IBM Japan have announced the dream project of many anime fans, a VRMMORPG based on Reki Kawahara’s Sword Art Online light novel series. The game itself will be titled Sword Art Online: The Beginning and Alpha testing will begin this March.
The game itself will serve as a prequel to the Sword Art Online game in the series. IBM will be co-developing the experience using their Cognitive Systems, that powers IBM Watson, to produce the game. It will be automated alongside their new cloud technology titled SoftLayer.
Here is the promotional video for the game:
It will feature virtual reality devices connected to the cloud where players are scanned with 3D cameras and placed into the game as avata, to experience the game together with others. IBM are hosting a special Alpha test where 208 people in the Tokyo Metropolitan area can participate in the experience. More details about who can particiapte in the Alpha can be found here: http://www.vrmmo-project.jp/entry/
Yoshitsugu Matsuoka and Haruka Tomatsu will return to voice Kirito and Asuna respectively.
Sword Art Online is a light novel series written by Reki Kawahara, who also is the author of Accel World. The light novel series began in 2009 being published in ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki Bunko. To date a total of 16 volumes have been compiled in the series. Since the series’ debut, the series has sold millions of copies, topping the charts in 2012. Additionally in 2012, an anime adaptation was released. The Sword Art Online anime aired in July and was produced by A-1 Pictures, which received a large reception. Since then, the series has appeared on a plethora of media with international merchandise, various manga adaptations of the light novel’s arcs, and video games, the latest being Sword Art Online: Lost Song for the PS4 and Vita. In addition, Kawahara has relaunched the series as Sword Art Online: Progressive, a re-release of the light novels with additional content.
Here is a synopsis of the anime from MAL:
1 year after the SAO incident, Kirito is approached by Seijiro Kikuoka from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Department “VR Division” with a rather peculiar request.
That was an investigation on the “Death Gun” incident that occurred in the gun and steel filled VRMMO called Gun Gale Online (GGO). “Players who are shot by a mysterious avatar with a jet black gun lose their lives even in the real world…” Failing to turn down Kikuoka’s bizarre request, Kirito logs in to GGO even though he is not completely convinced that the virtual world could physically affect the real world.
Kirito wanders in an unfamiliar world in order to gain any clues about the “Death Gun.” Then, a female sniper named Sinon who owns a gigantic “Hecate II” rifle extends Kirito a helping hand. With Sinon’s help, Kirito decides to enter the “Bullet of Bullets,” a large tournament to choose the most powerful gunner within the realm of GGO, in hopes to become the target of the “Death Gun” and make direct contact with the mysterious avatar.
Sword Art Online: The Beginning is currently in production with an Alpha test starting this March. IBM will be leading the game’s development and the results will pave way to more unique Virtual Reality experiences.
Source Article and Images – Sword Art Online: The Beginning Website
“Sword Art Online”, “Sword Art Online”, “Sword Art Online II″, images and all associated brands and titles © 2016 Reki Kawahara, A-1 Pictures, ASCII Media Works and the SAO Project