A series of interactive smartphone games will transform Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge into an immersive real-world role-playing universe that will let players collect galactic credits and unlock additional layers of backstory about the new themed land coming to Disneyland.
“From the beginning, we’ve always really thought of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as for world’s largest Star Wars playset,” said Walt Disney Imagineering executive creative director Asa Kalama. “Building on that idea of being able to imagine and role play Star Wars in your backyard. Being able to do that in a world that is fully supportive of all of the things that you’ve imagined in your mind for all of these years.”
The goal of the Galaxy’s Edge Data Pad mobile games is to create an interactive experience closely connected to the Black Spire Outpost village on the Star Wars planet of Batuu, the setting for the new 14-acre themed lands coming to the Anaheim theme park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.
The Galaxy’s Edge mobile games will be incorporated into the Play Disney Parks app, which will use Bluetooth technology and GPS location services to tie the games to locations in the Black Spire village.
“The Data Pad is really another tool for unlocking more content, more information, more storytelling,” said Imagineering concept designer Casey Ging.
To get started, players will align with the good guy Resistance rebels, bad guy First Order soldiers or a scoundrel gang in the village.
“It really is up to you how you want to play and which one of these factions you ultimately want to ally yourself with,” Ging said.
Players can pick from games tied to the two E-ticket attractions — the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run flight simulator and the Rise of the Resistance dark ride — or join a game that unfolds throughout Black Spire Outpost.
“We worked really closely with the design teams working on Black Spire Outpost to be able to make sure that that layer of technology was actually embedded from day one,” said Disney Parks digital manager Kelsey McCullough.
A land-wide game taps into the doorway control panels being used as a First Order surveillance system throughout the village outpost. Players align themselves with the Resistance rebels trying to disable the surveillance system or the First Order troops determined to thwart their counter-espionage efforts. The objective: Hack into the door panels and disable or enable the most devices, depending on the faction you support. The winning team earns a digital reward: Galactic credits.
“Whichever of those factions that actually controls the most of those door control panels wins,” said Imagineering assistant producer Anisha Deshmane.
A game tied to the queue experience for the Millennium Falcon flight simulator turns players into smugglers working for a shady intergalactic shipping company. Players hired by Ohnaka Transport Solutions will develop a smuggler’s alias and help space pirate Hondo Ohnaka prep and ship illicit intergalactic cargo for a journey aboard the Millennium Falcon.
“We launched this as a way to turn wait time into play time,” McCullough said of the Play Disney Parks app.
A pair of games linked to the Rise of the Resistance trackless dark ride sends players on a mission to scout a Resistance invasion or collect surveillance intel for the First Order.
The game play in the ride queues is designed to unlock additional layers of backstory about the attractions while helping riders pass the time during what is expected to be hours-long waits.
“While they’re waiting for Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, they can be learning more about and engaging with the stories of those two attractions,” said Imagineering creative director Cory Rouse. “We want to make sure that there are these deep narrative experiences that guests can choose to engage with as well.”
Galaxy’s Edge Data Pad mobile games will have four key tools: Hack, Scan, Translate and Tune.
The hack tool lets players access the memory banks of droids and interact with devices throughout the land. Need to find the ship schematics of a First Order Star Destroyer? The hack tool can help.
The scan tool reads shipping labels that reveal what artifacts and weapons are stowed inside the cargo containers found in ride queues. Is the bounty inside the container encrypted? Use the app’s decryption key to unscramble the message.
The translate tool deciphers languages spoken by alien creatures and carved into building facades.
“As you walk through the land there’s alien languages written on walls and hand carved into stone and things like that,” Ging said. “You’ll hear characters speaking in their native alien tongue. And the translate tool is a way for you to actually understand what they’re talking about and what’s written on that wall.”
The tune tool helps you find and decode secret radio transmissions heard throughout the land.
“There’s communications going through all the antennas that you see scattered throughout the land,” Ging said. “You can actually use your Data Pad to unscramble that transmission, isolate the signal and understand that there was a secret transmission being sent.”
A jobs board in the app pairs players with space pirates who need help recovering lost shipments of space creatures, First Order lieutenants seeking to quell a Resistance uprising or rebel leaders recruiting volunteers to thwart a First Order attack. One job example: You could answer a “space classified” posted by Hondo Ohnaka looking for hackers who can access First Order shipping schematics to help him finish a smuggling run.
Need assistance completing your mission? Players can chat with virtual characters within the app during their assignment.
“I can talk to a character who will guide me on an adventure around the outpost to complete specific tasks that you need to do,” Deshmane said.
The mobile games are designed to be easily played by gaming novices and ramp up quickly for hardcore gamers looking for a challenge. Parents can create multiple avatars on their mobile phones so every kid can take turns playing the app-based games.
It’s up to you whether you play for fun or glory. Galactic credits will be awarded for successful missions. Winning players can upgrade their avatars. Game times vary depending on the number of players and amount of activity in the land.
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