Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale is fast approaching its release date. A recent interview that creator Reki Kawahara gave contained several hints about the movie based on the immensely popular Japanese anime of the same name sans the subtitle.
Although Kawahara-san’s interview is in Japanese, a near-perfect translation was done by an anime fan. As reported by the Inquisitr earlier, the creator had confirmed that the leading ladies of the franchise would get a lot more screen-time as well as elevated importance in the movie’s plot. In other words, SAO‘s main protagonist, Kirito, won’t be hogging all the limelight. Apart from new character introductions, Kawahara also revealed several pieces of information that may help fans piece together the plot and storyline of Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale.
It should be apparent to Sword Art Online’s fans by now that the movie, Ordinal Scale, involves two gaming technologies that rival each other. The world of Virtual Reality based gaming underwent a fundamental evolution after the introduction of NerveGear, which was developed by a genius programmer, Akihiko Kayaba. However, the system was upended by the arrival of Augma, a gaming system that relied on Augmented Reality. Although both the gaming platforms offered an ultra-realistic and completely immersive gaming experience for VRMMORPGs (Virtual Reality based Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games), the latter is said to be much safer as players are completely conscious and aware of their surroundings while playing the games.
Essentially, instead of a Virtual Reality (VR) game, an Augmented Reality (AR) game forms the basis for the movie Ordinal Scale. The earlier technology required players to lie still in the physical world, while their virtual self would be immersed in the game’s arena. However, an AR game requires the players to be physically engaged. Needless to say, this would pose significant challenges for the players as they would require real-world or physical places to play their game. When Kawahara-san was asked about the significant difference in the technologies and their impact on the plot of Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale, he said the following.
“An AR game requires physical movement. So, the players obviously can’t play in a crowded public place or during daytime. Instead, we have decided to have the players gather in a park in late evening at around 9 o’clock to play.”
Interestingly, at the time Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale was being conceptualized, Pokemon Go, an AR-driven game, was making waves. The game had been a runaway hit, but as it was an AR-driven game, it mandated actual real-life places for exploration. Hence, the players of the game came up with a novel idea of hitting the public places at odd hours, when they weren’t frequented by common folk who didn’t have anything to do with Pokemon Go. People gathered at the parks late evening and played in groups.
It is quite likely that the SAO movie is significantly influenced by the way people played Pokemon Go. Both being AR-driven games, Ordinal Scale, which runs on Augma, had to be created with this pattern, noted Kawahara,
“In a VR game, just as Kirito and the others had been doing so far, you would be lying in bed while playing, but in an AR game, there is a necessity to make use of your physical body. Also, the issue of a method of movement, and physical strength came up, so I had to take those into account.”
Unlike any VR game, the players need their actual physical strength, agility and stamina to play Ordinal Scale. Kawahara had to ensure such real-life and imposing aspects had to be factored in when the characters engage with their enemies in Ordinal Scale. Incidentally, these aspects could compromise Kirito and Asuna’s defensive and offensive tactics, hinted Kawahara.
Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale is slated to be released on March 8. But several events are being organized from March 1.
[Featured Image by ASCII Image Works]