The Let's Play Archive

Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter

by Tin Tim

Part 24: Concept Art and Stuff

- Concept Art & Stuff -

As usual, I did a bit of research before starting this thread. I collected a few bits and pieces that I want to show to you. If you don't care about concept designs and things like that, just skip this update. It's okay

Character Design

In the OP, I mentioned that Mace initially looked a bit different, and that his model got changed during the development process. That isn't an uncommon thing, but I think that it got worse after the change. Let's take a look at an early concept drawing of Mace.

That's quite a bit different, isn't it? And this concept was not only made on paper, it had an actual 3D model.

Just look at that cool guy!

If that isn't the perfect look for a gruff space bounty hunter, then I don't know what is.

Traces of his old model can even be found in some promotional things

I like the silhouette in the title, and the poster is great all around.

However, the devs thought that Mace wouldn't be accessible enough with that look. I've taken that statement from an old interview, so I'm not even sure what it should mean. Like, I guess that they wanted people to like Mace and turn him into a franchise? But I think they ended up making him rather bland, and removed what defining features he had. Also, how can you not love that little cape? Seriously. I could do without the hat+visor combo, but the cape and the details on the model are rad.


Since the game was never very popular, it's hard to find exact info about the development process behind it. But Giant Bomb has the game tagged with "Development Hell", so I think it's okay to assume that the road wasn't straight. I really couldn't find any words about the matter, but there actually is a surprisingly large number of pictures from older builds still on the net.

These screens are from the original pitch demo for the game. The graphics are pretty rough, and lol at that UI. But there is one kinda interesting thing about those screens, because Moscone apparently was initially supposed to be a human.

The graphics of this build are much more refined, so I assume that it's the last promo/demo version, and came out somewhat before the final build. I mean, aside from the UI, it's very similar.

Concept Art

I really like looking at concept art, so I was glad that I could still find some from this game.

There aren't a lot of sketches still floating around, but I think those are pretty neat! However, I was also able find the page from the person that we can thank for all the nifty weapon designs and for most of the objects. Harold Withers, has a lot of pictures and words about his part in Mace Griffin, so I'm going to link & quote those for your convenience. I guess some of the stuff has minor spoilers, but it really shouldn't be an issue, as most of it is out of context.


This was my first games industry project.

I took up an artist position at Warthog to work on Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter. (or just 'Bounty Hunter' as it was known back then) I was fortunate in that I started just as the concept stage was kicking off on this 3 year project, meaning that I got the opportunity to have a go at producing concept art for many of the different elements in the game, everything from Space Stations to handguns. As it turned out weapons were my forte, and I ended up being put in charge of the hand weapons, right through from concept to finished models. Not a bad gig on a First Person Shooter.

Interesting that he says that the development process took three years. I really have no inside knowledge of the industry, but I guess that kinda supports my theory about a rocky development road. Anyway, let's dive into the weapons first.


My first major art task on MGBH was working up the hand weapon concepts.

And though a few of the weapons went through changes as the project went on most of the end designs remain remarkably faithful to the original concept art. But of course some of the designs fell by the wayside, some thankfully as their initial design may have been to unwieldy, or they just plain didn't work when taken into 3D. But there are also cool weapons that didn't make the grade for one reason or another. One was a Cryo Pistol that I re-worked into one of the EMG designs. It would freeze enemies which you could then dispatch shattering them into shards of ice Terminator 2 style. Another weapon that didn't make the grade was the Laser Pursuer Sphere. This was a floating orb armed with a laser cannon and a powerful pneumatic spike. It was to have two settings. One being sentry. You'd release it into a room full of enemies and watch the chaos begin. The other being assassin mode, where you'd program it to hunt a specific target. On reaching it's quarry it would swiftly dispatch them with a spike jab to the skull. Your enemies could use them too. So if you enter a dark room, hear this ominous hum and see these little infrared sensor lights floating in the dark and know you're in trouble.

Concept sketches

It's neat that he talks a bit about weapon concepts that didn't make it into the game. The last one sounds really cool, but I can see how actually implementing it would have been difficult.


I had a flare for weapons design at the concept stage, so I soon got building them.

The polygon budget for the first person view weapons was around 1500 in the beginning, that changed and got higher as the project moved on and the capabilities of the game engine became more defined. Since these weapons were going to be on screen practically the whole game they had to look good. One of the interesting aspects of the FPS weapons for me was the animation of the firing and reloading actions and making them as realistic as possible. I had considerable input into the functionality of the weapons and worked closely in conjunction with animator Dan McGeoch on this. Low poly versions of the weapons also had to be created for the NPC's. The Jaldari, the large ape-like aliens in the game required their own modified versions of some weapons because of their size. They use the Plasma weapon and the Shotgun. We came up with the notion that the Plasma weapon was originally Jaldari, and that the weapon you use is a modified scaled down version for the human market. Where as the scaled up Shotgun was sold by the humans to the Jaldari, to suggest cross species trade and commerce.

3D models

And now we know why you can't pick up the Jaldari plasma guns!


As the concept phase continued I worked on ship & space installation design.

This became an interesting prospect to me, because since I wasn't actually building these models, it was going to be someone else's take on the designs I'd created that would make it into the game. Andy Wan was the guy building all the ships, and hats off to the man, his in-game models are pretty much exactly what I put on paper. Of particular note are the Shuttle, Mining Station and the Tallan Corp Headquarters, Identical to what I drew. The Rickshaw went through extensive reworking as you can see from the different concepts. It's an air taxi that features in a gun battle chase sequence. It became apparent that the design would have to open up to give the player an effective arc of fire. Tennion Station evolved into the Guild Station in the final game, but in this incarnation the spaceport was to be a sprawling city amongst the stars, with some missions actually taking place within it's own walls.

Concept sketches


With the weapons done it was time to move on to objects.

I had to build and texture the various objects that would populate the games levels. Once again I was pretty autonomous, but collaborating with designers on items that were specific to their levels. I'd be creating everything from a tea cup to a flatbed truck. Of particular interest is the Escape Pod. I had a lot of fun with this since you actually got to pilot it, which meant that I had to build a fully detailed interior as well as the exterior shell of the ship. Unfortunately the level in which it featured, the Osiren Derelict Medical Research Vessel, was cut from the game, which was a shame because it was a really interesting and well designed level. You do however still get to see the exterior model of this ship in the finished game, it appears as an unmanned Drone Cargo Shuttle in the Rescue Krugo level

3D models

The cut level he talks about sounds pretty interesting!


The Stasis Pods are another object from the Osiren level.

The player would have walked past banks of these things filled with towering Jaldari aliens frozen in stasis, then later in the game they would be re-animated and the pod doors would rise up, and they'd attack the player. Scary stuff eh? The Order of Virtual Light (OVL) levels had a very distinctive style, and their objects had to reflect this. All their items shared the same color scheme and came emblazoned with their orange symbol. To brighten up your living quarters aboard these deep space installations you've got to have your potted plants to add a little greenery. The Sample Tanks were one of the primary features of the Genetics Lab level, and when you walk into a darkened chamber filled with these containing mutated critters, you'd get a really eerie Aliens style laboratory feel. And where would we be without that old gaming classic the wooden crate?

3D models


Variations on the crate would come next to show some real diversity between levels.

These were all designed to add character to specific levels that they populated. Another object which would see some serious action was the Heavy Flatbed Truck, a huge vehicle which could be the centerpiece in many level sections providing a point of interest, and a great source of cover from enemy fire. Also with this you'd find the large freight containers which would often hide a cache of handy pickups for the player to find. The diverse items that went into the levels had to reflect the look and feel of that level so as to look like they belonged. There are no stronger examples of this than the items to be found on the Utari Luxury Starliner with it's opulent polished wood stylings or the holographic devices of the very alien Watcher Station.

3D models

This gives us a little insight on one of the stronger elements of this game - the diverse settings. I said it before, but you really can't knock the visual design. I guess you could say the the graphics ended up a little bland somehow and that the design could have gone deeper, but that's kinda nitpicking.


This page features a selection of screenshots from the game.

Here you'll see the various items, be they your weapons, the weapons of the non player characters, or any of the other objects that helped to populate the numerous environments as they appear in the game fully integrated into the dark futuristic world of Mace Griffin. Towards the end you'll find two images from the original pitch demo for MGBH, or just plain Bounty Hunter as it was known back then, these feature a hangar that I had to light, texture and refine, and a buggy I built that we put in there which was never implemented into the final game. Also note the rifle which was the first weapon I built for the game. And finally we have an image of the MGBH box art.

3D models and stuff

And that's it! I'm really glad that I found this page, and could give you a little look behind the scenes. Though, maybe that stuff is only interesting to me, because I'm a big nerd for details like that

The Comic

I mentioned this in a post a while ago, but yes, there actually was a comic about Mace Griffin. Behold!

I tried really hard, but you can't find scans from this. It also has only one released issue, which isn't that big of a surprise. I was still able to collect some bits about this comic though, so let's check them out!


Mace Griffin has had a hard life. Driven from his family home by the corrupt Enforcers, Mace joins up with the peace-keeping force known as The Rangers. But before Mace can use his training to it's fullest, he is framed for the death of his Ranger squad. Mace now has to face 5 years in a dangerous prison. If he survives his sentence, there is only one place left to turn, only one last hope of righting all the wrongs in his life. That hope is with the Bounty Hunters Guild, and with a new life, as Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter. Based on the hit video game from Universal Interactive!

This is a plot synopsis. It's more or less faithful to the game, except that it also details Mace's prior life.

And while I couldn't find scans from the actual comic, I was able to find some black & white sketch pages that are up for sale in some old corner of the internet.

Those pics don't have a very high resolution, but still look like a cool comic that I would have bought back in the days. Interestingly enough, some known people were also involved with making it. David Wohl was one of the writers, and Cedric Nocon did the illustrations.

But in the end, it's kinda strange that this comic was made in the first place. I mean, are there any other video games that also tried to launch a comic series alongside? I guess this plays into the fact that the developers tried to establish Mace as a legit action hero, and wanted to turn him into a franchise.

Welp, that's all the I have for this game. Hope you enjoyed some of it!