Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale
“Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale,” is the next installment to the Sword Art Online anime series. It is premiering in Japan on 18 February 2017, with a returning star-studded cast! Fans will get to see two of the cast members, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (the voice actor of Kirito), and Kanae Ito (the voice actress of Yui) as they join us at an exclusive stage event at this year’s Anime Festival Asia (AFA) Singapore!
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Ordinal Scale is the game that Kirito and gang will be playing after Sword Art Online and Gun Gale Online. The game uses a new augmented reality device called Augma, which looks like pair of small headphones. It is said to be superior to the previous Virtual Reality (VR) machine Amusphere. It does not have have a full-dive function. However, it can transmit visual, audio and tactual sensation data to players, enabling the users to enjoy fitness and health management.
In an exclusive interview with director Tomohiko Ito, he gave some introduction to the new movie, as well as the game that the movie is based on.
The long awaited Sword Art Online movie has been announced. How would you describe this movie?
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We started on the production of this movie with the idea of “playing a new game”. We had numerous discussions with the original writer, Reki Kawahara, on the plot, and while writing the script. In the end, we approached it in a way that was very different from the usual VRMMORPG.
This time, Kirito and his gang will take one a totally new game created by Mr. Reki Kawahara, right?
This game has Augmented Reality (AR) instead of VR. At our first meeting with Mr. Kawahara, he said that it would be great if we could experience the world of SAO in our world. For example, it’ll be cool to fight off monsters at our local shopping street, or have our surroundings being turned into the game backgrounds. Up till now, I had been writing about virtual worlds, so this time we’ll be creating a world that exists alongside the real world.
With the VR headset, players can do a Full Dive into the virtual world and explore. But this time, it will be an AR world, where the players will use digital information and explore their physical surroundings right? Since we’re on the topic of AR games, there’s an AR game available currently that makes use of GPS…
Yes, I’ve actually played it as well. I think that this sort of technology has the potential to advance much more, and as AR brings the game to daily life, it helps improve our lifestyles as well. Once AR becomes universal, the gaming environment will start changing. I feel that this new game could probably be played on smartphones in future. Well, the movie is set in the year 2026, so this may even become a reality.
Will a device like the nerve gear or atmosphere be featured in this new game?
In this movie, a device called Augma will be featured, and the experience it gives the user could be even more realistic compared to the NerveGear (that is used for the SAO game). As for the design of Augma, we requested for something like a head mounted device. It turned out rather cool, and it’s great that we were able to achieve that for this movie.
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This new game that Kirito and his friends will be playing with the Augma device, what is it like?
The name of the game is Ordinal Scale. Monsters do appear in this game as well, though i won’t be going into details about that. The game is set in the real world, so that after watching this movie, the viewers will be able to identify places where Kirito was battling at etc. One difference that this game has from the previous Sword Art Online and ALfheim Online games is the viewpoints of the battle scenes. In the new AR game, players won’t be able to e.g. have sword fights the same way as in SAO. We are thinking of new ways where players can battle with each other.
In the world of VRMMORPG, main character, Kirito, is also known as the Black Knight. But in the AR world, it will be more Kazuto Kirigaya rather than Kirito right?
We’ll be seeing Kirito stumble sometimes, at this new game that he’s not familiar with. He’s not going to be “Pro new gamer Kirito” anymore.
Which part of the timeline of the whole series does this movie fit into?
Season two (Mother’s Rosario) happens around April in the year 2025, and this movie comes after that. The story starts around two weeks after. If you have watched season one and two, you’ll be surprised to see some familiar characters appearing in the movie.
While on this new project, what was it that you constantly kept in mind about?
You mean, how will it be different from the anime series? I think that rather than making a “movie version” of the anime series as an extension, like what a lot of people are doing nowadays, we want to feel at the end of it all, that “we have produced a movie”. While watching some of the previous anime movies we have done, we’re still thinking very hard about how to make this movie different from those.
How big a scale is this new project on?
It is a completely original work, and it will be a movie that is more than 100 minutes long. Roughly 120 minutes i would say. It will have lots of action as well.
The music for this series is also composed by Yuki Kajiura, right?
Yuki Kajiura is the one and only person for the job. The previous SAO soundtracks really enhanced the animation, and I’m looking forward to the music for this upcoming movie as well.
As for those who are new to the world of SAO, watching this movie, will they be able to enjoy the movie in the same way?
Those who are already fans will have their own opinions about what they would like to see in this new movie, and we won’t be able to know exactly what they have in mind. However, we will still try to predict what the fans want, try our best to improve at the same time. Ultimately, we hope to create a movie that is loved by SAO fans and those who are new to SAO. We’ll figure it out somehow, and hope that people will introduce the movie to their friends, and watch it together. It’s a family friendly movie with action as well as romance, and it would be a great date movie as well! Please look forward to it!
That concludes that Q&A with director Tomohiko Ito, and as of now we only have a brief idea of what the movie’s like, as the juicy parts will probably not be revealed. It’s still three months away from the premiere of Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale in Japan, but I’m sure all you fans are itching to watch it already!
Hungry for more exclusive information or a sneak peak of the movie? Head on down to AFA 2016 on Saturday, 26 November, to catch the staff and cast live on stage!
In addition, there will also be a special experiential booth where fans can get to experience and re-live the enchanting world of SWORD ART ONLINE! More details will be announced subsequently for the booth.
For those of you who have not seen the trailer for the movie, here it is!
Original work: Reki Kawahara (Dengeki Bunko)
Director: Tomohiko Ito
Original Character Design: abec
Character Design: Shingo Adachi
Music: Yuki Kajiura
Animation Production: A-1 Pictures
Production: SAO MOVIE Project
Kirito:Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (catch him at the SAO stage event on Saturday, 26 November!)
Yui:Kanae Ito (catch her at the SAO stage event on Saturday, 26 November!)
Egiru: Hiroki Yasumoto
Akihiko Kabaya:Kouichi Yamadera