Segas Return to the Phantasy Star Licence Brings the Series Online

PS2 owners have been given cause to rejoice with the announcement of Final Fantasy X and XIs online capabilities, and PC gamers have been enjoying a recent upsurge in online rpging with the releases of EverQuest and Ultima Online. Sega, also, have sold many people with the announcement of Phantasy Star Online a while back, developed under their Sonic Team wing. Now, the first concrete details on the game are starting to emerge.

In an announcement that will have gamers everywhere rejoicing, PSO will be released simultaneously in all three major territories, Japan, North America and Europe. To save any trans-lingual confusion, Sonic Team have devised a unique way of communication across the language barrier. Gamers will use recognizable symbols to construct basic sentences and there will be a standard set of expressions and goals that the player can use to put across his point. This sounds very interesting, but in a very good way.

Everyone who was around in the 16 bit days with a Genesis (Megadrive in Europe) might remember the name from the series' earlier titles, four in all, the first of which was on the Master System. The licence was untouched for many a year, but Sega are picking it back up for the Dreamcast. Phantasy Star Online isn't as 'massively multiplayer' (a recently coined phrase amongst in PC land) as some might have hoped. It allows four players to take part simultaneously. This might, however, serve up some Secret of Mana style gameplay. Akin to SoM, the computer will fill in for the other three characters for those of you who can't find three that want to participate in your quest.

Plot details and character details are very thin on the ground at the moment but we do know this: A scout team has been sent to explore the reasons behind an explosion on a planet, apparently a planet from the Algol star system featured in the earlier games. Players who are fond and can remember the series' earlier titles might be interested to know that characters featured in earlier games will feature in the game somewhere, maybe as NPCs (Non Playable Characters). Full details, however, are not known yet. The monsters featured in the earlier games are also expected to make an appearance.

RPGamer will bring you full details when they become available.

by John "Loch Ness" Hynd
Source: [IGN Dreamcast]
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