The Star Wars universe is a vast one, an interconnected mosaic that covers every type of media you can imagine, from films to television to video games. In recent years, ILMxLAB — Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment studio — has brought Star Wars to the virtual reality front, first with the Oculus experience Vader Immortal and now with a new VR adventure, Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge.
The game takes place on Batuu — the same planet you can visit at Disneyland or Walt Disney World. What you can do in the virtual version, however, is much more expansive. Want to blast a bunch of bad guys? No problem, you can head out to the Batuu Wilds and go for it. Looking for a more laid back evening? The game has you covered — you can simply lounge around Seezelslak’s Cantina playing darts while looking over the comings and goings of Black Spire Outpost.
Seezelslak’s Cantina — the dive bar version of Galaxy Edge’s Oga’s Cantina — is the hub for storytelling in the VR world. It was this foundational concept that Jose Perez III, director of the new game, proposed to Oculus and ILMxLAB after he finished his work on Vader Immortal in 2017. Three years later, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge has hit the Oculus storefront, where it can be yours for $24.99.
SYFY WIRE spoke with Perez and Senior Producer Alyssa Finley about the game and what fans can expect from the VR experience.
“One of our goals this time around was to make sure that there was room for people to find their own jam,” Finley tells SYFY WIRE. “If you're a completionist, if you like collecting things, we have challenges, so you can go ahead and do that and get that little mental happy checkmark... it's really about having more opportunities than just passing through a narrative tube and seeing what we have to show you. Because this really isn't a ride as much as a place to explore.”
No matter what your preference is, there are plenty of places to visit over two separate storylines. For the main part of the game, you’re a droid repair technician working on Batuu who spends too much time at Seezelslak’s Cantina and who also happens to cross paths with the Guavian Death Gang (as one does).
In between picking up droid parts for your boss, Mubo, running into C-3PO (voiced once again by Anthony Daniels) and shooting pirates, however, you also have the chance to talk with the multi-eyed bartender, Seezelslak, who regales you with a tale that happened centuries ago in Batuu’s Black Spire Outpost. Seezeslak’s story becomes an additional experience called “Temple of Darkness," where you, a lowly droid repair technician, are transported to a time when Yoda (the OG Yoda, who is voiced by the original Yoda himself, Frank Oz) is visiting a Jedi temple on Batuu along with a new Padawan, Ady Sun’Zee.
Intrigued by these premises and interested in seeing some of the experience firsthand? You can check out the game’s new trailer here:
Like almost all official Star Wars media, Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge is weaved into the larger tapestry of the Star Wars universe. “Temple of Darkness,” for example, takes place during The High Republic, a new era for storytelling that takes place a few hundred years before the happenings of the Skywalker Saga. The first High Republic book will be released this January, and according to Perez, the game’s Ady might find herself in other media as well. “There's definitely a lot of talks about how she fits into the overall High Republic timeline,” he shares. “So I'm sure you'll see more stories of her in the future.”
And then there’s Batuu itself. The planet got its start in Star Wars canon through the Galaxy’s Edge park attractions, but the world has already expanded to other media. The Oculus game is the latest addition to the canon surrounding Batuu, but all these storylines are only the tip of the iceberg of what's already been developed. “There is a wealth of amazing stories that are just sitting there that have not been told yet that are slowly seeping in the park,” Perez says. “We were able to dig into those... as a Star Wars nerd, it's like the coolest archeological dig ever.”
Take Mubo, for example. He runs the Droid Depot in Galaxy’s Edge, and you can visit his store in person if you’re ever at Disney World or Disneyland. In the VR game, however, you get to know him on another level. He’s your boss, for one thing, and you learn things about his background and character that we haven’t seen (yet!) in the parks.
Looking forward, there will definitely be other Star Wars stories told through this VR experience. Part II of the game will be released sometime in 2021, and though Perez and Finley couldn’t share any details, we do know that Seezelslak will tell at least two additional tales.
And the storyline possibilities, Perez hints, are plentiful, including a potential tie-in to The Mandalorian. “If we find something that we're really excited about in any of the eras of Star Wars, going back to the High Republic, which is hundreds of years before the Clone Wars, or anything up until the day that Seezeslak’s Cantina landed in Black Spire Outpost is totally open for us to think about and explore,” Perez says when asked if characters from The Mandalorian might make it into future parts of the game. “We would be silly not to be looking at all the things that people are having fun with.”
Star Wars fandom aside, there’s also a lot keeping us in our homes these days, and those looking for some enjoyment in these tough times can find it here in droves. “We can't always go to the places we want to go, and we can’t always do the things we want to do,” Finley says. “[The game] is a place to go in virtual reality that lets you adventure and explore and be a hero, to be a simple person who makes a big difference. And I think that’s a story that resonates for me this year.”
ILMxLAB and Lucasfilm’s virtual reality game, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge, is now available on the Oculus Quest platform.