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Sword Art Online 10th anniversary project – new Progressive movie, game, and more

It’s been ten years since the release of the Sword Art Online anime (which premiered July 8th 2012), and the SAO team has a special 10th anniversary event to commemorate. Included in the list of announcements are live events, an art exhibit, a mobile game, and information on the Sword Art Online: Progressive films.

2022 is the same year that the original Sword Art Online story took place making this a special year for SAO news? Will we be getting a VRMMORPG like one of the many games in the SAO world? Are there more stories within the universe yet to be explored? We’ll continue to learn as the year progresses.

For those new to the Sword Art Online series, the anime can be found in its entirety over on Crunchyroll and the first season can be found on Netflix. Because the series has been on-going since 2012, diving into the anime may feel daunting for some — especially with so many spin-off stories and the new Sword Art Online: Progressive films. Luckily, the watch-order for the series is straight-forward. 

The 2012 Sword Art Online first season is the best place for new fans to catch up on the anime. From there, viewers have a choice of how they wish to proceed: to continue onto Sword Art Online II or to check out writer Reki Kawahara’s new series that provides additional storylines to the first arc.

The Sword Art Online the Movie: Progressive – Aria of a Starless Night film further fleshes out the first two episodes of the anime — namely Kirito’s attempt to clear the first floor of the SAO VRMMORPG. And there’s a new film releasing this fall, Sword Art Online: Progressive – Scherzo of Deep Night, that’s a direct sequel. 

On November 6th, 2022 — the same date the Sword Art Online VRMMORPG released in the story’s universe — the cast of the SAO anime will host an exclusive event at Tokyo Garden Theater. So far, most of the main cast including Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (Kirito), Haruka Tomatsu (Asuna), and Miyuki Sawashiro (Sinon) have been confirmed!

As of now, tickets are not directly available for purchase. Those wanting priority in the ticket lottery will need to purchase a Blu-ray or DVD copy of the film Sword Art Online the Movie: Progressive – Aria of a Starless Night. Sales begin Friday, July 8th.

Fans can choose between limited edition and normal versions of either the Blu-ray or DVD — the limited edition version including bonus voice and video features along with a special booklet. Images of the bundle will be available closer to the release date. 

Please remember that purchase of the film grants a priority sales application and does not guarantee an event ticket. Closer to the release, we may release more details along with other ways to obtain tickets to the Full Dive event.

The Sword Art Online 10th Anniversary website is holding a special voting event. Once a day, fans can select their favorite episodes from the first two seasons, the extra edition special, and Alicization. Have a particular scene that stands out to you? Head on over to the site and let your voice be heard.

Voting is available now until April 30th. Select your favorite scene from the thumbnail and share your pick on Twitter (not required) to fight about it online! In July, the most voted clips will be broadcast during the SAO Selection On Air event. More details about the event have yet to be made available. Stay tuned!

Those wanting to enjoy Sword Art Online’s world as a hands-on experience have a new mobile game to check out. Sword Art Online Variant Showdown is currently in its pre-registration phase, but is scheduled to release this year. Currently, the registration page only provides a link to the game’s Facebook page and a list of rewards.

All that’s been confirmed so far is that the game will take place in the Cross Edge world. The preregistration rewards listed do help to give a hint about the gameplay itself. Starting with the reward for 100,000 preregistrations, it’s confirmed that the game will have a stamina and EXP system. This may potentially be worrying to some players as, if the game is anything similar to My Hero Academia: The Strongest Hero, it means that gameplay time will be gated behind a paywall.

It’s too early to jump to a conclusion, however. For 200,000 preregistrations, players will be awarded ‘[Will to Fight] Asuna’. What seems most likely is that the game will be party-based. Fans may be able to collect their favorite SAO characters and use them in battles. It hasn’t been stated whether or not the game will feature gacha mechanics, but given how popular the game model is, it’s not unlikely.

What’s perhaps more interesting is the 300,000 Coloring Brush reward. A mechanic to change the clothing color of characters would go a long way in helping players customize their rosters. End-game metas for gacha games often limit player choice and variety, but cosmetic customization would help to alleviate some of the monotony of seeing the same S-tier characters.

The 400,000 preregistration reward gives 20 Evolution Crystals seemingly for the previous Asuna unit. This further confirms the belief that the game will center around collecting and upgrading units. And the 500,000 Premium Ticket x5 reward makes the gacha guess all the more likely.

Information may be limited now, but SOA: Variant Showdown’s first lifestream — scheduled for April 2nd — should help to confirm just what type of game the new release will be. It’s unfortunate that this mobile game won’t be the VRMMORPG many were hoping for. 

In SAO’s universe, the first game Kirigaya Kazuto — Kirito — enters has its first beta during the summer of 2022. Is it wishful thinking that developers have been working tirelessly to create a massive online game that coincides with the in-universe release date? Of course! But that doesn’t stop fans from being hopeful.   

Sword Art Online’s vibrant and inviting visuals have brought many of the series. And to celebrate that, the SAO-P team is holding an exclusive art exhibition to showcase some of the production materials and illustrations that went into the making of the SAO anime. The pieces themselves have yet to be announced, but it’s likely that the gallery may hold original character designs, early sketches, and perhaps a look into some of the scenes that never made it into the final release.

The exhibit itself will be held at the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo. From July 2nd to July 24th, fans can visit the exhibit and enjoy their favorite characters and scenes. Information about tickets will become available in the upcoming months.

The upcoming film Sword Art Online: Progressive – Scherzo of Deep Night has a release date set for October 2022. Author Reki Kawahara created a reboot of the SAO series in the form of Sword Art Online: Progressive. Longtime fans and newcomers alike can enjoy the films as they adapt the Aincrad arc (SAO’s first arc) by focusing on individual floors in the Sword Art Online VRMMORPG.  

Specific to Japanese theaters, fans can purchase MoviTicke cards. These are digital tickets that can be purchased in advance — registered members can even get discounts by using points earned through purchases. The cards will go on sale on April 29th for 1,500 yen. Early purchases will also come with an A4 size illustration of the film’s cover while supplies last. 

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