Footage of real life Sword Art Online game released

Gamers test out real life Sword Art Online Game.

Yes, it’s actually happening! Footage has been released for the IBM Japan’s Sword Art Online Virtual Reality game. IBM developerWorks released a 26-second clip of today’s demonstration of their VRMMOG (Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Game) project, Sword Art Online: The Beginning.

The clip shows players in actual combat against monsters in the game. Players’ bodies are scanned and then rendered into 3D avatars. They are then able to control their avatars using a various hardware, including Oculus Rift (Developer Kit 2) for head-tracking and VR visuals, Leap Motion and Ovrvision for hand manipulation, a Microsoft Kinect 2 for body movement, and special footwear to detect foot movement. The hardware is labeled "Nervegear Prototype." "Nervegear" is the name of the virtual reality hardware used by the characters in the original Sword Art Online story to interact with the game.

In the beginning of the game players are placed in a “bazaar” environment allowing them to practice moving world objects, and later they are able to fight “Gleam Eyes” the boss of the 74th floor in the original story along with 3 other players!

99,800 people applied to be a part of the demonstration, but only 208 were selected. The demonstration will continue to take place until March 20th.

IBM Japan has yet to comment on plans after the initial test run, or if it will serve as a demo for a larger VRMMO. Nonetheless fans of the series and gamers alike have shown great excitement for the project.

Are you excited for an actual Sword Art Online Virtual Reality game? Let me know in the comments!

Published Mar. 19th 2016
View Comments
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    I know this is pre-alpha footage, but this looks... kinda terrible. I'm noticing a distinct difference between how other players look vs the player who is... playing. Their sword flows through their hand at times, and it doesn't seem very interactive outside of randomly swinging the sword.

    I know I shouldn't expect a 1-to-1 system that recreates actual swordplay, but damn this looks off.
  • DoubleVendetta
    "I know this is pre-alpha footage..." That right there, should be all the explanation necessary. The ingame content looks great, the presentation looks great. Player hands and control looks awkward right now, yes. But remember that when it comes to VR games, especially really ambitious, full control ones like this one sounds like it's trying to be, that's arguably the trickiest part.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    Well of course. The game's super ambitious, and I'm curious as to what the practical release will look like in the end. However, my remark about how terrible it looks right now transcends into my future prospects for the game as a whole. I can't imagine this (due to the limitations of VR in general) to be much better upon release. It might look better, but the actual mechanics are limited since swinging your arms about has no repercussions upon contact, which will leave this looking more like RedSteel2 at best by the time it's finished.

    That said, it looks interesting. I just don't see this being a practical, or particularly good, game.

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