Sword Art Online is a popular anime and light novel series with a premise of
virtual reality gaming within an MMORPG. Though there have been several SAO games released, they were all standard offline JRPGs which
simply emulated the MMO genre. With the advent of modern-day virtual reality, now is the best time to create an SAO experience which
is much closer to what the source material touches on.
IBM Japan has revealed
it is working on a virtual reality project called Sword Art Online: The Beginning Sponsored by IBM, reports Siliconera. This project uses IBM’s Watson Cognitive Computing Tech and Softlayer Cloud Computing to create a virtual reality MMO world. According to SlashGear, the game will support the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The game will be played using hand gestures instead of a traditional game controller.
There will be an event held in Tokyo from March 18 to March 20 where participants will be able to try out the technology first hand. This won’t only involve strapping on a helmet and playing. Those at the event will get the chance to have themselves scanned in 3D and put into the actual game. An alpha for the game will in addition
launch in March with 208 participants from the Tokyo metro area, according to Engadget.
Sword Art Online creator Reki Kawahara tried the demo out for himself and was impressed by it. He said which
he hopes being chased by giant monsters in virtual reality will make people ponder
what is possible with virtual reality gaming and its future.
While this isn’t quite the NerveGear technology of the anime, it’s of
as close as you can get to an actual Sword Art Online experience (minus being trapped in a VR world where you can in fact