Are you a Sword Art Online fan? IBM is now playtesting a Sword Art Online VR experience deep in Tokyo.
Titled Sword Art Online: The Beginning Project, it recreates the feeling of being present within the Sword Art Online world. If you are familiar with the anime, you may already recognize the irony of the experience. Sword Art Online may appear to be an anime in a fantasy setting. In fact, it’s set in 2022, and it’s about a group of gamers who have logged into an MMORPG called Sword Art Online, and who found that they were unable to log out.
As a VR experience simulating an MMO, Sword Art Online: The Beginning Project goes through the familiar motions. Some screenshots show players in an open marketplace, and one shot shows a player facing a gigantic monster.
Sword Art Online: The Beginning Project is a project of IBM in Japan, and unfortunately, IBM has revealed they have no plans to make it a complete game. The VR experience was conceived as a showcase of their SoftLayer cloud technology, and its cognitive systems.
Even if you did go to Japan, the chances you would get to play this are unlikely. IBM received over 100,000 applicants, but only 208 were allowed to give it a try. Testing will only be live until March 20.
While Sword Art Online: The Beginning Project won’t become a full game, it is certainly a good proof of concept for how Sword Art Online and other anime can be adapted to VR. Conventional game companies are also coming up with VR experiences in many forms, including an Assassin’s Creed VR experience, Valve playtest showcase The Lab, and Ubisoft whodunit Werewolves Within.