The Force is coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney Resorts in the near future with new Star Wars-themed lands, and VR will be joining it.
Epic Games co-founder Tim Sweeney today reiterated that Disney is working on Star Wars VR rides for its parks, a project that was unveiled at GDC 2016 during the Epic press conference. At the 2016 Steam Dev Days conference in Seattle, it came up again. It was just a small tease once more, though it’s already got us thinking of how cool an updated version of classic simulator Star Tours would be. During GDC, Bei Yang, Creative Technologies Leader at Walt Disney Imagineering went into a bit more detail.
This is still just one of a number of VR projects in development for the Star Wars franchise at the moment. We’ve already seen the launch of Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine for the HTC Vive, but there’s also a new experience based on the upcoming Rogue One movie heading to PlayStation VR for Star Wars: Battlefront owners. Industrial Light and Magic’s immersive experience division, ILMxLAB, is working on a new VR movie featuring iconic villain Darth Vader as well.
The wider Disney is also diving into VR, having just last week announced a partnership with Oculus to create new experiences for headsets that will debut later this year. In fact, Disney was working in VR long before Palmer Luckey started to tinker away on what would become the Oculus Rift; the company’s Aladdin ride used bulky headsets to take guests on a virtual magic carpet ride until it was closed down last year.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that this was a new announcement, but it was in fact originally announced at GDC 2016.
[Additional reporting by David Jagneaux]