The fourth volume in the War of the Underworld sub-arc, and the 18th and finale of the Alicisation arc of Sword Art Online, was released on Wednesday (August 10th) with news of a new beginning in 2017. The series could easily have ended with the last chapter of Alicisation Lasting, but the final page reads with the teaser text “Kirito will return.”

The Japanese text that follows translates as “New, completely original Sword Art Online chapter to begin in 2017.” As this announcement appeared, another new beginning for the franchise is in the works for the US, with Skydance planning a Sword Art Online live-action TV series and virtual reality experience.

Yen Press are currently publishing Reki Kawahara’s light novels in English, the last being the seventh volume, Mother’s Rosary, on April 19th. The publishers describe the story of Sword Art Online as follows:

In the year 2022, gamers rejoice as Sword Art Online – a VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) like no other – opens its virtual doors. Now players can take full advantage of the ultimate in gaming technology: NerveGear, a system that allows users to completely immerse themselves in the game world by manipulating their brain waves to create a wholly realistic gaming experience.

When the game goes live, the elation of the players quickly turns to horror as they discover that, for all its amazing features, SAO is missing one of the most basic functions of any MMORPG: a log-out button. Now trapped in the virtual world of Aincrad, their bodies held captive by NerveGear in the real world, users are issued a chilling ultimatum: conquer all one-hundred floors of Aincrad to regain their freedom. In the warped world of SAO, “game over” means death – both virtual and real…


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