There have been a lot of companies jumping into the VR pool over the past several years, and while some we only heard about once, others were able to thrive. One of those latter companies is VRSenal, which initially launched with its own licensed hardware adaptation of the popular Beat Saber game. The first time I came across them was in 2018 when they went to IAAPA with Beat Saber, Fruit Ninja, and a never-released version of Predator.
Unfortunately, the license for all commercial public/location-based entertainment use of Beat Saber was recently revoked by Facebook, which impacts future sales of ‘arcadified’ Beat Saber games. Fortunately, VRSenal had something else in the works, and that is now officially available on the market.
Also a licensed game, this one comes from the Star Wars universe and is known as Darth Vader Lightsaber Dojo VR. This version is derived from Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series, but as I was told by Kevin Bachus of Dave & Busters, it is “…an entirely new product built specifically for arcades. The HMD is the Vive Pro and we did test it earlier this year during which we were very pleased by its performance.” Some D&B fans had been discussing the arrival of units at certain D&B locations this past week, and the other day, the company posted this trailer to their YouTube channel:
I did some digging and was able to get a little more information on this, including the sales sheet. Also, here’s a cabinet shot:
Per the specs, this game packs some of the most serious gaming hardware we’ve seen in an arcade machine, using an unspecified nVidia RTX graphics card to power the experience. This means raytracing in VR, with the real-time raytracing technique being extremely rare to find in arcade titles (the only one I’ve heard of is Tecmo’s Dead or Alive 6 AC, which did it in software). It also uses an HTC Vive Pro headset, and features a 75″ 4K TV display so on-lookers can watch the action.
While the game has launched at Dave & Busters, I’ve verified that it is available for other locations to pick up through distribution, if they are open and can float the cost. I was not told the cost, but I imagine it’s in the same range as Beat Saber was (approx. $40k). I know that Beat Saber was doing really well pre-pandemic though, so perhaps this is the kind of game that could help bring people back. What do you think about it?