In the Star Wars universe there is no more famous archetype than that of a lightsaber wielding Jedi or Sith. Among these villains and heroes, there is one category of character who is better described as infamous: The Bounty Hunter. Donning armor, blasters, and all manner of gadgetry, these soldiers for hire give Star Wars fans an alternative to the hokey religions and ancient weapons of Jedi. For these reasons and more, BioWare has included the Bounty Hunter as one of the eight main classes in Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Bounty Hunters are well-armed soldiers of fortune with an impetus to kill or capture anyone, as long as the price is right. The never ending pursuit of credits, however, means that they're not limited to just hunting those with prices on their heads. Bounty Hunters will often become bodyguards, assassins, or standard foot soldiers when they are compensated appropriately.
The Bounty Hunter lifestyle continually brings them in conflict with other iconic professions in Star Wars. Their specialized skills developed a unique reputation for being "Jedi killers." Additionally, rivalries often develop between Bounty Hunters and the other infamous underworld archetype, Smugglers. This was most famously illustrated by the rivalry between Boba Fett and Han Solo.
Mostly solitary, individual Bounty Hunter alliances or partnerships are few and dangerous. However, Bounty Hunters sometimes associated themselves with larger organizations such as the Bounty Hunters' Guild.This guild operates as a middle man, funneling bounties to its members. During the a Jedi Civil War, one could actually walk into a "bounty office" and view a list of current bounties. In the end, the mutual distrust and fierce independence of most Bounty Hunters meant that these larger organizations did not last long, or were not very effective.
Feared by the general population, Bounty Hunters engage in dangerous and dirty work. During times of galactic conflict, Bounty Hunters tend to remain officially neutral. However, this neutrality is tempered by political ideology, leading many Bounty Hunters to favor the side that makes their violent lives more lucrative. The work they excel at is in high demand during these times.
By far the most common way for a Bounty Hunter to get work is through individuals. Crime lords, underworld bosses, and powerful people from across the galaxy use Bounty Hunters to perform various tasks and enforce their dominance.
Bounty Hunters will be familiar to Star Wars fans regardless of the eras they are familiar with. Due to the nature of their work, they often became well known throughout the galaxy. Cad Bane, IG-88, Jango Fett, and Bossk were some of the most recognizable names through The Clone Wars, The Rebellion Era, and into The New Republic era. However, the Bounty Hunter Boba Fett rose to a level of infamy unmatched in Bounty Hunter history. He was known to have a working relationship of mutual respect with Darth Vader. This made Fett the top choice for the Galactic Empire as well as the Hutt crime lord Jabba when it came to Bounty Hunting services.
The Old Republic era has its share of over-the-top Bounty Hunting figures. In fact, many of the Bounty Hunters from this era have their first mentions and appearances in the Knights of the Old Republic games, HK-47 being chief among them. Revan's hand-built assassin droid is known for his stark commentary and hatred of humans, which he refers to as "meatbags." Calo Nord and Vossk also first appear in the Knight of the Old Republic games. The Bounty Hunters Braden and Shae Vizla are the newest Bounty Hunters to enter this tradition, being first introduced in the "Threat of Peace" comic and the "Deceived" cinematic trailer, respectively.
It is clear that BioWare's history with the Bounty Hunter gives them a great base to expand upon for Star Wars: The Old Republic. The class's focus on gadgets, heavy weaponry, and armor is sure to make for exciting and dynamic combat true to its namesake. Likewise, the narrative BioWare weaves will no doubt be filled with the infamy and danger Bounty Hunters are known for.