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A/V Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Ancient Whills, Sep 26, 2018.

  1. Ancient Whills

    Ancient Whills Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 12, 2011

    https://www.starwars.com/news/vader-immortal
    Vader Immortal, written and executive produced by David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight, Secrets of the Empire), will be a three-part series set between Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. It connects to Secrets of the Empire (though we don’t yet know how), and sends fans to the iconic Sith Lord’s castle on the lava-world of Mustafar first seen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. As shown in the teaser trailer above, which also debuted today, we’ll encounter Vader himself and wield a lightsaber. No other details have been disclosed, except that it looks to be the next step in Star Wars VR.

    “The very initial conversations around this project started three years ago, around the launch of ILMxLAB,” Mohen Leo, director of immersive content at ILMxLAB, tells StarWars.com. “Lucasfilm was in production on Rogue One. In the film, the audience gets a glimpse of Darth Vader’s castle on Mustafar, which we knew would be intriguing to a lot of fans. This was also around the time that some of the first really compelling content for the Oculus DK2, the developer kit that preceded the Oculus Rift, came out. We recognized that VR has a unique ability to transport people to a fictional place and let them explore it. So, we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to let the audience visit and explore Vader’s castle, and have the opportunity to learn some of his secrets?’”

    [​IMG]

    For Goyer, an accomplished screenwriter who has also written for television and video games, the project was one he could not pass up. “I think it was about three years ago that Kiri [Hart of the Lucasfilm Story Group] called me up and said, ‘Would you ever be interested in doing something in the VR space with Vader?'” he tells StarWars.com. “And I said, ‘Yes!’ She said, ‘Do you want to hear anything else?’ And I said, ‘No!’ No one prior to this had ever attempted anything like this in VR. And I was interested in moving into VR. But the idea that I could actually work with ILMxLAB and do something with Vader, that was the killer app for me.”

    The development of Vader Immortal, to hear Leo and Goyer tell it, has been a journey of discovery and experimentation. What can and should they do with this medium and with this hardware — which is tetherless — and how can they use them to present Star Wars in a new way? Conversely, what shouldn’t they do? Finding the answers to these questions have made for a creative process that has challenged what’s possible in Star Wars and VR.

    “It’s been a long, long process,” Goyer says. “There aren’t any established rules for what we’re doing, and there were definitely some starts and stops. Even trying to figure out what it was and what the parameters were took us the better part of a year.”

    “VR is still a really young medium so, with every project, we experiment and learn,” Leo says. “Trials on Tatooine allowed us to give the audience a first taste of Star Wars fantasy fulfillment: wield a lightsaber, meet Artoo, stand on Tatooine, and feel the power of the Millennium Falcon as it lands over your head. As a location-based experience, Secrets of the Empire really emphasized a sense of space and how you move through it. It also takes place on Mustafar, prior to the events of Vader Immortal, and it shows some narrative seeds of a storyline that connects the two experiences. With Vader Immortal, we really wanted to push connection to characters and narrative between multiple experiences. So you’re not just visiting an iconic place from a movie; you get to meet iconic characters like Darth Vader, face-to-face.”

    And for Goyer and all involved, it’s been a rewarding learning experience.

    “I knew I couldn’t write it like a teleplay, I couldn’t write it like a movie,” he says. “I’ve been writing for screen a long time, so to a certain extent I can anticipate how people are going to react to a scene. But in VR, that completely throws everything out of the water. We would have a really emotional scene, for instance, but as we were play testing it, the environment was just so overwhelming because you’re actually there, you just weren’t listening to anything anyone was saying. And so fairly early on, the rest of the team and I realized we have to write and play test, write and play test. There was no way how to anticipate how you would respond unless you put on the goggles and experienced it, and that taught us a lot.”

    “We have an amazing team at ILMxLAB in San Francisco,” adds Leo, “who worked in close collaboration with a team at Ninja Theory, an award-winning games company in the UK, Lucasfilm’s Advanced Development Group, Skywalker Sound, Epic Games, the support team at Oculus, and, of course, a screenwriter of David Goyer’s caliber. It is really a privilege to work on a project that brings together brilliant folks from so many different fields, and see what they can create together.”

    [​IMG]

    For the canon-uninitiated, one thing that’s important to note is that Vader Immortal counts, and was hatched and developed with guidance from the Lucasfilm Story Group. It will be an official part of the overall saga, adding to what we know of Vader and his story, and of everyone and everything else that Vader Immortal touches.

    “We came up with the concept, and then we had a conversation about where in the timeline it would fit,” Goyer says. “Everyone felt very strongly that it’s a legitimate Vader story and that it advances the ball in terms of who he is and what his goals are. We were also determined to make sure that it’s a story you can only experience in VR. There aren’t any other plans to port this into any other medium. We wanted to design it specifically for VR.”

    [​IMG]

    Indeed, the VR form is expressly unique, and the more immersive the experience, the more powerful. “VR just conveys an enormous amount of presence,” Goyer says. “You really feel like you’re there. Millions of people have had a fantasy of wanting to inhabit the Star Wars universe. And you get to inhabit it in a real way and interact with Vader for a significant period of time. But also, what’s remarkable about VR, is it can convey emotions. It’s a different way to experience Vader. Different from the movies, different from cartoons, so that’s what’s really exciting.”

    And…what’s experiencing the Sith formerly known as Anakin Skywalker like in Vader Immortal?

    “I can tell you that the first time we did tests with Vader approaching you — it’s just incredibly intimidating,” Goyer says.

    The Sith Lord, however, isn’t the only element of Vader Immortal you’ll get up close and personal with; his castle, too, plays a role. “You’re going to be able to really explore that place and, by extension, learn a lot more about Vader,” Goyer teases. “I think the goal, also, was that we might able to [witness] some other depths to his character that might be difficult to experience in other mediums.”

    Integral to all of this, of course, is the Oculus Quest. The headset, which is wireless, is what has made Vader Immortal possible. “Oculus has been a fantastic partner in this project,” Leo says. “Both sides recognized early on the shared desire to explore the storytelling aspect of immersive entertainment. From the first time we tried the early prototypes of Oculus Quest, we were really excited. There is something really cool about the freedom of an untethered VR headset that allows you to really dive into the virtual content without some part of your brain worrying about getting tangled up in wires.”

    Now, we just have to wait for our date with a Sith Lord. And if you’re excited, you’re not alone.

    “As someone who watched Episode IV opening day as an 11-year-old,” Goyer says, “to actually write dialogue for Vader, and to be told by the Story Group that it actually sounded like Vader — that was a personal thrill for me.

    “I will say this,” he continues. “The Star Wars universe is obviously one of the most beloved universes that exists. And I think the wish-fulfillment aspect of not just being able to watch a Star Wars story, but inhabit a Star Wars story and take action within a Star Wars story, is a game-changer.”
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  2. Endol

    Endol Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 14, 2014
    If it's anything like Secrets of the Empire it's going to be brilliant.

    My concern is cost for all this. Home VR is very pricey still and hasn't taken off in the way perhaps firms had hoped. Even on PS4 with genuinely excellent VR games like Resident Evil 7, there hasn't been that mass adoption of the medium.
     
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  3. Blackhole E Snoke

    Blackhole E Snoke Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    I'm not even sure what it is. Is it like TV episodes or an interactive game?
     
  4. DarthJaceus

    DarthJaceus Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Dec 6, 2016
    Something tells me it will probably be a mixture of the two. Also, it's gonna be canon, so that's pretty cool!
     
  5. Darth Corydon

    Darth Corydon Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 4, 2018
  6. Blackhole E Snoke

    Blackhole E Snoke Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Yeah I'm just wondering how that works for YouTube videos. I mean you can watch someone play a game. You can't watch someone watching a TV episode.
     
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  7. Coherent Axe

    Coherent Axe Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 20, 2016
    It's a game. "we’ll encounter Vader himself and wield a lightsaber". It'll have scripted elements (probably entirely scripted, I imagine), but it'll be an interactive story.
     
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  8. DelRiego

    DelRiego Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 12, 2002
    So, kind of like the old laserdisc games, but immersive?
     
  9. GrandAdmiralJello

    GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin ❉ Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Some games these days get released episodically -- so you'll get a set amount of story content, packaged like it was a TV show episode. And so instead of a single release date for the game, each episode releases sequentially as it finishes. You are typically able to purchase them separately or bundled for a discount, although who knows how it'll work for this new VR system.
     
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  10. Yunzabit

    Yunzabit Jedi Knight star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 5, 2015
    Yeah this looks cool but I’ll save my money for Disney Play, and books.
     
  11. Outsourced

    Outsourced Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2017
    Rest In Peace Telltale.
     
  12. Vthuil

    Vthuil Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 3, 2013
    This is functionally inaccessible to me so [face_dunno]
     
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  13. sidv88

    sidv88 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Who would we play? I would have guessed Vader's secret apprentice, but the Force Unleashed series had been there and done that. Although they haven't been against rehashing things, so who knows...

    Either that or we're playing http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Vaneé :vader:

    Vader: Vanee, go and rearrange the items in my closet.

    Vanee: Yes, my lord.

    Cut to boring tutorial where player moves items on a shelf to get a feel for the VR controls.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  14. LelalMekha

    LelalMekha Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 29, 2012
    I won't even bother with this. It makes me too sad that a canon product is utterly inaccessible to me for sheer monetary reasons.
     
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  15. SilentGuy66

    SilentGuy66 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 1, 2014
    Unless this is re-released for the PS4 VR, I'm afraid I'm going to have to give this one a pass. I see what you're trying to do Disney/Lucasfilm but even consumer-brand loyalty isn't enough to get me (and I assume many others) to shell several hundred dollars for an occulus
     
  16. FS26

    FS26 Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 2018
    VR is an incredibly prohibitive medium, not only in terms of cost but also in terms of simply being unable to use it. I'm happy to see it developed further, but it will always have a comparatively small audience.

    What I do find interesting with this product though is that it seems to be part of a larger multi-media project of Star Wars content all focused around Vader's castle: Several comics, an appearance in the Secrets of the Empire VR ride (which is basically the precursor to this), referenced in the Last Jedi visual dictionary, etc.
     
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  17. StarWarsFan91

    StarWarsFan91 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Vader will remember that.
     
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  18. spicer

    spicer Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 14, 2012
    Sadly, I have to agree. I am very interested in the premise of the series, but I just can't justify getting a VR set for this alone. On the plus side, I expect the important parts of the story to be uploaded on YouTube so that fans can be up to date with the lore.

    EDIT: I just re-watched the trailer, and is James Earl Jones voicing Vader? At first I thought they hired a voice actor that can imitate Jones, but he sounds almost exactly like Vader from the movies.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
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  19. Daneira

    Daneira Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 30, 2016
    Sounds like Jones to me, because it sounds like Rebels/Rogue One Vader. If they were going with an impersonator, they'd use someone who sounds like OT Vader.
     
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  20. SilentGuy66

    SilentGuy66 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 1, 2014
    After thinking about it, I imagine that the story of this series will follow "us" as a captured Jedi that has been sent to Mustafar to die (ala :kanan:) however when "we" get there we find that Vader tends to put his prisoners through a series of lightsabre/ dark side training to determine whether they are powerful/worthy enough of joing the inquisitor program or something like that. We go along with the tests and eventually escape. (No one wants to play a VR game where they are killed do they?)
     
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  21. Ulicus

    Ulicus Lapsed Moderator star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 24, 2005
    I think the player character is Snoke.
     
  22. sidv88

    sidv88 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 22, 2005
    So Snoke's facial injuries are due to the game's final boss fight?
     
  23. Ulicus

    Ulicus Lapsed Moderator star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 24, 2005
    They're due to his player forgetting about the table in front of him IRL and tripping over and falling into Vader's lightsaber.
     
  24. Supreme Leader Woke

    Supreme Leader Woke Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Dec 29, 2017
    *Cue Yakety Sax*
     
  25. LelalMekha

    LelalMekha Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 29, 2012
    According to the Visual Dictionaries, it seems that Snoke's difformities are birth defects.