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A couple of months ago we learned that Disneyland and Walt Disney World were planning major VR Star Wars experiences that would put people inside the world of the films. The first trailer now shows us exactly what we're in for. ILMxLab and VR company The Void have come together to create a virtual reality experience that multiple people can play together. It looks like just about everything a Star Wars fan could want. Check it out.
While the adventure looks to be original, it appears to have borrowed a page from the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story playbook. The basic setup sees up to four people working together to infiltrate an Imperial base dressed as Stormtroopers. We even get an appearance from K-2SO. The mission assignment comes from Mon Mothma and takes place on the planet Mustafar. This is the location of the climactic battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker at the end of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. It's also seen as Darth Vader's home in Rogue One. Does that mean that we'll get an appearance from Vader at some point during the mission? On the one hand, that would be awesome, though on the other hand, based on what he did to a bunch of people armed only with blasters in Rogue One, meeting him might mean "game over."
While judging VR from outside the headset is always a difficult thing to do, everything about this just looks and sounds perfect. Everybody who has grown up with Star Wars has dreamed of being part of the galaxy far, far away, and Secrets of the Empire looks to be the best way to ever realize that dream. Blasting Stormtroopers with your friends is going to be the best part of a game like Star Wars Battlefront 2 and doing it in virtual reality with your friend standing next to you sounds like more fun than Star Wars fans should be allowed to have.
The two "hyper-reality" experiences will be located outside of Disney Parks, which means you don't need to buy theme park tickets to experience it. Instead, the facilities will be located at the adjacent pedestrian malls, at Disney Springs near Walt Disney World in Orlando and at Downtown Disney, outside of the theme parks in Anaheim. The Disney Springs location opens December 16, the day after the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi in theaters, while the Downtown Disney version opens a couple weeks later, on January 6, 2018.
Tickets are now on sale for the first couple of months. There are game sessions running nearly continuously from 9 AM to midnight each day, so while the first couple of days are already sold out, there's plenty of opportunities to grab a ticket right now. Tickets run $30 per person.
This will certainly be on the "to-do" list for my next Disney vacation. In fact, that vacation may need to come sooner than I had previously planned, now that I know Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is so close.