The burgeoning world of virtual reality already has its fair share of satisfying sword fighting games, but let’s not kid ourselves: our ideal VR sword would glow and make a cool “whoosh, whoosh” sound with every swing. That’s why we’re excited about today’s biggest HTC Vive release: Tasting on Tatooinethe first officer Star Wars VR experience.
Better still, it’s free – making the admittedly small amount of content a little easier to swallow.
If this VR experience sounds familiar, it’s because Lucasarts made a demo SW:ToT behind closed doors at the March Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. There, both Kyle Orland and I had to pretend we went to Tatooine to help Han Solo from the original trilogy era in a pinch. During the five-minute demo, we stood directly under the landing zone of the Millennium Falcon – wow, there are few words to capture that sense of nerdy presence – and then helped Solo by taping parts of a circuit board together with our hands.
Meanwhile, a band of Stormtroopers approached, but luckily R2-D2 circled the same desert outpost and had a lightsaber to offer us. After oohs and ahhs with so much power, we waved the lightsaber to deflect the trooper’s laser fire until Solo was all set to fly.
That brief demo ultimately simplifies the concept of lightsaber mastery, meaning you’re rewarded for waving haphazardly toward enemy lasers. Tatooine requires a relatively beefy VR rig, so you might not get amazing results with the minimal GTX 970 level system. However, this is one of the rare VR demos that loudly touts SLI compatibility, which is odd considering the game’s Steam description only mentions DirectX 11 compatibility, as opposed to something more VR-SLI friendly, such as Vulkan or DX12. We’ve sent questions about the SLI compatibility of this demo to Lucasarts and Valve and will update this report when there’s a response.
During the demo in March, representatives did not answer questions about whether SW:ToT was a blight on a larger VR project. Its free release as an almost identical demo four months later leads us to believe that Lucasarts is simply dumping this as promotional fun, rather than saving the content for a bigger VR project in the future, but who knows? For now, HTC Vive owners can enjoy another reason to organize a VR party with friends.
Frame image by Lucasarts