Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is (for the moment) the closest you may ever come to infiltrating an Imperial base disguised as a stormtrooper and doing your bit to free the galaxy from the repressive shackles of the Empire… Sounds like every fanboy’s (and fangirl’s) dream, right?
The Future Is VR Fan Experiences
I was dubious to be sure. Personal VR headsets like PSVR and Oculus Rift are great for home gaming experiences, but they are not fully immersive. All it needs is a quick tap on the shoulder or a trip over the edge of the couch to remind you that you’re just playing a game.
However, this is different. This is a no escape, full-on, 4D experience that will leave you wanting more!
My Experience of ‘Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire’
I recently had the opportunity to experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire in London, UK. This is one of just five locations for this fan experience in the world. It is also available in Orlando, Anaheim, and Las Vegas. The experience was created by VR gaming forerunners THE VOID.
Upon arrival, you are encased in your VR gear (a weighty backpack and headset) and ushered into a staging room where you learn of your mission from Rogue One‘s Cassian Andor. Your mission? Infiltrate the base disguised as a trooper and find a crate the Empire is transporting to reveal “the secrets of the empire”. Now “secret” is the name of the game here. I was pleased to know relatively little going in and there will be no major spoilers here.
The experience of being a trooper is surreal. We held out our hands to see our every movement enclosed in white armour. Then within minutes, we were flying through hyperspace, actually feeling an odd flight-like sensation. The main part of the game takes place on an infamous planet from Star Wars lore.
It all just feels real. It isn’t “real real” but film real, enough to make you suspend your disbelief for the 20 or so minutes you are in there. Yes, it’s relatively pricey for 20 minutes (at $30/£35 a ticket). However, it’s an unforgettable fan experience, one that is genuinely exciting and perilous. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire has been so popular in London that its limited run has been extended and THE VOID is expanding. Ghostbusters VR experiences are now open in cities across the US.
Imagine the potential here for other franchises. Personally, I would love to see an Alien-themed VR experience. What would you like to give the VR treatment? Share your thoughts in the comments!