Industrial Light & Magic shares the first footage of Trials on Tatooine, a new HTC Vive experience that lets players wield a lightsaber against Imperial forces.

As virtual reality starts to hit the mainstream in 2016, it seems likely that a host of popular franchises will be represented in experiences that showcase the new hardware. Now, there’s confirmation that Star Wars fans will be able to step into a galaxy far, far away via a new project called Trials on Tatooine.

Announced by way of a teaser trailer, Trials on Tatooine is described as ‘a cinematic virtual reality experiment’ and is under development at Industrial Light & Magic. Given the studio’s work on the movies and the brief snippets of footage on show, it looks set to be a uniquely immersive take on the Star Wars universe.

Upon landing on desert planet Tatooine in the Millennium Falcon, the player is surrounded by Imperial forces. Fortunately enough, R2-D2 is on hand to produce a lightsaber from one of his storage ports, which the protagonist then uses to repel the attack.

Swinging a lightsaber in virtual reality is an experience Star Wars fans have craved since the 1970s, and it looks set to be executed very well here. If ILM has nailed the feel of the iconic weapon as well as this footage suggests, Trials on Tatooine will be a must-play.

The project is under development for Vive hardware, as part of HTC’s ongoing efforts to encourage well-known content creators and brands to get on board with VR. However, it seems likely that the experience could be playable on other platforms once we see how the major players perform on release.

With the Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR all set to debut in the coming months, it’s now or never for the current crop of VR hardware attempting to woo mainstream audiences. The price points being touted are sure to make this a difficult task — but high quality content like Trials on Tatooine will no doubt tempt consumers.

However, the sight of a new Star Wars game seems poised to reignite desires for a fully fledged console outing. While Trials on Tatooine looks like a great use of VR hardware, it’s more of a tech demo than anything else.

Whether a new Republic Commando is indeed unveiled at E3, or we start to hear more about the project Visceral is working on, Star Wars fever is still in full effect — and it’s a perfect time to start building hype for the next instalment in the series’ video game output.

tags: Star Wars, Vive