Within moments of stepping into the virtual world of Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, Disney Springs Orlando’s location-based, hyper-reality experience from Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB, and The VOID, guests – assuming the role of Rebels disguised as Stormtroopers – find themselves seated in a stolen Imperial cargo ship traveling to Mustafar on a dangerous, intel-gathering mission. While the prospect of infiltrating the volcanic planet as one of the Empire’s blaster-wielding baddies should immediately sell Star Wars fans on this highly immersive virtual reality adventure from a galaxy far, far away, VR enthusiasts might be more impressed by the seemingly simple act of taking a seat in the hijacked transport without fear of falling on their backsides.

As anyone who’s fumbled through a virtual reality demo or attempted to set up a dedicated VR space in their home will attest, casually dropping into a chair while wearing a real world-obstructing headset isn’t a feat to be taken lightly. According to The VOID’s co-founder and chief creative officer Curtis Hickman, asking guests to physically sit in this digital space is an important first step in setting up an experience that goes far beyond your typical romp through a virtual world.

“When people get into The VOID, we want them to learn to trust it, and the physicality of it, immediately. he said.

“A good way to do that, is to have them sit down, because they’re trusting the weight of their body on a virtual object.” Of course, once Secrets of the Empire earns the trust of its participants, the sky – or galaxy – is the limit. By cleverly combining virtual reality tech and gear with interactive sets, sensory effects, physical props, and enough fan-servicing authenticity to fill the Millennium Falcon’s cargo hold, the experience delivers a bar-raising, immersion-ratcheting ride that’ll have both Star Wars and VR fans rethinking the potential of their favorite pastimes.

Once behind the VR goggles, guests become part of the official Star Wars timeline, taking part in a pre-Rogue One story featuring Cassian Andor, K-2SO, and an unforgettable encounter with one of the series’ most iconic foes. But while the story and characters play an integral role in making you feel like you’ve been dropped into your very own sci-fi saga, it’s the blending of all the aforementioned elements that, according to Hickman, significantly separate this Star Wars adventure from one you might experience in your living room or at a movie theater. Read more from ign.com…

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