Season three of the popular anime Sword Art Online (SAO) has returned to television screens, and its mobile game Alicization Rising Steel is celebrating with a campaign of bonuses for players. In the midst of all this buzz, we took the opportunity to chat to Yasukazu Kawai, the talented producer behind SAO’s mobile games. You can read part one of our interview here. In this next installment, we discuss the future for SAO’s famous VR heroes — and its IRL players.
Season three of the anime concludes the Alicization saga, and fans will be wondering what lies ahead. Kawai explains: “The final chapter of SAO: Alicization — ‘War of Underworld’ — is available now, but how will the battle for Underworld end I wonder? That, and what will become of Kirito? I think there are all sorts of things to look forward to, like how the battle goes with Asuna, Sinon, Leafa and others in the Underworld. I can’t wait to see where it goes!”
It seems even being the producer for Alicization Rising Steel doesn’t get you in on all the secrets. Kawai can give us a unique insight into the future of the game, however. “We’ll be moving forward alongside the anime to show stories and delve into characters that couldn’t be fleshed out there, but we’re also working on coming up with stories I think will really surprise our fans,” explains Kawai.
More story and character content is exciting news — and there’s also a major addition to Alicization Rising Steel, just around the corner. “We’re planning to implement a guild update at the end of July”, Kawai tells us, “and after that we’d like to hold events that feature guilds, too. We’re also planning a major update for the one year anniversary of the game, as well as a large-scale campaign.”
Part of deciding how to develop a game pre- and post-release is about player feedback. In the age of social media, there’s a direct line between creator and audience to tap into, as Kawai explains: “We diligently go over comments and tweets players leave on social media, and use these as reference material when updating the game. This has especially been the case with skip tickets, the auto-replay function and the guild feature we’re planning to add. User input really factors into how we move forward with the game.”
If you haven’t tried SAO: Alicization Rising Steel, Kawai believes now is an excellent time to dive in. “We’re currently holding all sorts of great events to coincide with the anime, like log-in bonuses and missions for new players,” Kawai says. “Plus, every week players get free 11x scouts and free daily scouts, so there are plenty of opportunities to get lots of characters and toughen them up with quests. Even if players start now, they’ll still be able to form strong parties, so I hope lots of people give Alicization Rising Steel a shot!”Head to the Pocket Gamer LaunchPad hub to find all of our exclusive announcements from our three-day event.
©2017 REKI KAWAHARA/KADOKAWA CORPORATION AMW/SAO-A Project
©BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.