Image:-A Star Wars VR Series
Back in 2016, when ILMxLAB first began talking about creating a canonical VR series that focused on Darth Vader, our goal was to tell a new, unique story about one of the galaxy's most infamous villains. We wanted to bring you into the Star Wars world in a way that can only be done through immersive VR storytelling. This would put you right in the middle of the action to connect as your actions move the story forward with amazing characters.
Before Vader Immortal I worked for feature films with the Lucasfilm Story Group to develop Star Wars stories. Now, the task was to bring into this new form of storytelling the same techniques and care we used in our movies. Quality is of course key to a brand like Star Wars. Every day we pushed ourselves to combine high-quality visuals, sound and compelling interactivity in a way that wasn't previously tried or achieved in the VR space. To do this, we built a team of folks with varied storytelling backgrounds from movies, games, and animation, brought in key collaborators such as ClutchPlay, and leveraged Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games. This, together with the assistance of Writer and Executive Producer David S. Goyer, helped us find our path for the project.
One of our first Whiteboard meetings began. We listed everything we thought would most like to experience fans (and ourselves!) if they were inside the Star Wars galaxy. Wielding a lightsaber was at the top of that list right there, but we knew we had to do it right if we were going to do this. We went through a lot of different mechanics at Ninja Theory, both internally and with our partners, before we got to the point where you really felt like you were parrying a blow, slicing through metal or blocking blaster fire. We tested the feedback continuously and we tweaked it until we got it right.
There are so many parts that capture you in the experience but in the first episode my favorite is still early. The moment Darth Vader approaches you for the first time is something that can not really be explained (but I will try). When his gaze follows you it is intense and he speaks to you directly. Some people I've seen stand up taller and get in his face, some shrink a little or even step back, but his presence is intimidating and unforgettable.
With Vader Immortal winning Best AV / VR Game at the 2020 GDC Awards, and earlier this year's Producers Guild Innovation Award, our hard work was recognized too.
The team is working hard to get the story up and running for PS VR, and we can't wait until you all get to experience it and meet Vader face to face. We'll have more to share in the months ahead.