It has been some time since we have given a status report on the state of affairs of the project and the reasoning has been two-fold. Some of this news is good news and some of this is bad news, to an extent. We will continue to develop this game, but we have a major announcement that needs to be made. So lets first start off with the good news.
To begin with, our coders have been bunkering down and turning out the code necessary to get the initial stages of testing ready. Though this has been moderately successful, and we’ve got the beginnings of a usable network code, we still have much optimization to go. This is far from being a playable game, but now that we can have a ‘live’ environment where internal testers can play around in the world we can start testing a variety of things that would not otherwise have been doable without a test client. This is still very early and purely testing, so there is still quite some time before we’ll have something to showcase for you.
The main announcement and the bad news, however, is that we are no longer making Sword Art Online. We have made the decision to shift our priorities from making a direct recreation of the Sword Art Online world to a game that is inspired from it. This new project, which we are calling Blades of Ascension, will attempt to create a spiritual successor that embodies the essence of SAO. The predominant reason for this change is largely legal; we simply do not have the resources necessary to properly license the game, and we came to the agreement that it would be better to create a finished product than to have the potential for us to make great progress only for the entire project to be shut down due to legal complications. On a positive note, however, because we are not attempting to adapt the original Sword Art Online mechanics, we can fine tune out a number of design oversights that were not included in the original source material to create what we hope to be a better, more enjoyable, experience.
What does this mean for the community? Well, we will understand if you decide that you would rather contribute toward an SAO-focused project and thank you for your time and attention. Those of you who wish to stay are more than welcome to stay and contribute toward the community – now more than ever we would love to hear from you about your thoughts and ideas about this transition as well as some of the things you would like to see. Now that we are not strictly bound by limiting ourselves to the source material, we have a greater opportunity to get the community involved. Although we are not currently taking direct submissions for art or resources, any ideas you have are welcomed and I am sure our developers would love the opportunity to speak with all of you to get a good back and forth going on both ideas and suggestions to integrate into the game.
Speaking of community feedback – we are soon going to be re-opening applications for alpha and beta testing, but on the stipulation that all previous applications will be dropped. Since the initial applicants were all for those anticipating an SAO fan game, we decided that it would be easier for those interested to opt into the new applications rather than for those disinterested to opt-out. When we reach closer toward the time that these applications are ready, we will make an announcement.