It’s a brave new world when it comes to how we experience the things we love. Virtual reality has expanded the way we can interact with gaming and adventures. And in a new free VR adventure at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California, fans can explore two vibrant spaces in Batuu. Nerdist checked out an early preview and found it a total delight.
What Is Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge?
For Star Wars fans who don’t have access to a Meta/Oculus Quest 2, this is a great way to get a taste of the expansive and exciting world of VR. And because the 10 minute long preview costs nothing, it’s also a really fun and accessible way for people who haven’t been able to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge yet to get to know the location. In the former home of ESPN Zone, fans will enter a spacious and futuristic space which features booths for solo VR play. There, you meet your official Galaxy’s Edge host who will get you set up with your Meta Quest 2 headset and controllers. It’s a slick and well organized system with really helpful staff who make even VR first timers feel comfortable. And once you’re set up it’s time to enter the experience.
The preview consists of two main segments. We begin by entering Seezelslak’s Cantina, first introduced in the 2020 Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge VR game. A many-eyed alien, Seezelslak loves to tell stories about the Star Wars Universe. If you’re a Batuu fan, you’ll find this a great little addition, especially as there’s a place for Seezelslak to land his ship/cantina in the park! When you enter you can explore the entire cantina. There’s space darts to play, ronto wraps to eat, and many things to pick up. It’s what producer Alyssa Finley called “a safe space” for players to explore the controls and game. It’s a surreal experience to step inside and truly feel like you’re in Star Wars. You can listen to Seezelslak’s stories and explore this new piece of the galaxy far, far away.
Introducing a New Cantina
For Finley, that location is key to Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge. “When we imagined this whole experience, the heart of it was the cantina,” she shared. “We knew there was this guy called Seezelslak, and we wanted to build a world for him to live in. He’s got this mobile cantina which is essentially a food truck of the Star Wars universe!” Finley laughed. In the full game—available on Oculus—Seezelslak also transports players with his story. In the preview he teased one of those tales about a Padawan and a large-eared green creature.
You take on the role of a droid tech, who of course gets swept up into an unbelievable adventure after stumbling into the cantina. “It seems bigger than you could possibly handle. But because you’re a Star Wars hero, you totally can,” Finley teased. And you get a taste of that during the Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge experience—that is, if you choose to leave the cantina. While Seezelslak’s is an addictive space for anyone who grew up dreaming of visiting Mos Eisley and its famous watering hole, make sure you take up Mubo’s offer. The blue alien and head of the Droid Depot will ask you to find some crates for him. And though you might want to chill at the cantina, make sure to head out those airlock doors. It’s a trip.
Building Out a New Way of Experiencing the Star Wars Universe
Entering a cantina in the Star Wars universe is a revelatory experience. Eating a ronto wrap in VR is a fun one. And Seezelslak tells a great story. But walking out of the airlock and into the wilds of Batuu is truly breathtaking. If the promise of VR is that it can transport you to a different world, then Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge delivers. Porgs fly past as you traverse a cliff edge to reach your weapons hold. Once you’ve gotten to grips with those, get ready to face down with members of the Guavian Death Gang! Yep, they want those crates too and they’ll do anything to get them. It’s truly magical and exhilarating to step into the middle of a true Star Wars battle. And while you might not be the best shot, you’ve got an arsenal at your side.
As someone who hadn’t previously experienced VR, I had a truly eye opening experience. And it’s one that’s made even more exciting by its accessibility to anyone who wants to try it. Finley is equally as passionate about as many people as possible being able to try it out. “I am so delighted. Before I worked for ILMxLAB, I had not really spent any time in VR. But when you put on that headset and you’re standing on the edge of that cliff… I just want more people to get to see what that magic is like,” she explained. “The potential is so huge for the stories we could tell and where VR can take us. We’re just scratching the surface here. And I’m just so over the moon that more people are going to get to see the beginning of this story.”
And she has a recommendation for the one activity guests must try: “For me, it’s the VR ronto wrap. It’s just such a good balance between, ‘This world is magical, my hands do stuff, and wait a minute… I’m a person!!'” Finley laughed. Enough said.
Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge VR experience is open daily 12-8p.m. local time until January 5, 2022.