‘Star Wars’ Gaming Moves to VR, Lucas Film to Expand ‘Star Wars’ Universe to HTC Vive This April?

Lucas Film is expanding the possibilities for Star Wars fans to experience a new way to interact with the Star Wars universe.

Lucas Film’s new venture, ILMxLab was created to have all of the creatives on Star Wars participate in the creation of this new Star Wars universe in the augmented reality. Basically, this is a playground for exploring all the possibilities for Star Wars’immersive experience, according to The Verge.

One of the top projects in ILMxLab is the virtual reality, or VR, option for Star Wars. In 2015, it was announced that ILMxLab will be partnering with HTC Vive to celebrate the launch of the lab.

ILMxLab creative director John Gaeta is optimistic about the possibilities of VR Star Wars.

“AR (augmented reality) is going to hit us like a big bang.”

“We’re just trying to point out right from the beginning that there will be a form of AR that will be as hi-fidelity as the cinema that you see at some point. I can’t say what year that’ll be. But at some point, we’ll have intimate holo-experiences with performance and things like that,” he added.

After almost a year of partnership, it appears that the ILMxLab has progressed in the project. However, since the HTC Vive has experienced some delays, the Star Wars VR has been delayed as well. Nonetheless, it appears that the Star Wars VR is still moving forward as Engadget has been able to capture a teaser trailer on YouTube for the very first Star Wars VR game, called Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine. Unfortunately, the YouTube teaser video has been set to “private” after a couple of hours.

Star Wars on HTC Vive (YouTube)

Developing Star Wars VR

The development of this project has been challenging. It has taken a number of talented people to hand in their contributions on visual effects, story narration, and AR installation.

According to Engadget, Star Wars VR uses a combination of Windows 10 computer and projection systems to create the “mixed-reality world.”

“These glasses, in combination with a motion-capture system used to track positioning, let viewers watch the inhabitants of Jakku — in this case, the droids BB-8 and C-3PO — pop out from the projections on surrounding screens and move around in 3D space as if they were physically present. It’s an impressive technical feat that, quite literally, has to be seen to be believed.”

John Gaeta said that they wanted to “allow people to understand that there is no longer a wall between cinema or storytelling. It could just be the opening gateway…the portal.”

Star Wars will soon be experienced on HTC VIVE. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)

ILMxLab is already experimenting on different tools like the one they did with VScout, an immersive production tool that was developed in parallel with Holo-Cinema. VScout can be used independently.

Gaeta notes that these technologies can be of great use in cinema. They hope that they can simulate augmented reality and bring it to the users’ end. With HTC Vive closing in on its launch, fans are excited to see how Star Wars VR will come to life.

The HTC Vive system opened pre-orders on Feb. 29. The U.S. launch price is $799. In Canada, it launches at $1,149; in Australia it costs $899 and in New Zealand it is $949.

The HTC Vive will arrive with one Vive VR Headset, 2 SteamVR Wireless Controllers and 2 Lighthouse Laser Base Stations. It will reportedly come with 2 games, Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives and Fantastic Contraption. There are no official announcements about Star Wars VR arriving as well, but the leaked teaser suggests it would be following very soon.

The HTC Vive will also have the Vive Phone Service that can be attached to the users’ phone via Bluetooth.

HTC Vive is scheduled to ship on April 1.

[Photo by Mike Pont/Getty Images for AWXII]