Find out when the kinetic battle arena game will come to our galaxy, check out the new trailer, and read an exclusive interview with Zynga art director Dominic Estephane.

There’s never been a game set in the galaxy far, far away quite like Star Wars: Hunters. A team-based battle arena shooter from Zynga and Lucasfilm Games, Star Wars: Hunters — arriving June 4 for Android, iOS, and Nintendo Switch, which is excited to reveal — features fast-paced multi-player clashes across maps inspired by classic locales, from Hoth to Endor. But Star Wars: Hunters also introduces a new element to Star Wars storytelling with its brand of arena combat, a form of fight-entertainment; combatants, or “Hunters,” even play their own characters, resulting in ridiculously fun takes on Star Wars archetypes. (Two stacked Jawas in a trench coat? A droid that thinks it’s a Jedi? This is indeed the game we’re looking for.) With the arrival of a new cinematic trailer and pre-registration now open, spoke with Zynga art director Dominic Estephane about the game’s inspired character designs, the large influence of pro wrestling on Star Wars: Hunters, and the just-revealed announcing duo. The characters of Star Wars: Hunters are so gloriously over-the-top, but still anchored to the reality of Star Wars. Was there a goal to go beyond the norm and really stretch out creatively?

Dominic Estephane: One of our pillars for the team was playful reverence. So we broke that down. That meant respect for the Star Wars universe and lore, while adding a layer of light-heartedness to our character designs. If you encapsulate that, we asked ourselves the question, “What’s the Hunter’s layer when it comes to our characters?” We knew we needed iconic Star Wars archetypes, but with a twist. So we have J-3DI, he’s a droid who’s been programmed to believe he’s a real Jedi. And we have two Jawas in a trench coat — maybe there’s a height requirement to be in the arena, so they stand on top of each other in a trench coat. And we have an Ugnaught-piloted droideka, Slingshot, which you don’t see in the Star Wars universe. We worked closely with our partners at Lucasfilm Games, and they allowed us to have fun, show our creativity while making these amazing new Hunters, and we can’t wait for players to get their hands on the game. Is there one character, that is especially bonkers, that you would say is your favorite?

Dominic Estephane: It’s definitely Utooni. Yeah, the two Jawas just stacked on top of each other. We did know internally that it was a crazy one, and we thought we would never get it across the line. But it’s out there. They seem to be a fan favorite. One of my favorites, as well. So, definitely, Utooni stands out for me. As a longtime fan of pro wrestling, I can’t help but notice (and love) its influence on Star Wars: Hunters. Can you talk about that inspiration and how much it informs the game?

Dominic Estephane: I’m also a longtime wrestling fan. I attended WrestleMania this year, myself. Yeah, I was excited to flex my wrestling knowledge once I hopped on Star Wars: Hunters, for sure. That’s definitely reflected in the Hunters and their personas. They’re larger-than-life personalities, similar to pro wrestling. Using Grozz as an example, he’s our super heavyweight and he’s a showman, but in reality he’s a former Huttball pro. He brings that persona to the arena, but he dials it up for the fans and the crowd, the audience watching at home.

It’s in the presentation, as well. 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. So we previously met the fighters of Star Wars: Hunters, but the new cinematic trailer introduces our two hosts, who are really fun. What can you tell us about them?

Dominic Estephane: That ties into that pro wrestling influence and it being a sports broadcast. In-universe, the show being broadcast is called “Hunters of the Outer Rim.” It’s broadcast live on ORSN across the holonet.

We have Boz Vega, who’s a former sportsman himself, and you’ll notice his Hall of Fame rings in the trailer. He’s our color commentator, very enthusiastic. He’s loud, he’s a big guy. He’s larger than Grozz, a Wookiee and our biggest character, but he’s very friendly and very excitable.

Then we have LX-1. She’s a droid purposefully built for the occasion with detailed arena history, immediate stat calculations, and a tiny bit snarky. She counters Boz’s energy, but she bounces off Boz really, really well. She’s our play-by-play commentator, and she’s fond of J-3DI. If you’ve got a keen eye, in our trailer you’ll see she’s got a little bobblehead of J-3 on her desk, which is quite cool. She’s got a huge databank of history. She knows all there is to know about our Mandalorian, Aran Tal, and his rivalry with Imara Vex, a bounty hunter.

So those are our announcers — very much, again, influenced by pro wrestling in having a two-person booth. And hopefully that comes across when you see that trailer and the presentation as a whole. You would’ve heard them in previous trailers, so seeing them for the first time, it’s very, very exciting for us. I remember when I first saw podracing in The Phantom Menace and thinking, “Oh, they have sports in Star Wars.” So adding this feels kind of the same to me. It just opens the door to more possibilities in storytelling. Have you talked about that and what it means for Star Wars at large?

Dominic Estephane: Yeah. I grew up with the prequels in the ‘90s and, definitely, podracing was the thing. And I think that came up, as well, that they must still consume media that way in the galaxy. They’re not just working all the time, 24/7. To highlight that, there’s entertainment. They actually watch the holonet, and we’re seeing it more in recent series, as well, like Andor. They sit down, they watch TV, they watch the news, what’s happening around the galaxy. So yeah, it’s definitely fun to delve deeper into that and be a part of that, and I feel like there’s room to grow. We’ve left our toys in the toy box, and someone else can come in and play around with that, and expand on that idea of entertainment in the galaxy. I think it’s really, really fun. So now that we know the game is releasing very soon, how does it feel to finally get it in the hands of players?

Dominic Estephane: It feels amazing, and the team all over the world is very excited about everyone being able to finally get hands-on with Hunters on June 4. As a thanks, we have some player rewards for pre-registration, and you can get all that info at, whether you’re playing on iOS, Android, or Nintendo Switch. So we hope fans are excited by Hunters, the world we have built, and the action in the arena. We’re ready to welcome everyone. Very, very excited.

This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.


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