With social distancing requirements apt to give a boost to virtual reality, especially in public places like theme parks, Lucasfilm and Oculus VR specialists are joining forces for a new Star Wars attraction.
Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is an original story that will include multiple styles of gameplay and difficulty settings, according to a blog post announcing the venture. The objective will be to bring in a wide variety of players when the experience is released later this year.
Developing the experience are ILMxLAB, the Lucasfilm group dedicated to “immersive entertainment,” and Oculus, which Facebook has owned since 2014. Disney hopes to reopen its U.S. parks in phases over the summer after months of closures due to COVID-19.
Scott Trowbridge, Portfolio Creative Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, described the new experience as an “extension of the storytelling found at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.” He added that it “builds on the lore of a land that has redefined what a Disney park experience can be.”
The Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge themed attractions at Disneyland in Anaheim and Walt Disney World in Orlando opened last summer
According to the companies, the new title is “set between the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on the planet of Batuu.” It takes place “on the outskirts of Black Spire Outpost of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” and will “let Star Wars fans and VR gamers alike explore the Star Wars galaxy like never before through all-new, interactive adventures.”
Disney had been looking to boost attendance at the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attractions at its California and Florida theme parks before COVID-19. Opening the Star Wars areas of the parks was a major initiative in 2019, in co-ordination with the theatrical release of the last Star Wars installment. Attendance was initially soft, and the veteran executive who had overseen the rollout left the company last September. Bob Chapek, who led the company’s Parks and Resorts division for years, ascended to the CEO role in February.
“We’re very happy to collaborate with ILMxLAB again on Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge,” Facebook VP of Content, AR/VR Mike Verdu said. “VR is an incredibly powerful storytelling medium; this experience will immerse fans in a deep and thrilling adventure within the Star Wars galaxy, as they are transported to impossible places through the power of virtual reality.”