GDC 2016: Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine will make you feel like a Jedi


I’m literally one of the biggest Star Wars fans on the planet; I even have tattoos to prove it. So when Unreal and Epic Games asked us to check out a Star Wars experience on the HTC Vive, of course I jumped at the opportunity. In a partnership that included Lucasfilm and their new ILMxLab, they brought out a new experiment called Star Wars: Trials of Tatooine. What they were going for is a “cinematic virtual reality experiment” as they’re calling it. It’s basically an interactive short made exclusively for the Vive.

After getting strapped into the Vive, you start off as you would anything Star Wars, with the scrolling yellow text against a starfield with the theme music on blast. As the camera pans down, the Millennium Falcon does a flyby of the desert planet of Tatooine. Next thing you know, you’re on the ground with the sun setting in the distance. You’re now a Padawan that’s been training here. As you’re standing there looking around, the Falcon comes by and lands right next to you.

Being able to admire the ship so close was more than a treat. Even though it doesn’t look like much, it still is one of the fastest ships in the galaxy. Han Solo comes over the comms and says there’s a package for you as the ship’s ramp lowers with R2D2 greeting you. All of a sudden you hear the iconic sound of TIE Fighters approaching, as well as Han issuing a warning. They take shots at the Falcon, as it returns fire. You’re then tasked with checking the ship for damages.

At this point, a panel starts descending, but it gets stuck. Using the motion controller, you grab it and pull it to the ground. You then go through a series of button pushing, while being instructed by Han. Once it was all done, the Falcon shoots down the last of the fighters. Don’t get cocky yet, things aren’t over yet. An Imperial Transport comes flying by and lands a short distance away with Stormtroopers disembarking. It’s here that Han says there’s a gift from Luke Skywalker for you, and you can only imagine what it is.

You’re dam right it’s a lightsaber, and delivered by R2D2. Pressing the touchpad on the Vive controller illuminated the lightsaber. Now it was time to show the Empire what you got. As the Stormtroopers come within firing range, you’re only ability really is to deflect blaster fire and not get hit. This part made me feel so much like a Jedi, and was one of the most satisfying experiences ever. After taking the troopers, I successfully defended the Falcon, and gave them the opportunity to get out of there.

The entire experience was about 10 minutes long, and it left me wanting so much more. I didn’t want to stop playing. Granted, this was just a tease, and dam did it tease. I can only imagine what’s in store for the future and what else they’ll have to show. There’s still no word on release date or anything else, so we’ll just have to stay tuned to see what comes of it.

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Narvin Seegoolam
Narvin Seegoolam 712 posts

Narvin's middle name is FPS....ok maybe not, but he's like BOOM!! HEADSHOT!! I'm hungry...