This Quest Pro Game Recreates Sword Art Online’s Lovably Bad User Interface

Looking to immerse yourself into Sword Art Online (SAO)? While there are plenty of VR games that offer the sort of massive multiplayer immersion fans of the manga and anime series have craved over the years, a game built for Quest Pro and Quest 2 has recreated probably the best/worst part of the series: its lovably bad user interface (UI).

Called Subspace Hunter, the SideQuest-only game is essentially in very early access at this point. The demo lets you spawn a certain number of swords, magic, guns, and thirteen monsters, developer XuKing Studio explains on the game’s SideQuest page.

The cheap and cheerful demo (it’s free) is unabashedly inspired by SAO through and through, even including a one-handed sword very similar to protagonist Kirito’s Dark Repulser blade. YouTuber ‘GingasVR’ shows off the demo in action:

While the low poly baddies aren’t anything to write home about, it’s the loyal adherence to Sword Art Online’s lovably obtuse UI that brings it all together, making it feel strangely more immersive than it might without it—and that’s despite the likelihood no professional XR developer in their right minds would design such a system for real-time battle.

In case you didn’t catch the video above, to select a weapon you don’t just pull out a virtual backpack, or reach over your shoulder like in many other VR games. Instead, you need to bring up the menu with a sweeping two-finger swiping gesture, select through three different 2D submenus, and then physically confirm your selection. Although that’s no more complicated than ordering through a fastfood kiosk, it’s not really the best system for immersive, real-time action games. Thankfully, you can control when monsters spawn, otherwise you probably wouldn’t have enough time to muck about.

That’s probably why we don’t see these sorts of dense 2D menus in modern VR games. But then again, it was never designed for any sort of game in the first place, since the anime aired in 2012 well before the Oculus Rift DK1 even arrived on Kickstarter backers’ doorsteps. By now though, the industry has mostly figured that 2D menus generally feel pretty bad to use in VR, making SAO’s fictional UI feel distinctly like a holdover from the gaming days of yore (think turn-based RPGs).

As it is, fiction typically does a pretty poor job across the board of predicting how UI actually evolves. Film and TV oftentimes prioritize large, overly complex movements and cluttered UI elements that just don’t really translate to real life. Tom Cruise’s cybergloves in Minority Report (2002) are a shining example.


You don’t see platform holders or individual games copying Minority Report not because it doesn’t look cool, but because it introduces unnecessary friction. It’s both tiring in the long term and unintuitive to new users in the short term—two things developers really have to pay attention to if they want players returning to their game or app. It’s basically the same thing for SAO, albeit on a smaller scale.

To be clear, this isn’t a dump on Subspace Hunter. The melee-focused MR demo offers SAO fans a very nice slice of immersion which is baked into a suitably pint-sized package. Critically, Subspace Hunter isn’t overreaching with promises of a VRMMOPRG the scale and depth of SAO eitherwhich is probably where such a system might wear out its welcome. Whatever the case, there’s something stupidly charming about those sweeping hand motions, and the fitful hunt-and-pecking of 2D menus.

It seems like the studio has some very real ambitions to develop Subspace Hunter further, and you’re not going to have threaten me with the risk of explosive brain death to play either. I’ll just play.

Sony Hosting an Official ‘Sword Art Online’ Exhibition in VR Through March 10th

Sony is hosting an official Sword Art Online fan exhibition in VR from today through March 10th. The event drops players into a familiar setting to celebrate the iconic anime with interactive exhibits, immersive clips from the show, and even a live performance.

Sword Art Online is easily one of the most popular anime ever to be based on virtual reality. In the show characters don so-called ‘full-dive’ VR headsets to join a VR MMORPG. But what they thought was just a fun game turns out to be a life or death struggle when they learn they have no way to log and if they die in the game then they will also die in real life.

First aired in 2012, the fictional events of the show were set in the year 2022. Here we are now, finally in 2022 for real; and while we still don’t have full-dive headsets, Sony felt the year warranted a proper VR celebration of the anime which has become one of the most iconic pieces of virtual reality media in the last decade.

Starting today and running through March 10th, Sword Art Online: EX-CHRONICLE – Online Edition is a virtual fan event hosted by Sony with cooperation from the official SAO-P Project.

The event is free-to-play, but about two-thirds of the content can only be accessed by ticket holders. Tickets to the event are priced at about $33 (¥3,800). Though it can be attended through mobile devices and non-VR too, the creators say the event is designed primarily with VR in mind.

Sony & Sony Music Group collaborated through an internal VR development group called Project Lindbergh on a custom-built app for Sword Art Online: Ex-Chronicle which works with SteamVR headsets (sorry PSVR players). The company is pitching the event as the ultimate Sword Art Online fan experience.

Image courtesy Sony

Inside the app, players will find themselves in instances of up to 20 participants exploring the exhibition which is set in venues inspired by familiar Sword Art Online scenes, like the ‘Town of Beginnings’, ‘Aincrad’, ‘Ocean Turtle’, a Rath research lab, and an interactive ‘boss battle’. You can see a breakdown of each exhibit here.

Image courtesy Sony

There will also be a “unique live performance” by artist ReoNa, the voice of several theme songs from Sword Art Online: Alicization, the third season of the show. The performance will be held for ticket holders on March 5th at 9PM PT (your timezone here). Sony says it’s using motion capture to bring ReoNa virtually into the venue for the performance.

Image courtesy Sony

Sony will also be selling unique Sword Art Online merchandise which appears to be limited to sale during the event. In addition to physical goods like posters and shirts, the event is also selling the digital avatars featured in the exhibition, giving users the ability to use them outside of the event.

3D models of the avatars used in Sword Art Online: Ex-Chronicle are being sold for use elsewhere

If you’re interested in checking out the event in VR or non-VR, see the ‘How to Play’ page for detailsSword Art Online: EX-Chronicle – Online Edition is officially available in Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The post Sony Hosting an Official ‘Sword Art Online’ Exhibition in VR Through March 10th appeared first on Road to VR.

There’s a VR Sword Art Online Event Happening Tomorrow

If there’s one franchise that embodies virtual reality (VR) technology and the idea of the metaverse then it has to be Sword Art Online. A novel series created by Reki Kawahara that’s been spun into films, videogames and more, this week fans can truly delve into this popular franchise thanks to a new event called Sword Art Online -EX-CHRONICLE- Online Edition; viewable in VR of course.

Sword Art Online

Split across five areas, the event is set to feature both interactive and non-interactive content all depending on how you plan on accessing Sword Art Online -EX-CHRONICLE- Online Edition. For example, in the free “Boss Battle” arena VR users will have full motion controller support to shoot and defeat the boss or they can enjoy activities like competitive wall climbing with friends.

From the look of it, VR is not only the most immersive way to get the best out of the event it’s the aptest, considering SAO is built around virtual worlds. Heck, the series even inspired one Japanese startup to develop its own headset that could be used whilst laying down in bed.

There will also be a 4-sided screen theatre video experience, a live performance by ReoNa; plenty of anime material on display and limited edition merchandise sales if you love some SAO merch. As any Sword Art Online fan knows, the novel’s plot begins in 2022 so now is the perfect time for a retrospective whilst awaiting what comes next.

Sword Art Online

Fully sponsored by Sony and organized by Sony Music Solutions Inc., Sword Art Online -EX-CHRONICLE- Online Edition offers both ticketed and free areas. If you’re purchasing a ticket the most expensive at ¥3800 YEN (approx. £24 GBP) grants you access to the VR app. Or there’s one for ¥3300 (£21) for PC and smartphone users. Oh, and before you purchase anything be aware that the event is open to those in Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, and the US.

When it comes to the VR app this is solely designed for PC VR users as they’ll need a SteamVR account to download it. Details on how to install can be found here.

Sword Art Online -EX-CHRONICLE- Online Edition runs from 22nd February at 1pm (JST) to 11th March 2022, 4:59 PM (JST). For further updates keep reading gmw3.

Kickstarter for Sword Art Online-inspired VR Headset Delayed by “a few days”, Reveal Video Here

Japanese startup Diver-X is looking to launch a SteamVR-compatible headset that seems to be taking a few ideas from popular anime Sword Art Online. The new style of VR headset—not a brain-computer interface like the “full dive” NerveGear featured in the show—was supposed to hit Kickstarter on December 6th, however it’s now been delayed by “a few days.”

Update (December 9th, 2021): Diver-X has issued an update on Twitter in recent days announcing the delay of its Kickstarter campaign. Here’s the text in full:

“Due to a mistake in the process of posting on the crowdfunding site, the review of the page has not been completed yet and the publication is expected to be delayed for a few days. We apologize for the delay, and will notify you as soon as the page is available!”

In the meantime, the studio has released a reveal video that will ostensibly be featured in the campaign when it launches in the next few days.

Original Article (November 18th, 2021): Called HalfDive, the Tokyo-based company says its taking advantage of the sleeping position to “enabl[e] human activity in its lowest energetic state.”

Since it’s worn laying down, the creators say they’re freed from many of the design constraints that conventional VR headset makers are used to pursuing with the introduction of things like pancake optics and microdisplays. Since the weight isn’t on your neck, it doesn’t have to be light or slim.

Image courtesy Diver-X

Instead, HalfDive is perched on a base that allows it to include things like a 10 aspherical lens stack for a reported 134-degree field of view (FOV), and what Diver-X calls a “significantly improved image quality” out of its  1,600 × 1,440 pixels per-eye dual displays.

After all, HalfDive is meant to be a mostly stationary experience, so users really aren’t meant to physically move outside of turning their heads left and right, something the company calls 4.5DOF (degrees of freedom), further calling it “virtual 6DOF.”

The company says its supporting the avatar movement simulation mentioned above in addition to SteamVR base station tracking, which may be used for its yet to-be-revealed controller. We’re eager to see just how that’s supposed to work when HalfDive gets closer to its Kickstarter launch, which is coming on December 6th, 2021.

That said, Diver-X has revealed surprisingly little for such a unique design concept. So far we know the system’s locomotion method will be fairly passive too; locomotion is controlled by foot-worn controllers which depend on the degree of tilt of the user’s ankle.

Image courtesy Diver-X

A hand controller hasn’t been completely revealed yet either, although a blurred image released in late September suggests it will be something akin to Valve’s SteamVR controllers (aka ‘Knuckles’).

To immerse the other senses, HalfDive also features four speakers—that’s two more than basically all VR headsets out there. The company has also made mention of a “wire-based-force-feedback-module” which it says will give the user a sense of touch.

A concept image shows a lead connecting the user’s hand and the headset base, which may allow for a basic level of resistance when encountering digital objects.

Image courtesy Diver-X

Two fans integrated into the headset provide greater immersion via wind effects and also comfortability when set on low.

Another weighty inclusion to the headset: a vibration feedback system which syncs with audio to enhance things like enemy footsteps, gunshots, and environmental sounds.

The most expensive version of the hardware coming to a Kickstarter next month will include a custom varifocal optical stack, which allows the headset to more naturally replicate vergence and accommodation—something Meta (formerly Facebook) has been working on over the years too in various prototypes.

We won’t have to wait too long to see it in action hopefully. HalfDive is being pitched on Kickstarter starting December 6th, and is slated to offer the headset in three flavors: a basic model without varifocal lenses (~$700), some sort of bundled package (~$1100), and its varifocal lens version (~$3,900). You can check out the full specs below:


  • Degrees of Freedom: 4.5dof (Virtual 6dof)
  • Optical system: Original optical system using 10 lenses. Varifocal feature supported.
  • Field of view: 134 degrees
  • Resolution: 1600 x 1440 pixels per eye (3200×1440 pixels combined)
  • Refresh rate: >=90hz
  • Dial styled IPD adjustment: 58-82mm
  • Audio: Immersive sound system using 4 speakers
  • Controller: Two hand/foot controllers
  • Tracking: Lighthouse supported / Avatar movement emulation system using foot controller
  • Camera: Keyboard overlay system
  • Interface: DisplayPort 1.2 / USB3.0 / 3.5mm audio jack / 12V power source / I2C (module connection)
  • Platform: All SteamVR application supported
  • SDK: Unity (features dedicated to VRChat) / Unreal Engine

The post Kickstarter for Sword Art Online-inspired VR Headset Delayed by “a few days”, Reveal Video Here appeared first on Road to VR.

How VR MMO Zenith Is Being ‘Built For VR’ First And Foremost To Feel Like You’re ‘Living A Different Life’

Zenith: The Last City from Ramen VR opened up pre-orders recently which included closed alpha access, but had to close them from the surge in demand. We recently spoke with Ramen VR CEO, Andy Tsen, to get the latest on the game’s upcoming release.

Zenith: The Last City—A True VR MMORPG

Zenith: The Last City is slated to hit PC VR, PSVR, Quest, and non-VR PC this year and aims to be one of the first truly “massive” persistent online game worlds in the same vein as something like World of Warcraft, EverQuest, or Final Fantasy XIV. Or, in other words, a real VR MMO without compromises. Perhaps not on the same scale as Ready Player One just yet, but certainly channeling that anime-style JRPG aesthetic of Sword Art Online and .hack//sign a bit.

“Zenith is a virtual reality MMO and it has kind of a JRPG East Asian aesthetic,” said Tsen during an interview with UploadVR. “It’s kind of sci-fi fantasy and we want people to be able to come into the world and just explore and have a really positive, fun kind of RPG experience that they wouldn’t have on any other platform except one built for VR. We really think that this is the stuff that people have been wanting for a long time and that’s why we set out to build it…MMO is a term that has been really liberally used especially in mobile,” said Tsen. “And when I say MMO, what I’m trying to say is an MMO in the sense of something like WoW or Final Fantasy XIV, where it will be a large world where you can have thousands of people per shard. Our eventual goal, of course, is to make it even bigger and tie the different shards together to have this infinite world, but we’re starting with just a regular MMO and a regular shard which by itself is hard enough.”

In late 2019 Ramen VR raised over $280,000 via Kickstarter and has since secured additional outside investment to build a team that can work on a game like this. From the footage I’ve seen and what I’ve heard when speaking to the developers, it sounds like they’re on the right track.

“We’re building a full-scale VR MMO; it’s basically a lot of uncharted territory,” said Tsen. “I’m actually a big fan of Orbus and the guys at ATT (A Township Tale). Everybody has their own take on what a VR MMO should be. But what we’re really trying to do is create a top-notch extremely polished core game loop that is really, really fun to play that feels a lot more polished and a lot deeper. That’s our fundamental goal; to create an experience where it feels both familiar to MMORPG players as well as completely unique being in the space of VR itself.”


zenith vr mmo combat pic

Early in the game’s development Tsen described the combat as inspired by Beat Saber, but what he meant by that was just that it was real-time action based, not turn-based or target-based like a lot of MMOs typically are. If you wanted to draw comparisons to another VR game, the closest example is probably Until You Fall.

“Zenith is going to feel a lot more like an action RPG than something like Final Fantasy XIV or World of Warcraft where they are basically spreadsheet simulators where you’re pressing macros and you’re doing the whole hotkey dance,” said Tsen. “In Zenith, you literally have to parry enemy’s attacks, throw fireballs, you can slow time, and so on. Of course, all of this is tied together by a gorgeous environment where we’ve spent thousands of hours creating unique props and content and just building a world that feels fully alive and immersive.”

On paper, it sounds similar to what they’ve done in OrbusVR, the first-ever VR MMO. However, that game is a bit more simplistic in its design and visuals, which explains why they were able to launch as early as they did. From what I’ve seen, Zenith seems to aim for taking things up several notches. You can see a lot of that on display in this 30-minute long unedited pre-alpha gameplay video the developers published.

“One of the most important things about VR is a sense of presence and I think that that’s something that other genres outside of VR, where MMOs can’t really reach,” said Tsen. “And so for us, it’s all about that feeling of physical embodiment in the world. That’s why we introduced our recent Population One-style gliding, we have climbing, we have full-body IK. These are things that will make the players feel like they’re really in the world living a different life essentially.”

Zenith: The Last City still does not have a specific launch date or month yet, but presumably they’re aiming to get it out this year. The Closed Alpha period kicks off in April—you can find more information on that here. We’ll keep you posted with more on Zenith as we find out details and will publish more excerpts from this interview (as well as the full interview in its entirety) later this week.

Let us know what you think of Zenith down in the comments below!

Zenith VR MMO Alpha Delayed To May (Update)

[Update 3/31/21]: Today the developers announced that the start dates for its upcoming Preview Weekend, Early Bird Alpha, and Second Alpha tests have all been delayed. Previously everything was going to kick off in just a couple of weeks, but now the Kickstarter-exclusive Preview Weekend isn’t slated until May 1-2 with the Early Bird Alpha picking up on May 3-9, followed by the Second Alpha on June 14-20. Beta dates are still TBD.

According to the update blog post, “over 100 improvements” and fixes are planned over the course of the 2-week delay to make sure it’s as polished and bug-free as possible. For more on upcoming VR MMO Zenith: The Last City, watch or read our 45-minute deep dive interview:

[Original 3/10/21]: Today, pre-orders have officially gone live for Zenith: The Last City, an upcoming MMO that will launch on PC VR, PSVR, and Quest, as well as for non-VR PC platforms. The first preview weekend and early bird alpha tests are coming next month.

There are three different tiers you can pre-order, depending on how eager you are to get into the game: Standard ($30), Deluxe ($40), and Collector’s Edition ($60).

Here’s the breakdown on what’s included in each edition:

zenith vr mmo pre-order tiers

If you are a Kickstarter backer or founder, or decide to purchase the Collector’s Edition, then you get access to all alphas and betas, no questions asked. The same also applies to the first 1,000 people that buy the Deluxe edition. Deluxe buyers that miss the “first 1,000” cutoff will have to wait until the second alpha and beta periods.

Additionally, Kickstarter backers and founders will get a two-day weekend headstart on the Early Bird Alpha with a special ‘Preview Weekend’ coming very soon from April 17-18. After that, the first ‘Early Bird Alpha’ period runs from April 19-26 with the ‘Second Alpha’ running from May 31 – June 6. Dates for the Early Bird Beta and Second Beta are not set yet and all dates are subject to change.

zenith vr mmo alpha beta timeline

There is still no launch date set for Zenith: The Last City, but according to developers Ramen VR it’s planned to release this year for PC VR, PSVR, and Quest — as well as non-VR PC.

Stay glued to the Zenith Twitter for the latest news and let us know if you plan on picking the game up down in our comments below!

OrbusVR Winter Festival And New Raid Out Now For VR MMO

Today marks the beginning of the 2020 Winter Festival in OrbusVR and the launch of the brand new group raid dungeon, Citadel. You can find more details in the latest official OrbusVR blog post.

OrbusVR Winter Festival

While we have multiple VR MMOs on the horizon, such as Ilysia, Zenith, and Archgate to look forward to, there is already one out in the wild named OrbusVR. It’s been out for about three years now on PC and features full crossplay and cross-progression on Oculus Quest.

As is customary with MMOs, OrbusVR is no stranger to timed thematic content updates that are connected to real world seasons, such as the Winter Festival. This year will include the Heart of Strangers questline, snowman critter capture, and floating light quests. There’s also the Snowman Transmog set, just like last year.

In terms of new content this year there is a snowman pet reward for completing the Critter Capture quest and a fireplace to put in your house and a snow-themed mount.

OrbusVR Citadel Raid

Technically the raid has been sort of “out” in beta since December 3rd, but this week was the full launch. You can access it from a secret tunnel in the dragon shop inside Highsteppe. It’s a length dungeon with four major boss fights requiring strategy to get through safely.

Naturally, there will be lots of new loot to gain from the raid including new +4 armor and weapon sets, as well as an extremely rare +5 legendary weapon. They’ve got fancy magical auras that pulse through them, which is pretty neat.

OrbusVR is prepping for a big three-year anniversary celebration next month and will soon put out Quest 2-specific enhancements so players can see the mounts and tool belt items of those around them, as well as more fully-rendered characters instead of placeholder ghost avatars like on Quest 1.

Let us know what you think of this news down in the comments below! Do you regularly play OrbusVR?

Celebrate Sword Art Online In VRChat This Christmas With Creators And Cast

Yesterday the official English Sword Art Online Twitter account announced a special fan event called Sword Art Online Synthesis – The Period of Alicization Project, a free event hosted inside VRChat featuring the cast, show creators, and more. The event runs from December 26th at midnight JST until December 27th at 11:59PM JST.

According to the official website, fans will be able to explore “unique exhibits” and watch live streams of “special programs” in the VR environment, likely on that giant screen you see in the screenshot above. These programs will feature talks with the cast and creators of the anime, games, and more.

Everything is going to be streamed on YouTube as well, but you can join directly inside a PC VR compatible headset if you’d like, or even just on your PC using the VRChat client in non-VR mode. Obviously, checking it out in VR yields the most immersive and fun results.

There’s also going to be an airing of a “Special Movie” called Symphonic Alicization Orchestra Special Edition, which is a video consisting of anime clips edited together alongside music. It was included on the bonus disc with the limited-edition Blu-Ray release of SAO Alicization. There will also be a War of Underworld Special Edition Orchestra video as well that was edited together specifically for this event.

For more on cool VRChat things to do, check out our recommendations on some of the best VRChat worlds to visit. This free event runs from December 26th at midnight JST until December 27th at 11:59PM JST.

Let’s just hope there is a logout button this time.

Sword Reverie: How This VR Action RPG Channels Its JRPG Roots

Isekai Entertainment’s Sword Reverie has gained significant traction these last few weeks. Bringing us a single player JRPG-inspired action RPG to VR, it’s been in the news thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign.

First revealed last year with some gameplay footage, it reached their $10,000 funding goal in 72 hours and Isekai are now seeking to hit further stretch goals, including further content and support for both PSVR and Oculus Quest. As of the time of this publishing it’s got about 4 days to go.

Reminiscent of Sword Art Online, last year’s VR RPG Nostos, and VR MMO Ilysia it utilizes a hand-drawn anime visual design within a single player experience, designed to make you feel like a JRPG protagonist. 

Playing a nameless Hero summoned to this realm, it takes place across an open world with explorable villages, boss fights, and dungeons. Placing you amidst a war between humans and Elementals, it promises a story-driven experience that follows this plot: 

“After a thousand years of peace, the boiling tensions between the “kingdom of man” and the elemental lords continue to escalate. Seeing that the threat of a catastrophic war is imminent, the Guardian Magnus uses his powers to summon you the “Hero” to his realm, to become his new apprentice. The Guardian explains to you, that he believes the Elemental lords have grown too powerful and as legend goes, only a “true hero” from a faraway land, can bring balance, peace, and prosperity to all the realms.”

With the Kickstarter campaign finishing very soon we reached out to one of Isekai Entertainment’s founders, Frank Zhang, who was kind enough to tell us more about this exciting new project.

Sword Reverie Quest

Henry Stockdale, UploadVR: Firstly, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Could you please introduce yourselves and your game?

Frank Zhang, Isekai Entertainment Co-Founder: Hi, my name is Frank. One of the co-founders of Isekai Entertainment. We are a game studio founded in 2018 to develop anime and manga inspired VR games. 

Our game, Sword Reverie, is a single-player JRPG inspired VR action game. In Sword Reverie, you will be an anime protagonist who fights off hordes of Elementals using your sword and launches powerful abilities using body gestures. You will explore a large fantasy world alongside anime-style characters in a thrilling story-driven adventure.


UploadVR: Sword Reverie was announced last year but it’s only just gotten a Kickstarter campaign. Why choose to do this now, rather than when you first revealed it?

Zhang: Our original plan was to release the game directly to Early Access by the end of 2020. However, during our playtests this summer, we had an outpouring of support from players who wanted to see the game developed further before Early Access to realize its full potential and were asking for ways to support us financially to do so. We believe Kickstarter is the best way to continue the development of Sword Reverie with feedback and support from our community.


UploadVR: It’s planned for early access release in Spring 2021. What can we expect to be included at launch, compared to the full release?

Zhang: The Early Access release will include the first map and boss fight. The game will be roughly 2~3 hours at Early Access, with a smaller amount of enemy types and weapons. The full release will include 5 maps, 4+ boss fights, and additional enemies and weapons for 8~10 hours of gameplay. The full story of Sword Reverie will also be completed in the full release.


sword reverie vr action game

UploadVR: JRPGs aren’t really something we’ve previously seen in VR, though similar ideas were used in Nostos and OrbusVR. How does Sword Reverie distinguish itself from those experiences?

Zhang: Like Nostos and Orbus VR, Sword Reverie has a large fantasy world and epic stories. However, Sword Reverie is a single-player game with a greater focus on satisfying VR combat. Our game has a unique elemental combat system and players use different body gestures to launch abilities. We also do a great job recreating the anime experience with our art style and voice actors.


UploadVR: Perhaps inevitably due to the concept, we’ve seen plenty of Sword Art Online comparisons with your game and I noticed the Kickstarter FAQ discourages use of life-threatening hardware mods. All joking aside, is there any major similarities between SAO and Sword Reverie?

Zhang: We want Sword Reverie to be a game that immerses you in a VR fantasy world with thrilling action combat. Our team is a big fan of Kirito’s use of dual blades and the fights in SAO were exhilarating to watch. This is why we created a combat system that allows players to launch larger than life JRPG like abilities by doing cool battle poses using dual blades.


UploadVR: You’ve previously shown off open-world gameplay footage, showcasing combat and village exploration, so how much freedom will players have here? Can you go off adventuring to complete some side quests, or does it mainly focus on the campaign?

Zhang: Certain details are still being designed, but the player will be able to freely explore large sections of the map during the campaign and will be rewarded with experience and loot for venturing off the beaten trail. The focus is on the campaign, but side quests are a possible addition.


sword reverie town concept art

UploadVR: In true JRPG fashion, will there be a fishing minigame?

Zhang: Currently, the answer is no, but additional VR interactions may be added in the future.


UploadVR: Regarding combat, Sword Reverie promises a physics-based approach, using a rock-paper-scissors style system for elemental attacks and you’ve also got physical weaponry. How do these two aspects combine?

Zhang: The elemental system means that you need to change elements and use different abilities to deal with different enemies. The physics weaponry means you can’t just wiggle your sword around, that weapons have weight, and that you need to pay attention to how you are attacking enemies, such as where to attack, and when to dodge or block. You will need to choose the right element and strategy against enemies but also fight hard to dispatch enemies quickly.


UploadVR: We know that the Hero is joined by Magnus and Stella during this adventure. Stella and Magnus will join us during combat, but can players control/influence their actions during fights? Or do they operate independently?

Zhang: Magnus and Stella cannot be controlled by the player and will operate independently. However, they will both have major roles in the story.


UploadVR: Your Kickstarter video tells us we can combine elemental abilities to create our own playstyles within game. Could you tell us more about how this works?

Zhang: Each combination of elements and abilities have unique effects. When faced with different types of enemies, there are multiple strategies on what elements to use and which threats to tackle first depending on the playstyle of the player. For example, players may prefer to use fire elements to burn enemies or grass elements to root enemies. Each approach will have its pros and cons.


sword reverie combat gameplay screenshot

UploadVR: What VR headsets will be supported?

Zhang: We already support all PC VR headsets that run SteamVR (HTC Vive/Vive Pro/Cosmos, Valve Index, Pimax, Windows MR such as HP Reverb G2 and Samsung Odyssey+, Oculus Rift/Rift S/Quest with Link Cable, etc.) and Oculus PC VR (Oculus Rift/Rift S/Quest with Link Cable). PSVR and Quest are stretch goals for the Kickstarter.


UploadVR: To bring it to Oculus Quest and PSVR, you’re asking for $20,000 and $25,000 as stretch goals. Is it possible to achieve these goals with just a small financial boost?

Zhang: It will take far more money, and most importantly development time, to create proper Quest and PSVR versions of the game. For the Quest version, due to the performance limitations of mobile processors, we need to make major changes to the game. The Kickstarter is meant to be a gauge of interest in Quest and PSVR versions and not an indicator of the investment needed. If the stretch goals are met, we will seek alternative sources of funding to build these versions or put up more money ourselves.


UploadVR: Lastly, is there any message you’d like to share with the fans?

Zhang: Thank you to our Kickstarter backers for backing our project. The Kickstarter has been a huge success so far, and we will do our best to create a game that meets your expectations.

Again, thank you to all the weebs and gamers who have supported us along the way. Your support allowed us to keep moving forward during difficult times. We hope that all our fans will continue to provide us feedback to make the game better and continue to spread the word about Sword Reverie.

For more details on Sword Reverie, you can visit the official website, Kickstarter page, and Steam page. Sword Reverie is currently targeting a Spring 2021 release window for  Early Access.

Ilysia VR MMO Doubles Kickstarter Goal, First Look At Gear And Weapons Here

Ilysia is an upcoming VR MMO currently in the final days of its Kickstarter campaign. After initially launching with a meager $60,000 target, the team has far exceeded that and is already over double the original asking amount.

As of the time of this writing, Team 21 has just over $125,000 in Kickstarter pledges. Admittedly, if you know much of anything about what it takes to make an MMO, that isn’t very much money. However, the team is small, reportedly very efficient and lean according to themselves, and has clear goals. Time will tell if they can deliver.

We first reported on Ilysia last weekend after I spoke with some of the founding members of the project. Needless to say I’m impressed with what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard, so I’m eager to dive in for myself and see how it stacks up.

One of the main things I’ve been most curious about is the gear and equipment system. In games like OrbusVR, which is the first actual MMO in VR, character models are extremely simplistic and all of your gear is managed and seen in a floating flat menu. Same with Skyrim VR without mods and so many other RPGs with VR support.

But in an MMO, especially a VR MMO, I want to be as immersed as possible. Ideally, to really capture that Sword Art Online meets .hack//sign meets Ready Player One vision, we need everything to be interactive and to have gear and equipment visible on a fully-tracked body — not floating hands and torsos.

ilysia gear menu equipment vr mmo gif

In some brand new exclusive Ilysia assets provided to us by Team 21, it looks like they’re doing their best to deliver on that front. In the GIF above you’ll see the equipment menu — this is shown to manage what you’re wearing and see what you look like, but once you equip weapons you’ll grab them physically on your body. There are slots for: head, shoulder, chest, arms, legs, hands, feet, rings, neck, back (that means capes! woo!), belt, house key, and mount. Gear will also be tiered based on color, such as: grey (Poor), white (Common), green (Superior), blue (undisclosed tier name), and orange (undisclosed tier name).

There will be one-handed weapons, two-handed weapons, ranged weapons, offhand items like books, relics, and totems, and consumable items like food and potions. You can also choose your character’s gender, race, facial preset, hairstyle, and skin tone. All standard fare for the most part.

Here is the belt slot weapon being drawn in-game as an example:

drawing weapon ilysia vr mmo

According to the developers you’ll have two hip slots, two back slots, and two belt slots for weapons and items. Additionally, you can see in the featured image at the top of this article every character is wearing full armor with varied styles, donning a multitude of weapon types, and showcasing a diverse set of character styles.

Since it’s a free form class system, it looks like you’ll be able to have a very open-ended progression system, as shown in this menu:

ilysia skill tree vr mmo

Finally, here are some in-game screenshots that show off the world, various characters in-game, and some battles.

As of now, backers have unlocked 11/14 stretch goals after hitting the $125,000 threshold. This includes full-body VR tracking, mount breeding, a battle royale instance, pet breeding, additional starting zones, and more. Plus, this glorious mount named Handsome Joe’s Prized Pony for all backers:

The remaining stretch goals include a PvP Honor Rewards System ($150,000), Guild XP and Leveling ($200,000), and expanded player-owned Inns / Shops with Skills and XP ($250,000).

What I like about this art style (which I’ve been told is not final and will be improved) is that it reminds me a lot of old-school EverQuest. To me, those are still the glory days of MMOs and the developers claim to be intent on rediscovering that sense of wonder for VR.

ilysia vr mmo Spider Fight ilysia vr mmo spider fight magic spell ilysia vr mmo PvP Arena ilysia vr mmo spider fight group

Ilysia is slated to eventually release at some point next year on PC VR, PSVR, and Quest with full crossplay between all platforms. Let us know what you think down in the comments below!

[Disclosure]: The author of this story, David Jagneaux, pledged to the Ilysia Kickstarter at the $50 ‘Alpha Squire (Early Access – A1) tier. This has not affected his coverage of the game.