Force Friday II is taking place September 1st, and it looks like Disney and Lucasfilm have chosen augmented reality as the focus for the campaign. There’s a bunch of exclusive digital characters being released at retailers worldwide, plus a video surprise for a handful of lucky cities.
Force Friday is the very clever name Disney gave to the September release of toys from an upcoming Star Wars movie. The first was back in 2015 for The Force Awakens, with another last year for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. (Yes, we know that makes this the third one. No, we don’t know why it’s called Force Friday II.) Before, it was celebrated with posters, drawings, and a flood of toy releases.
This year’s Force Friday is a three-day augmented reality treasure hunt. AR has been spreading like wildfire over the past few years. We all know about games like Pokémon GO and AMC’s upcoming Walking Dead AR game, but it’s also pushing into the retail space. The IKEA catalog even has an AR function that lets you see how furniture will look in your house. Now, AR is expanding the Star Wars universe.
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy was enthusiastic about the campaign, saying, “Star Wars has always championed new technology, and we are excited that augmented reality will allow fans to experience the universe in a whole new way.”
From the press release:
“From September 1-3, retailers around the world will invite fans to Find the Force by taking part in an AR treasure hunt. Here’s how it works: first, download the Star Wars App, which is your one-stop-shop for all things Star Wars (those who already have the app will need to download the latest version). Then, visit any one of 20,000 participating retail locations to find a graphic that contains the Find the Force logo. When you scan the graphic using the Star Wars App, you’ll reveal a character, who through augmented reality, will appear in the room with you. You can then take photos, record videos, and share the experience on social media. Come back each day to reveal new characters (15 in total across the program’s three-day run).”
There’s more: sharing your pictures on either Twitter or Instagram will get you an entry into a sweepstakes where the prize is a trip to the premiere of The Last Jedi. Tag with BOTH #FindtheForce and #Sweepstakes or it won’t count.
You can download the app right now. If you’re lucky enough to be near one of 20 major cities, you can also see a cool AR video around a local landmark. There’s a full list of cities at starwars.com. Didn’t luck out? You can at least get an idea of the action through these promo videos:
So how exciting will Force Friday II be? Are these AR characters actually going to look cool? Will there be new canon content provided, or is this just a gimmick to get wallets into toy stores? How many people are going to make questionable videos with the AR characters?
We’ll find out this weekend, because I’ll be visiting at least five different places on that list of retailers to try it out for myself. Laugh at me on Twitter or download the app and join me if you like.
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology being published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.
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