Earlier this weekend, a new Star Wars VR experience opened at Downtown Disney in California, giving people a unique opportunity to explore more of aland just a few hundred feet away.
In a collaboration between ILMxLAB (Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment studio), Star Wars, and Meta Quest 2 (Facebook’s VR headset system), Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is a new game that takes players further into Black Spire Outpost and the planet of Batuu that Imagineers created for the Star Wars Disney Parks lands.
“We wanted to take the story that starts in the parks, and make it bigger,” said the game’s producer Alyssa Finley. For her, that meant crafting back stories, characters, places, and activities for players (or visitors to Batuu) to discover and take part in.
Together with the Star Wars/Lucasfilm story trust leaders who help guide the narratives that carry the iconic brand and Walt Disney Imagineering, they were able to do just that.
For example, a guest who saw a doorway while visiting Black Spire Outpost at Disneyland or Walt Disney World but couldn’t enter it now finally can.
Just about three years in the making (and was supposed to debut shortly after the land’s openings), the core of the experience revolves around a character named Seezelslak, who has his own cantina, and is a perceived welcoming figure as you go about your journey.
Bobby Moynihan voices Seezelslak, and immediately jumped on to doing the project. “It was an honor to be asked to do it. It’s a Star Wars fan’s dream come true,” he said.
Being a fan, it allowed Moynihan to give some improvisational and very authentic contributions to the game’s story. “We had a script as a guide, but seeing Bobby perform and just go for it informed the different narratives you’ll get to take part in,” said Finley.
Those narratives need to be discovered, much like a campaign in a video game. As you traverse places like the highlands outside Black Spire Outpost or climb aboard ships docked on a landing pad inside Batuu, you’ll either stumble or be invited to do something.
In the preview that I participated in at Downtown Disney, I was able to do things like play space darts, pick up and shoot blasters at enemies, and even “eat” a Ronto Wrap – all things that VR affords anytime and anywhere.
Finley believes that this new access to Batuu for those who haven’t even stepped foot into the Disney Parks lands will make for an entertaining experience nevertheless.
“It’s an immersive experience for everyone; Star Wars fan, Disney Parks fan, and everyone who sits in between,” she said.
Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is now available exclusively via the Oculus Quest Store. A Meta Quest 2 VR headset and controllers are required to play.
The preview experience at Downtown Disney is available for free daily between 12 noon and 8 pm until January 5, 2022.
Our special thanks to Alyssa Finley, Bobby Moynihan, ILMxLAB, and Meta Quest 2 for contributing to this story!