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Bandai Namco Unveils Immersive New Star Wars: Battle Pod Arcade Game

Posted by Eric on October 8, 2014 at 04:00 PM CST

Japanese video game Bandai Namco Games Inc. today revealed Star Wars: Battle Pod, an arcade game that puts players in the middle of the original trilogy's biggest battles.

At a press event in New York City, Bandai took the wraps off of three demo units. Bandai Namco Director of Communications Denny Chiu and Bandai Namco America president John McKenzie discussed the work their team had put into the game, the importance of what they called "panoramic optimization display technology," and the battle pods' future availability. They also showed a trailer and several interviews with the Japanese developers who built the arcade game.

The game will include five levels: Yavin IV, Hoth, Endor, Death Star II, and a "special stage" called Vader's Revenge, where you play as Darth Vader himself. (Members of the 501st were on hand to reveal that fun tidbit, as you can see below.) The demo units at the press event only included Yavin IV, Endor, and Death Star II. I played all three of them and only beat Yavin IV. I am not what you'd call a gamer, and Endor was described as "Hard," so I don't feel too bad.

The game's wraparound screen really does make it an immersive experience. The gameplay is fairly basic -- you're essentially "on rails" in that you can't stray from a predefined course -- but there are twists in the action, such as when you have to brake your speeder bike to throw off a scout trooper who jumped onto it. The controls are simple -- a throttle on the left and a joystick with fire buttons on the right.

Star Wars: Battle Pod will launch in the United States in January 2015. From now through November 2, the battle pods will be available to play at the Times Square Dave & Buster's in New York City.

Check out the rest of my photo gallery below, as well as a storyline of my tweets from the event. Videos are coming soon, and I'll have more gameplay thoughts and an interview with the developers on this week's ForceCast.

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Video: Star Wars: Battle Pod Playtests

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