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I was wondering if in the novel we knew about some deaths occurring before Kayaba announcement. I remember that in the anime, Kirito plays a bit with Cline before realizing that the log off option has disappeared. Then all the people are summoned to the city and learn about the fact that if they die in the game, they also die in real life.

I don't remember any players dying before the announcement in the anime, except for those who are not waking up and their relative pulling off their NerveGear thus causing death, but maybe in the light novel, some guys died without even knowing it just while being defeated by a mob (which seems awful for me).

Do we know about some players dying before that while thinking they are still in a normal game?

  • From watching the series, reading the first couple of novels, and reading progressive's manga for awhile. I honestly can't confirm if that ever got brought up. – Callat Jan 31 '17 at 14:58
  • I think such rule was not implemented until the announcement or at least until they all were teleported to the city square. This conforms to the fact that while Kayaba was "evil", he is also fair. – 絢瀬絵里 Jan 31 '17 at 16:13
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    @AyaseEri if i recall from the anime when Kayaba called everyone back to the Town of Beginnings he had news reports on some deaths already. considering how much time it had been since everyone had been summoned before Kayaba turned up and there is no killing in Safe Zones i would think that either the deaths he got news reports of were from regular in-game deaths (new players tackling monsters too strong thinking they wont loose anything by dying so early) or Kayaba made an announcement well before summoning everyone and the deaths were of frightened family and friends removing NervGears – Memor-X Jan 31 '17 at 21:13
  • I would ass+u+me that deaths lead to respawn before the "main program" aka the death game was called by Kayaba from his terminal. Then upon calling the death game protocol, all players were force summoned to town square, and we get the epic ego-trip rant. – NZKshatriya Feb 1 '17 at 4:24
  • In the beginning when Kirito teaching Klein about game system. a few other player are hunting Wolves around them. Some of them died, but idk if thats permanent or not – Tanya von Degurechaff Feb 3 '17 at 7:20
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So, I read the beginning of the novel, and like Ayase Eri said, Kayaba is fair so he hadn't killed the players before doing an announcement.

This is written on page 71 :

The first person to get the honor of having his name crossed out appeared three hours into the game. The reason for death was not losing to a monster. It was suicide.

He believed in the theory that "according to the structure of the NerveGear, if a person is cut off from the system they'll automatically regain consciousness." He climbed over the iron fence at the north end of the city, or the edge of Aincrad, and flung himself off.

So, it clearly means that it was after Kayaba did his announcement because he tried to escape the game.

The anime followed that as well and if I remember it right, we see that first death (but I do not remember if it was during the first episode or a flashback that we see it).

The author really kept the characteristics of every character to this point.

  • I don't think this death is seen, but in a flashback, we see Keita, the leader of the Moonlit Black Cats guild die in the same way after the rest of his guild (except Kirito) is killed. A short iron fence—more of a guard rail—is pictured, suggesting it's the same place. – Erik Humphrey Jun 17 at 3:43
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Kayaba never mentioned whether any players had died via in-game death yet, but he did specifically state that 213 people had died before his announcement due to their NerveGears being removed by family members/someone on the outside. (He showed a number of news report feeds to the players to prove this.) (Source: SAO Wiki)

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