Hold onto your extendable plastic lightsabers, kiddies, because ILMxLAB and Lucasfilm recently announced a new Star Wars–themed VR experience, Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay — Astro-Mechanic for the Resistance. While the experience was originally only announced to debut… for some reason… in Nissan car dealerships, the experience is now set to launch next week on SteamVR, Viveport, and Gear VR.
Update (11/29/17): Announced earlier this month, Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay became available first in select Nissan car dealerships, but today ILMxLab announced the experience will launch come December 6th on SteamVR, Viveport, and Gear VR. A new trailer accompanied the news:
Though the announcement makes no mention of the Rift, it’s expected the SteamVR version will work fine given the platform’s inherent Rift support, and that the prior Trials on Tatooine (2016) experience works with the Rift. No price is mentioned in the announcement, though it isn’t clear whether or not the experience will launch for free.
Original Article (11/2/17): As chief astromech technician aboard General Leia’s ship, users are tasked with repairing BB-8 and a number of (less-marketable) droids that are needed for the war effort, according to the Lucasfilm’s Star Wars blog. Developed for HTC Vive and Samsung Gear VR, the experience is coming soon to select Nissan dealerships in the US, Mexico, and Canada.
From the description, it sounds like a neat diversion, similar to Valve’s Portal: Aperture Robot Repair released as an early demo for HTC Vive. Hocking it in Nissan dealerships feels odd, though it’s likely that Nissan paid to have the experience produced to draw people into their dealerships as part of their broader Star Wars themed marketing campaign.
As Lucasfilm’s experimental immersive media wing, ILMxLab has been producing its distinctly Star Wars–flavored pieces for VR like Star Wars Trials on Tatooine since it was founded in 2015, which ideally immerse you in the galaxy far far away as a bid to keep you living and breathing Star Wars until they can get you into theaters for the next big franchise movie. And as the next Sisyphean Star Wars hype cycle moves into full swing, I can’t help but think this was whipped out, or re-purposed to fulfill a contractual obligation to provide Nissan with something, anything for its ‘Master The Drive’ sales event.
Given it’s an official VR experience promoting Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it’s also hard to imagine anything more banal than experiencing the Earth-shattering debut of “brand new astromechs with their own unique personalities and original designs” while waiting for the salesman to finalize your Altima lease, but at least it’s sure to be realized in the same high-quality we’ve come to expect from ILMxLab.
It’s uncertain if the latest Star Wars experience will also be available for the general public at some point to try out in their own homes where, you know, you don’t have to talk to car salesmen. We’ll of course keep you updated, so check back soon. [see update above]