"We've helped a lot of studios and IP owners make experiences that were a good but fairly slight, and essentially functionally demos or adjacent to other experiences or movie," said Colum Slevin, head of media at Oculus's AR/VR Experiences Group. "And then for the ILMxLAB team to show up and say no, we want to make a canonical, integral three part narrative that exists in the universe but stands on its own, we were sold."
It also helps that the ILMxLAB team has the full support of the entire Star Wars franchise, Finley says. The folks at Skywalker Sound can help them craft an experience that sounds and feels just like the movies. And most importantly, the LucasFilm Story Group helps them weave their storyline into the series' canon. "Those guys have giant throbbing brains filled with all of the story of the world," Finley said.
That's how Vader Immortal gets into truly deep cut Star Wars territory. The first episode taps into moments from the prequel films, and you'll end up encountering a mysterious artifact called the "Protosaber," an early medieval-looking lightsaber, this time around. Of course, all of those geeky beats have to be balanced with telling a solid story.
"The Story Group particularly is against fan service for it's own sake," Snow said. "And I think we are too... I think it's better for us as artists in xLAB to be creating this stuff that's our story and, not just, this is sort of an advertisement for something else. That's not what we want to do."
While Finley and Snow couldn't say much about what ILMxLAB is doing next, it's clear that the company is learning from the success of Vader Immortal. Perhaps next time, we'll have a full season's worth of Star Wars VR to dive into.
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