You heard right! First (that I know of) announced by PSO World, Phantasy Online 2 has officially been slated for a US release! I for one could not be more pleased at this news. To date I have an almost complete collection of the Phantasy Star Franchise for a reason… the whole thing rocks! And the original PSO is no exception. (PSO Episode 3 was… but I have a hard time considering a card game a main part of the series.)
For those of you who don’t know, Phantasy Star Online was originally a Dreamcast title, and the first MMO to release for a console. Modelling itself after Diablo meets 3rd person in the sci-fi styles popularized by the Sega Genesis games of the same franchise, Phantasy Star Online was an instant hit and one of the great shining moments in the all-too-short life of Sega’s last console.
But the end of the system did not mean the end of the game. It later launched on Gamecube and Xbox with an Episode 2, a cardgame spin-off labeled Episode 3, and finally, on PC as PSO Blue Burst with a 4th and final episode included. Each game basically fit the same formula: go to the office, select a mission, beam down to the dungeon with up to 3 other friends, and run around in the dungeon killing enemies, leveling up, and collecting loot. The formula proved addictive enough for the every version of the game to be a success, even as none of them could be played online without a subscription.
Nor was PSO the end of the game, for the franchise has spawned the Phantasy Star Universe series for PS2, PC, and 360. Due to miss-management, a subscription fee to play online after WoW had come out, and gimping of possible updates to keep them able to fit on the PS2’s 8MB memory cards, PSU did not fair as well as it’s predecessor, but fans of the series still enjoyed the title while it lasted, and still to this day enjoy the portable releases on DS (Phantasy Star 0) and PSP (Phantasy Star Portable and Phantasy Star Portable 2), all of which have taken up the model set by PSU where there is a single player campaign, and a multiplayer set of missions to take on with friends. All portable games aside from Phantasy Star Portable support internet gameplay.
But the last of these games to come out was Phantasy Star Portable 2, we havent seen a non-portable Phantasy Star since 2006, and the online servers for that on 2 of the 3 systems it was on are offline. The 360 version is being shut-down on September 7th.
And now, a glow of awesome cracks through the embers we of cool that have kept us going. We will have the next game here in the states. We will have Phantasy Star Online 2. Click here to see the website and official trailer. Next year, we can return to Algo.