Nissan and LucasFilm have collaborated to bring a brand new VR Experience to celebrate the DVD/Blu Ray release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Battle Test’s 360-degree experience immerses users into the final battle of Rogue One while also showcasing the 2017 Nissan Rogue and its safety features.

You may be thinking that this is just a publicity stunt but Battle Test feels genuinely Star Wars and that’s thanks to the involvement of Skywalker Sound and Industrial Light and Magic. These are the two studios who have brought visuals and sound to some of the biggest blockbusters over the last two decades, including all of the Star Wars films.

“This was definitely a unique project in terms of scope and size, and it was very unique for us,” Hayden Landis, visual effects supervisor at Industrial Light and Magic, told a group of reporters at LucasFilm. “As you probably know, shooting things in 360 is very challenging…. there’s a lot of reasons not many people do this because shooting a live-action plate and then putting film-quality visual FX in 360 is an incredibly difficult process. It was quite the challenge but it was a lot of fun working with [Nissan] and it turned out amazingly well.”

Nissan_Rogue_Star_Wars360-degree_VR_06 Mixing live-action and VFX was very time-intensive. Photo: Nissan North America

Battle Test  puts users in the driver’s seat of the 2017 Rogue in the middle of a fight between the Empire and the Rebellion. And the results are strikingly great. The attention to detail made experiencing Battle Test some of the best VR on any platform we’ve seen.

When your first boot up Battle Test your eyes are immediately drawn to the shootouts between Stormtroopers and the Rebellion, the AT-ST Walkers and fleets of Tie Fighters and X-Wings that roar pass you, but the visuals don’t end there. Look at your side and rear-view mirrors to see the action continue as your car drives through the battlefield. It is a sight to behold.

As a car owner, I couldn’t help but move my feet as if I was braking and accelerating, that’s how immersive it was.

It's actually a lot like the Nissan/Star Wars commercial that aired in 2016.

Skywalker Sound brings everything full circle with all of the classic and ear rattling space sounds that make this experience feel like Star Wars.

“What I’m really passionate about now is working on these immersive 360 and VR experiences. I’ve worked on countless films over the last few years but for the last two years I’ve mostly been focusing on this type of work,” said Kevin Bolen, audio designer for Skywalker Sounds. “And I have to say that, by far, this is the most complex immersive 360 project that we’ve done both visually and on the sound side. It’s great that we are targeting a level of parity that we can say this is film-quality work.”

Nissan_Rogue_Star_Wars360-degree_VR_03 Great attention to detail in Battle Test. Photo: Nissan North America

Battle Test was conceived to teach potential car buyers about all of the new safety features offered in the 2017 Rogue. The VR Experience teaches you these features by showing you how the blind spot warning works, alerting you of an oncoming vehicle before you switch lanes and showing how the automatic emergency break detection works.

While this may seem boring or something that can take you out of the Star Wars immersiveness, the team really added these parts of the experience seamlessly into your test drive and doesn’t feel shoehorned in. But when large machines and rocks are falling in front of you, it’s hard to feel bored.

I’m not a big fan of the current climate of Virtual Reality. The technology is nowhere near where it needs to be to be a mainstream product but Battle Test proves that with the right backing and dedication to the product, even a crossover promotional project like Battle Test can be very entertaining and a great teaching tool.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Battle Test VR Experience is something every Star Wars fan or owner of a VR headset should try. The inclusion of Skywalker Sound and Industrial Light and Magic makes this feel like an authentic Star Wars experience and that’s what really matters.