Sword Art Online Season 3, episode 1 hides a large SAO Fatal Bullet video game advertisement in plain sight in one of its scenes. Sword Art Online kicked off its third season yesterday with a feature-length episode previously screened to Japanese event attendees in mid-September.
Sword Art Online Fatal Bullet is the latest in a stream of SAO video games to release since the original series burst onto our screens back in 2012. Becoming something of a worldwide hit in the anime world at the time, Bandai Namco has kept the momentum going between anime releases with its almost yearly video game release schedule.
Those who missed the scene can pull their video player of choice back to the 30-minute mark of the Sword Art Online season 3 premiere to see the ad for themselves. The second half of the new season premiere takes us back to the Gun Gale Online world featured in season two. As the main characters talk about the Bullet of Bullets 5 tournament outside their usual meeting point, the slightly obstructed logo for the Sword Art Online Fatal Bullet video game can be seen in the upper right of the screen.
SAO Fatal Bullet released in Japan back in February last year, making the advertisement a little outdated by the time the new season launched with its covert product placement. But the worldwide release of the episode yesterday almost seemed to foreshadow news of a forthcoming expansion and Complete Edition set to release early next year.
Despite being a show all about video games, Sword Art Online Fatal Bullet isn’t a real thing as far as the anime is concerned. It’s a real-life non-VR title available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It’s possible anime studio A-1 Pictures and developers Bandai Namco intended for it to appear to big up news of the expansion and re-release, but with a date for the previously announced Nintendo Switch version still missing, there’s a chance there’s more to this covert campaign yet.