- This article is about the novel series. For the titular game featured in the novels, see Zenith: Across Worlds (game).
Set in the near future, the novels revolve around teen gamers whom all have mysteriously found themselves within the new and popular massively multiplier online role playing game, Zenith: Across Worlds. Although mostly strangers at first, the players eventually meet and forge a strong bond with one another, one that is constantly tested by the game's unconventional challenges, other outside players, and each other.
The chapters of Zenith: Across Worlds are organized in volumes which vary in length. For example, Volume 2 is comprised of seven chapters while Volume 1 has ten chapters. At the moment, each volume covers a full story arc, Volume 1 being "Welcome to Zenith", Volume 2 being "Clash of the Shops", and Volume 3 being "Not Alone". In a social media release, Sakurai-san, one of the authors, confirmed that this will not always be the case.
Sporadically released during the first part were bonus chapters that detailed locations and information regarding the universe of Zenith. They comprise the extra arc, Origins.
It has been confirmed by both Ogami Kenichi and Sakurai Rie, the writers of the series, that there will be at least 10 volumes. And, in reference to the series' official teaser (Set in the near future, the novels revolve around four teen gamers whom all have mysteriously found themselves within the new and popular massively multiplier online role playing game, Zenith: Across Worlds), Ogami-san hinted that "the fourth is yet to come, look forward to the coming volumes!" The dates for its release have not been released.
Production for the light novel series officially began its headway in July 2014 after an announcement of its concept by the head writer, Ogami Kenichi: "A new project will begin shortly that will follow four main characters in their life in a game... in which they have been mysteriously trapped within... Real world elements will be added to their former traditional game play experiences, as follows: smell, touch, taste, pain, and the related..." (translated). Arousing a wide consensus of support among his readers, production leaders Sakurai Rie and joined the project and, along with Ogami collaborated to produce inspiration for the characters and plot. After organization of the basic story and the universe of Zenith was completed, Ogami-san began writing. On August 15, 2014, The MMO was the first chapter to be released and was met with good reviews. Introducing the first of the four main protagonists, Rayde, it was quickly followed by other chapters that were released sporadically but within a week-long period. In the third chapter, New Player, the second of the four main protagonists was introduced: Shadow.
As time went on, chapters were released less frequently and were shorter in length; Ogami-san announced later on that it was due to an inconsistency in the novel's plot and inadequate information of the last main character. To satisfy readers, he said, filler chapters and the Origins Arc were released and, eventually, Sakurai Rie, who had primarily worked as the editor and illustrator, began writing to help prolong the series until the required details were decided upon. On September 14, 2014, Sakurai-san's first chapter, Journey to Momo's, the ninth in the series, was released to the public and was met with positive reviews. Planning for another chapter involving the shops and their owners began and Sakurai-san began organization for the Clash of the Shops Arc. Expected then to encompass one or two chapters, Ogami-san released one more, Arcane Linker, and officially ended the Welcome to Zenith Arc before he handed the plot to Sakurai-san. Clash of the Shops, Part I was released on September 21, 2014 amid critically positive reviews. Although adequate information for the last main character was finally amassed after the release of Clash of the Shops, Part II, the arc continued to bring a "satisfactory" end to the "story of the Coalition and its values". Contrary to its initial projection, the arc in the end encompassed six long chapters; the sixth in particular, released with a final arc epilogue, amassed 77 pages. (The whole Clash of the Shops Arc ran, in all, for 125 pages.) Although the first four chapters were released in quick succession, the fifth chapter was released two months after the fourth, and the sixth followed after an outstanding four and a half months. Sakurai-san commented later that this was due to an unexpected increase in work at the time.
On the same day Clash of the Shops, Part V II and the arc epilogue was released, April 11, 2015, Ogami-san's first chapter since Arcane Linker came out: New Life. With it, the third and final arc of Volume 1 began its run. Additionally, it officially introduced the third main character: GlassChroma, whom had been seen as an unnamed cameo in prior chapters.
- There are two authors as of the current state of the released light novels, Ogami Kenichi and Sakurai Rie.
- The official ZAW Day is scheduled every year on August 15th, the anniversary of the pilot chapter release.