With today’s launch of the official Star Wars app on Android and iOS comes the first look at the Jakku Spy virtual reality experience created by the studio behind the Star Wars films.
The experience, developed by ILMxLab, the interactive arm of the studio behind the Star Wars films, consists of 9 snippets which will be unlocked over the next several days on the lead up to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The first of the 9 is unlocked today.
The experience can be viewed with Google Cardboard or in a non-VR mode using the phone’s full screen to explore the scene at arms-length using the phone’s on-board sensors. The Cardboard implementation is official, meaning you can scan any ‘Works with Cardboard’ code to optimize playback for your specific viewer.
The first segment of Jakku Spy is undeniably authentic, starting with the classic opening crawl, eventually fading to a rather gorgeous view of the desert planet of Jakku. In a transition that would be out of place anywhere but Star Wars, the planet below you gently fades into the ground as a desert view surrounds you. This 360 degree video rendering around you is reasonably high quality but doesn’t appear to be stereoscopic.
From here you’ll see a landspeeder of some sort pass by what appears to be your own craft parked in the desert. In a few moments, the Millennium Falcon comes racing out of the sky with enemy craft in pursuit.
In the blink of an eye, the ships have left the scene and up comes a droid in the style of BB-8, the droid seen in the trailers for the forthcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. After presenting you with a collectible card, the droid projects a short message before you which signals the end of the segment.
This first segment of the Jakku Spy experience is pretty and authentic, but disappointingly short. Including the slow opening crawl, the entire bit lasts but 60 seconds. With 8 more moments to unlock over the next two weeks, likely each with a similar runtime, the totality of Jakku Spy is likely to be more satisfying. It’s clear that the segmentation of the experience was designed to keep you coming back to the app for more (which we definitely will) and, practically speaking, means breaking up what would otherwise be a single large download into more bite-sized bits.