When Sword Art Online actually began, it began as a series of light novels, which is a literary genre specific for Japan. Now, almost two decades after the debut of the first light novel, Sword Art Online is a global franchise that includes an anime series, manga, and video games. The franchise has grown so much that it has hit all major markets, but not with equal success. The topic of this article are going to be the video games that comprise the Sword Art Online franchise.
This article is going to be dealing with the playing order of the Sword Art Online video games. As you’ll see for yourselves, the whole structure is not overly simple, but we’ll be simplifying it for you so that you can enjoy the games in the proper narrative order, and so that you know how they actually relate to the rest of the franchise.
How many Sword Art Online games are there?
As of November 2021, there is a total of nine Sword Art Online video games that have officially been released under the brand in Japan (and the rest of the world). Now, among these, three are mobile games that don’t really fit in anywhere plot-wise and we won’t be talking about them in the paragraphs below. The remaining games are the primary console games, which are going to be the focus of this article, sans the spin-off game, Accel World vs. Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight, which is non-canon.
What is the playing order of the Sword Art Online games?
As we have said, we’re going to be dealing with the main console games, which excludes the three mobile games that exist, and which are Sword Art Online: Code Register (2014), Sword Art Online: Integral Factor (2017), and Sword Art Online Alicization: Rising Steel (2020). Also, the console game Accel World vs. Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight won’t be on the list as it is a non-canon game. As for the remaining games, the proper playing order should be:
- Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment (2013)
- Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment (2014)
- Sword Art Online: Lost Song (2016)
- Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization (2016)
- Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet (2018)
Sword Art Online games in order (explained)
Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment (2013)
Released: March 14, 2013 (only in Japan)
The game follows an alternate storyline from the end of the first story arc of the original narrative, in which a glitch causes Kirito and the other players to remain confined to Sword Art Online despite defeating Heathcliff, as well as other characters from the second and third arc of the game’s story, such as Leafa (Kirito’s adoptive sister and cousin) and Sinon, who are also sucked into the game.
Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment (2014)
Released: April 24, 2014
After defeating Heathcliff on the 75th floor of Aincrad Castle, Kirito finds himself teleported to an unknown area of the game, called the Hollow Area, where he meets Philia, a player fleeing a monstrous Skull Reaper, long lost there. area, which initially mistakes Kirito for an enemy.
After defeating that and other monsters along with Philia, Kirito reaches the 76th floor of Aincrad, where he finds Asuna, Silica, and Lisbeth, confirming that the Sword Art Online game is not finished, as it should have been after Heathcliff’s defeat. . Among the strange phenomena that occurred after that event, there is the fact that it is no longer possible to access the underlying 75 floors.
Surprisingly, Yui returns to the game, and unexpectedly appears Leafa, Kirito’s sister, who has managed to enter Sword Art Online in a desperate attempt to help her brother to get out. There are also two new players with whom Kirito gets acquainted: the busty Strea, who was stalking him, and Sinon.
She was mysteriously catapulted into Sword Art Online while she was participating in another virtual reality program. With the support of his new and old acquaintances, including Klein and Agil, Kirito therefore continues the conquest of the remaining floors of Aincrad, returning from time to time to explore the Hollow Area, where Philia remains on the lookout.
Since the first meeting with Philia, Kirito had noticed an orange cursor on his head, like the one that connotes the Player Killer (called “PK”) or those who have killed other players.
Sword Art Online: Lost Song (2015)
Released: March 26, 2015
Physically recovered after waking up from SAO, Kirito and his group of surviving friends decide to reunite for fun in a new VRMMO, ALfheim Online. Their attention soon turns to a few islands, called Svart ALfheim, which have just been added to the game and which are more inspired than ever by Norse mythology.
A large guild, the Shamrock, which gathers players belonging to different races, seems to have a very good chance of completing Svart ALfheim first, also thanks to the charisma of his inspirational muse, a twelve-year-old idol nicknamed Seven, who in real life is a child prodigy known as “Doctor Rainbow”, who conducts research on virtual reality, illustrating its positive aspects to the media, after the hype caused by the crimes of Akihiko Kayaba.
Seven is constantly besieged by fans and is often escorted by Sumeragi, considered the strongest ALO player, who will give Kirito a hard time. Kirito and his friends, strengthened by the experience gained in SAO, decide to try to complete Svart ALfheim before Shamrock.
Battle after battle, Kirito’s group is joined by Sakuya, the leader of the Sylphs, Alicia Rue, the leader of the Cait Sith, Yūki, who turns out to be, in real life, an advanced AIDS patient, and Rain “the liar”, who will turn out to be Seven’s older sister. The latter, however, does not know that she has a sister and she is participating in ALO with the sole and secret intent of collecting data, to give life to a project called “Cloud Consciousness”.
While this project does not threaten the safety or freedom of the players, Kirito decides to stop Seven’s plan from going through, by defeating her – after she defeats the last boss of Svart ALfheim – and having her and Rain return. to be a family. The two young women are finally grateful to Kirito, who undertakes, in real life, to study the technology of virtual reality to help develop its enormous potential in the hope that Yui can thus truly become a daughter of him and Asuna.
When all events seem over, a new final boss appears in Svart ALfheim, Lost Song, defeated by which Seven, Rain, and also Sumeragi – who are now part of Kirito’s team together – are able to look at the future with a renewed gaze, free from old doubts.
Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization (2016)
Released: October 27, 2016
After the experiences lived in the worlds of Sword Art Online and Alfheim Online, Kirito and his friends participate, since the debut of the beta version, in a new VRMMORPG: Sword Art: Origin (abbreviated SA: O), which reuses old data of the infamous Sword Art Online.
Despite the strange sensation of seeing places linked to even traumatic memories, starting from the City of the Beginning which was on the 1st floor, the group feels calm thinking that now there are no more dangers. Furthermore, the new setting for the game is a firm territory called Ainground and no longer the flying castle of Aincrad.
However, upon entering the game, Kirito receives a creepy anonymous message saying “I’m back on Aincrad”; meanwhile, he gets acquainted with a mysterious NPC, looking a little older than Yui, with no name or personality. Kirito’s group grows fond of her and gives her a name of her, Premiere, involving her in their own adventures.
Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet (2018)
Released: February 8, 2018
Fatal Bullet follows the events of Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization and is set in Gun Gale Online, a game published by Zaskar, following the advent of “the seed” or the world generation program.
The story focuses on a player-customizable protagonist who will also be joined by a mini-campaign focused on Kirito, called “Kirito Mode”, where the Death Gun incident has been modified to adapt it to the Gameverse, thus leading to the development of secondary events. in which both the main characters of the Gameverse and those of Fatal Bullet will participate.
The last chapter of the main campaign also offers the opportunity to change the ending depending on the choices the player will make for a total of three alternatives, the third in question can be as definitive as the truthful ending or the canonical one.