The harem of Kirito, hero of SAO
The harem of Kirito, hero of SAO

The 18th volume of Reki Kawahara’s light novel series Sword Art Online has revealed that a new story arc will come to the series next year, and Kirito will be back.

Sword Art Online: Alicization Lasting is said 18th volume, and is the last volume of the “Alicization Arc” which began in 2012.

Here’s the synopsis:

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. ..

As of the moment, Sword Art Online has had two anime adaptations, an upcoming anime film, a handful of manga and game titles as well as a VR demonstration based on the game.

Skydance also recently announced that they are producing a live-action TV series based on the novels. No real date as to when exactly the next arc would start but the date shouldn’t be too far off.