Hunters – Everything You Need to Know

Though there’s obviously no shortage of major, AAA Star Wars games coming up in the near future, those who’re looking for a smaller scale gaming experience in a galaxy far, far away still have an option to look to in Star Wars: Hunters. Zynga’s multiplayer game is set to launch for Nintendo Switch and mobile devices on June 4, and ahead of its release, here, we’re going to talk about exactly what it is that Star Wars: Hunters is going to bring to the table.


Let’s get the basics out of the way first- what exactly is Star Wars: Hunters? In a nutshell, it’s a PvP team based arena shooter. Taking players across the Star Wars universe, the game features maps that will take you to a number of familiar Star Wars locations, including Ewok Village on the forest moon of Endor, Mos Espa Podrace and Dune Sea Outpost on Tatooine, and more. The game is set after the fall of the Galactic Empire, between the events of the Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.


Star Wars: Hunters will let you dive into one of four modes at launch, each bringing a Star Wars twist to familiar tropes. There’s Squad Brawl, which is essentially team deathmatch, with the first team to 20 eliminations winning the match; then there’s Dynamic Control, which tasks teams with competing to capture rotating control points, and Power Control, where teams win by holding the majority of control points on the map. Finally, there’s Trophy Chase, where teams will win by holding on to a trophy droid named TR0-F33 until a bar fills to completion. The team that gets to 100% first wins.


One of the bigger hooks of Star Wars: Hunters is, of course, the fact that it’s going to let you play as a variety of different characters in its multiplayer matches, each bringing not only their own unique attributes and abilities, but also their own wacky personalities, something that the game seems to be placing quite a bit of emphasis on. At launch, the game will have 12 characters that will be split across three classes- Tank (heavy, damage-absorbing specialists), Damage (more nimble characters focused on dealing damage), and Support (focused on healing and buffing allies).


Star Wars: Hunters will have four Tank characters available upon its release. There’s the Trandoshan Charr, an expert hunter and trapper who can use his claws and his close-range scatter gun to great effect; the Wookie Grozz, a hulking former Huttballer who now wishes to take his fame to the next level by taking to the battle arena with his giant improvised clubs; the droideka and Ugnaught combo known as Slingshot, who boast plenty of firepower with their double canons, rockets, and what have you; and Sentinel, a loudmouth Stormtrooper who takes to the battlefield with a heavy machine gun and can also summon allies for temporary aid as one of his abilities.


Star Wars Hunters

Coming over to the Damage class, there will be plenty of options here, with five characters available at launch. There’s Diago, who’s an expert marksman in spite of having no sight, and comes with a slow firing but heavy damage dealing rifle; Imara Vex, a professional bounty hunter equipped with a blaster rifle, missile launcher, tracking scanner, and more; Rieve, an assassin who uses the dark side of the Force and a lightsaber and is essentially a mini-Sith Lord in all but name; J-3DI, a droid who wrongly believes himself to be Jedi, to the point of coming equipped with Jedi robes, a lightsaber, and even simulated Force abilities; and Utooni, who’re actually two characters in one- two Jawa brothers who stand one on top of another and wear a robe before taking to the battlefield with blasters, arc welders, grenades, and what have you.


Finally, we come to the Support class, where players will be able to play as three characters at launch. There’s Sprocket, a Mon Calamari whiz kid who uses his tech skills to command deadly droids, unleash various passive buffs, and even summon turrets; Skora, a Rodian chemistry expert who was once a Hutt cartel medic and now fights in the arena with primarily healing-focused abilities; and Zaina, a human Rebel war hero who comes equipped with a blaster pistol, is the archnemesis of the aforementioned Nemesis, and also has healing abilities


Star Wars Hunters

Star Wars: Hunters will also have some other notable characters outside of its roster of playable heroes. The two that you’ll become most familiar with are Boz Vega and LX1, who’ll serve as the hosts of the intergalactic arena fighting sports broadcast that you’ll be participating in as several different characters. As per the developers, Boz Vega is a former Hall of Famer himself, and has now become a big, loud, friendly, and excitable commentator. LX1, meanwhile, is a droid with a much more different energy. She counters Boz’s high energy with incisive stat calculations, pulling historical facts, and more.


Characters in Star Wars: Hunters’ roster are obviously going to bring different gameplay elements to the table, but they’re also very much being treated as unique characters from a narrative perspective as well, even though this obviously isn’t a very narrative-focused game. For instance, multiplayer characters in the roster are going to have unique relationships with each other, from long-standing rivalries to old friendships. For instance, as we mentioned previous, former Stormtrooper Sentinel and Rebel war hero Zaina are each other’s archnemeses  dating back to old battles from before the Empire fell, while Sprocket and J-3DI are steadfast friends, on account of the fact that the former built the latter. Skora and Imara Vex, meanwhile, are old allies, having previously worked together on several bounty missions, while Rieve and the aforementioned J-3DI are proper rivals, with the former being a pseudo-Sith and the latter being sort of a Jedi.


Star Wars Hunters

Star Wars: Hunters is made around the conceit of arena combat being broadcast to the Outer Rim of the galaxy as a big, flashy sporting event, so it’s no surprise to learn that professional wrestling served as quite a big inspiration for the game’s developers. Speaking in an interview published on the official Star Wars website, art director Dominic Estephane revealed that in addition to each character’s larger-than-life personalities, the game’s presentation as a whole also takes plenty of cues from pro wrestling.

“It’s in the presentation, as well,” Estephane said. “It’s a live show broadcast. We have our version of a jumbotron. If you’re familiar with pro wrestling, where they have the big-screen jumbotrons, each Hunter has their own graphics package that you see on the screen within our roster screen in the game. Each Hunter has their own music theme, which is really, really awesome. We have what we call, internally, “Hunter’s spectacle.” That is, how would the Hunters walk out on stage and present themselves? And once they walk out, their music is playing, as well. So we think our best-in-class visuals on mobile really help deliver and showcase that progress and influence.”


As you’d expect from any game designed as a multiplayer-only experience, Star Wars: Hunters is going to place plenty of emphasis on cosmetic customization as well. Each character will have unique costumes, weapon skins, animations, and more that players will be able to collect or purchase. How extensive the options will be and what the monetization will look like remains to be seen.


Star Wars Hunters

Star Wars: Hunters will also let players take on quests, which will essentially be comprised of multiple series of different challenges, all leading to different final rewards. Players will be able to unlock different kinds of quests by meeting varying unlock conditions. Different quest types will also include quests revolving entirely around a specific characters. A number of Hunters will get such quests, including the likes of Utooni, Sentinel, Imara Vex, Charr, and more.


As expected from a multiplayer game, Star Wars: Hunters will also feature a ranked mode. In a nutshell, Ranked Mode will take the form of seven-week seasons that will see players playing in competitive matches and climbing through tables across divisions and leagues, with one of three modes being chosen randomly for matches- Squad Brawl, Dynamic Control, or Trophy Chase. Based on their performance, players will fall in one of five leagues, starting at the bottom with Bronzium, then climbing up to Chromium, then Aurodium, then Beskar, then finally the highest league, Kyber, with each league having three divisions.


Star Wars Hunters

How exactly will players move up and down through Ranked Mode’s leagues and divisions? Based on a scoring system, as you might imagine. The outcome of the matches you play in as well as how you perform individually will both contribute to you receiving a score at the end of each match, which can also be negative. Each division has a score threshold that you need to reach in order to climb up to it, so if you want to climb to the very top, you’re going to have to perform well enough and win often enough to be able to attain enough points.


We started this feature off with the basics, so it makes sense to finish with something similar. Which platforms exactly is Star Wars: Hunters hitting? The PvP title will launch for Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android. Whether or not Zynga has any plans to bring the free-to-play game to PlayStation, Xbox, or PC remains to be seen, though one would imagine that if it’s successful enough, it will eventually launch for more platforms.


Star Wars Hunters

Star Wars: Hunters will, as you may have guessed, also net you with bonuses if you pre-register ahead of its imminent release. These bonuses will come in the form of avatars, weapon skins, emotes, and more. Meanwhile, those who play the game on the Nintendo Switch at launch will also get an exclusive pair of cosmetics for free. Specifically, players will get the Shift Veteran costume and Shift Blaster wrap.