During a livestream from Japan, Bandai Namco shared new information and images about the "Ritual of Bonds" DLC for Sword Art Online Last Recollection.
First, we learn a bit more about the story compared to what we heard at Anime Expo. Back then we heard that Kirito and his friends have been asked a massive labyrinth that suddenly appeared. By clearing the dungeon, the land will be blessed, preventing the Dark Territory from expanding.
Today we learn that you don't just have to clear the dungeon, but also perform the titular ritual, which consists in spending the night with a partner while talking about your feelings. This is a pretty traditional part of Sword Art Online games, so it's not that surprising.
Each heroine (or hero, since Eugeo is included) will have their own story content and even an additional costume. You can see the design for Asuna below.
We also get a screenshot of the ritual night itself with the new character, Dorothy. If you're unfamiliar with the series, you might be tricked by the image, but while they're a bit fanservice-driven, these scenes are safe for work.
If you're unfamiliar with the DLC, it's split in two volumes, and both are included in the Deluxe and Ultimate Editions.
The first volume comes with Strea, Philia, Sinon, Silica, Asuna, Lisbeth, Dorothy, Premiere, and Tia. The second volume includes Rain, Seven, Alice, Eugeo, Leafa, Medina, Kureha, and Zeliska. Many of them are original characters created for the previous games, making a comeback in Last Recollection.
Sword Art Online Last Recollection is coming for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC on October 6, 2023.
If you want to see more, you can watch another video focusing on the comparison with the previous title, another providing an overview of the game, one showing the difficulty modes, one showing an event scene, more featuring story, characters, and weapons, and one focusing on a story cutscene with Dorothy.
The game will feature over 40 playable characters and promises "MMO-like multiplayer" and "the largest number of unique endings" ever featured in the long-running Sword Art Online series.
If you missed the original announcement made back in November 2022, the game is a retelling of the Sword Art Online Alicization: War of Underworld arc of the anime and is set in the Dark Territory of Underworld. It will also serve as a sequel to Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris.
Recently, we learned that Hololive Vtuber Minato Aqua has been named official cheerleader for the game and will take part in its promotion.