Alongside the announcement of the new Oculus Quest VR headset at the ongoing Oculus Connect conference on Wednesday, Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment division ILMxLAB provided a title and trailer for its virtual reality experience, starring Darth Vader, that it has been working on since 2016 with writer David S. Goyer. It’s called Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series and it will have three episodes, the first of which will be released in 2019 on the Oculus Quest.
The trailer for Vader Immortal – Episode 1 doesn’t reveal much, except that Star Wars fans will get to see Darth Vader’s castle on the volcanic world of Mustafar, which was first seen in 2016’s Rogue One. That also means that it takes place sometime before the first Star Wars film, Episode IV – A New Hope. Oculus’ head of experiences Colum Slevin said that players will get to wield a lightsaber and face Vader in person.
Vader Immortal is far from the first Star Wars VR experience. In 2015, ILMxLAB partnered with Google on episodic content for The Force Awakens, which was available for Google Cardboard. 2016 saw Trials on Tatooine, a Jedi training game, released on HTC Vive. And in 2016, ILMxLAB worked with The Void on Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire VR installations, available in select locations across the US and Canada.
It’s unclear if Vader Immortal will be exclusive to Oculus Quest, though the wording of the announcement makes it sound like it will be a timed exclusive. Hopefully, that will turn out to be the case, given the Facebook-owned Oculus hasn’t bothered to set up shop in India at all.
“As a lifelong Star Wars fan, working with ILMxLAB on an untold Vader story is a dream come true," Goyer said. "The experience is designed to be ‘immersive first,’ meaning that from its inception, this 3-part series has been conceived and executed specifically for the VR medium. We’re breaking new ground with this project that places you, the user, at the centre of the story.”
“We always look for opportunities to explore the Star Wars universe in new ways,” said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “ILMxLAB is very excited to be working with David S. Goyer on a first-of-its-kind Star Wars experience which allows fans to travel to Darth Vader’s fiery, lava-ridden fortress and wield a lightsaber on his home turf.”
“Our mission at ILMxLAB is to have fans ‘Step Inside Our Stories,’ and Vader Immortal represents a significant step forward in that ongoing quest,” said ILMxLAB executive in charge Vicki Dobbs Beck. “Our friends at Oculus share ILMxLAB’s ambition to bring compelling immersive narratives to life and using Oculus’ hardware, we will invite fans to experience Darth Vader as never before.”