Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire

by Graham Edwards

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire

It’s the dream of every Star Wars fan to actually visit that fabled galaxy far, far away. In the new virtual reality experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire from The VOID and ILMxLAB, you get to do exactly that, in an immersive adventure that recruits you into a Rebel Alliance mission to infiltrate an Imperial base.

The experience relies on the real-time rendering capabilities of Unreal Engine 4. ILMxLAB visual effects supervisor Ben Snow commented:

“Unreal was essential to creating ‘Secrets of the Empire’ because we really wanted to lift the visual bar on this project and make it as immersive as possible. There are a lot of components going into this, all of which have to be viewable at 90 frames per second in stereo by every single person in the experience.”

Watch a behind the scenes video:

Cinefex spoke last year with John Gaeta — then executive creative director at ILMxLAB and now senior vice president of creative strategy at Magic Leap — for our overview of the virtual reality industry in Cinefex 151. Here’s what John said about the ILMxLAB approach:

“Early on, we were fascinated by the computer game Myst. Not the puzzles and the gaming, but its idea of a story explorer and sandbox play. We had arrived at this premise that cinema captures a linear story throughout which you are introduced to characters and see fantastic places. But what if you take away the framing of the media and say that these places are actual destinations? Story could flow through these places and you could follow it, but if you chose not to you could still explore and interact with this space. Our work converges on fascinating areas of research — for example, intelligent characters, reactive worlds, simulation in environments. All of those things are perfect for painting a vision of a Star Wars place.”

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is available in Anaheim’s Downtown Disney, London’s Westfield shopping center in Shepherd’s Bush, and Disney Springs in Orlando, Florida. New locations coming soon in Glendale, CA, and Las Vegas.