Star Wars' New VR Game Wanted to Build on Galaxy's Edge, Not Just Recreate It

You’ll get real friendly with Seezelslak (voiced by Bobby Moynihan) in Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge.
You’ll get real friendly with Seezelslak (voiced by Bobby Moynihan) in Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge.
Image: ILMxLAB

Since Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge only exists in two places on our planet, one might expect a VR experience based on it would just copy them, and give fans who can’t get to Disneyland or Walt Disney World a chance to visit Batuu right from the comfort of home. Star Wars: Tales From the Galaxy’s Edge by ILMxLAB sort of does that but, at least for now, it never sets foot in the actual park.

“The goal for us was really to expand the world and to not recreate it,” game producer Alyssa Finley told io9. “You can go there and you can see [Black Spire Outpost] for yourself. But we wanted to make that world bigger and let you go out and see what the wilds are like. See what the spires are like. And even see what an ancient Jedi Temple on Batuu was like. It was much more about making a bigger world.”

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In Tales From the Galaxy’s Edge, the player assumes the role of a droid repair technician who crashes on Batuu and unknowingly finds themselves in the middle of a secret mission for the Resistance. Batuu is a big planet, though, so most of that story takes outside the walls of Black Spire Outpost, which is the “land” part of the Disney theme parks’ themed lands. In fact, the story acts as something of an origin story for what’s going on at the parks.

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This view is as close as you’ll get to the actual Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Image: ILMxLAB

“The Galaxy’s Edge story itself is awesome,” game director Jose Perez III told io9. “And we just wanted to have enough room so that we could play too and experiment without affecting it. It just made a lot of sense to be slightly before it.”

So along the way, you’ll hear dialogue about that famous ship that recently landed outside, aka the Millennium Falcon. Or about how the Droid Depot owner is thinking about having customers build their own droids or that Oga’s Cantina just got a new DJ. None of which has anything to do with the story, of course, but it adds rewarding color to the realities of the theme park.

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Another thing that doesn’t exactly have much to do with the park but exists in the game is a legendary tale set during The High Republic. It’s accessed via the main hub of the game, Seezelslak’s Cantina, and sees players whisked back in time and into the shoes of Jedi apprentice Ady Sun’Zee who, along with her master, find an ancient Sith artifact. While the tale feels detached from the rest of the Galaxy’s Edge story, Perez explained it allowed the team to put in some additional mechanics and set up themes for future stories.

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This concept art for the High Republic story features a familiar face.
Image: ILMxLAB
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“Although it’s a completely different era and it’s all Ady and her cool lightsabers and the Force and stuff, there are actually themes we’re using that are tying all of this together,” he said. “And you’re going to find that over the course of part one and part two, hopefully at the end when you stand back and you look and see that all these threads actually do kind of relate in some of the bigger themes.”

Yes, you read that right. There will be at least a part two to Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge, which should be out next year. At launch, the game already has slots for additional High Republic tales, as well as more than a few clues in Seezelslak’s dialogue about what those might be. But that’s just the beginning.

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“We’re going to continue the droid repair technician story through part two and the tales are each going to be their own fun little experience that you have on your own,” Perez said. “You can expect us to explore other Star Wars areas and keep playing with different mechanics. So you’ll see some really different things come out of those two slots.”

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Mubo’s Workshop is in the back of the Droid Depot at Galaxy’s Ege.
Image: ILMxLAB
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No matter which time period you’re playing in, everything in Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge feels and sounds like Star Wars. One sound you won’t hear, however, is John Williams’ music—much like inside Galaxy’s Edge itself, Perez and his team really want the VR experience to carve its own unique niche in the franchise. The music was created by the likes of Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica, The Walking Dead) and Joseph Trapanese (Tron Uprising, The Greatest Showman), but not Williams.

“Right now it’s about us finding our own stories,” Perez said. “We’re experimenting, we’re playing, and we’re feeling things out. And I think you’ll find eventually that more of the kind of overall Star Wars-y vibe themes will seep in as we continue these stories.”

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Tales From Galaxy’s Edge is out now for Oculus Quest.

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For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom. 

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

Tales From Galaxy’s Edge is out now for Oculus Quest.

I want to play this very, very much, but I will not be going anywhere near it. For better or worse I don’t often get worked up about the idea that social media is using my data; I just don’t post things that I’m not comfortablewith anyone seeing.

But making a Facebook account MANDATORY to use Oculus, and making real time recordings while you’re playing is utter bullshit.