when the initial trailer debuted last year – but he’s also the kind of character that encapsulates what Hunters is really about. No one initially thought they could include a character that was literally two Jawas stacked on top of each other in the game, but Utooni found his niche. “That fun and irreverence is at the heart of our brand,” Sharpe said before going on to draw parallels with the wise and esteemed Master Yoda who is also a “dumb little goblin,” noting that duality is part of what makes it so iconic.

However, there is more to this pair than just its fun and visual silhouette. From the original concept sketch, writers and artists had to think about why and how the two work together. “They’re such fun characters to write,” said senior game designer Caitlin Conner. “They have this dynamic where they bicker.”

Top view of the arena in Star Wars Hunters A ship landing in Star Wars Hunters

4. For the art style of the game, the developers went back to the ultimate source of inspiration. Like so many others star wars projects, the work of original trilogy concept artist Ralph McQuarrie was one of the starting points for the Hunters concept art team. “I don’t know how it’s a job,” said lead concept artist Ross Burt. “I study the paintings of Ralph McQuarrie!” Still, the team wanted to create their own unique style that would stand out, resulting in the colorful and heightened characters seen in-game.

Additionally, artists had to consider how Hunters would be seen on the big and small screen thanks to the different platforms. “We had to think about color schemes, how we style things,” said senior concept artist Anna Kay. The characters had to be instantly recognizable in the arena; we would say they succeeded.

J-3DI in Star Wars Hunters

5. J-3DI’s design is inspired by other droids and… statues? As for J-3DI, the droid that visually captures the spirit of the Jedi, concept artists returned to reference existing droids and droid parts. Burt cited the droid Huyang (from Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and archives the droids of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones as specific inspiration points for J-3DI, as well as real-world elements like a VCR. Thanks to a conversation with Lucasfilm Games, the Statue of Liberty also ended up being a point of inspiration for showing how to show metal fabric. Eagle-eyed fans might recognize a small design detail that’s a nod to a Padawan braid on J-3DI, which is one of many things that help set the character’s silhouette apart.

Star Wars: Hunters Character Group Photo

6. The characters have established rivalries and friendships. All of the arena characters have deep backstories and as part of that have established a dynamic with other characters. This includes both friendships and rivalries, the latter applying to Slingshot and Utooni. Utooni, the Jawa duo, are constantly trying to retrieve Slingshot’s droideka, which is driven by the Ugnaught, Dizzy, for parts; Dizzy, however, considers the droideka part of his family.

Characters from Star Wars: Hunters

7. Dress for the arena fighter job you want. All characters have different variations for their starting outfits, which players can customize to their liking. The climate will also impact character gear, as different arenas such as Hoth will influence some of the variants. What we’ve seen so far in screenshots and trailers are just their outfit variants; if anyone wants any clues about upcoming looks, Zynga’s panel giveaway was an amazing two-sided poster with key artwork on one side and a range of action characters – and some of their variants – from the other. We are happy to share the character lineup image below.

Character poster for Star Wars Hunters

And the cosplayers? The Hunters The team is extremely ready and excited to see your takes on their characters’ costumes. Senior concept artist Anna Kay is especially excited to see future Rieve cosplays, so get those sewing machines ready.

Bria LaVorgna is a writer who can’t remember a time when she didn’t like star wars. She is also very fond of Alderaan, Doctor Aphra, and Inferno Squad. You can follow her on Twitter @chaosbria.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #SWCA22, #StarWarsGames

KEY WORDS: star wars celebration, star wars celebration anaheim, star wars: hunters

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