Following the huge Star Wars cast announcement earlier this week, Disney has now revealed its digital plans for the sci-fi franchise.
In a bid to capitalise on its multi-billion dollar property – which Disney acquired from LucasFilm in 2012 – the house of mouse is releasing an interactive iOS app for each of the franchise’s previous six instalments, the first one of which (Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace) is available to purchase now from the app store.
The plan is to launch an app for each Star Wars film leading up to J.J. Abrams’ highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII, which hits cinemas in the US on 18 December 2015. Each instalment of Star Wars Journeys costs $6.99 on Apple’s App Store (although there are plans to eventually expand to Android devices).
The first, Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace app is broken up into three parts, including a story mode that immerses readers into the film’s plot with custom-designed art and hidden Easter eggs.
Additional content includes a database of characters, vehicles, cities and worlds that will provide users with background information on the “Star Wars” universe and help catch them up before the seventh instalment of the sci-fi saga arrives in cinemas.
Each app will also feature its own game. For Phantom Menace that means one designed around its famous pod race sequence, which (let’s face it) was by far the best thing about the film. As readers delve deeper into the storybook they can unlock content that can help upgrade their anti-gravity pod-racers.
As fans will probably notice, Disney has chosen to take a chronological approach to the apps – starting with the prequels first and then moving on to the older, but canonically later, films. As a result, users will have to wait a bit before they get to learn about or play as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo or Princess Leia
According to Disney, Journeys was specifically developed with kids ages 6-12 in mind. “We want to make sure the products are relevant to as wide of an audience as possible,” Andrew Sugerman. VP of Disney Publishing, told Variety. “They’re great for children and great for families.”
Each version was designed with 20 scenes but can be expanded with new sequences, character breakdowns and additions to the gameplay, should they prove popular with users. The story mode alone is expected to take 45 minutes to an hour to complete.
Check out some screenshots below, including one of the playable pod race from The Phantom Menace app (which may remind older readers of LucasArts’ fun racing game Star Wars Episode I: Racer for the Nintendo 64, which sold close to two million copies in the US alone). Also scroll to the bottom for the official trailer of the first app in the series; Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace.