Gameweek recently had the opportunity to speak with Charles Bellfield, Sega of America's VP of marketing and communications. A myriad of topics were discussed, regarding the recent developments within Sega and the decision to move towards a cease of Dreamcast support. However, Bellfield did reveal one matter that is sure to interest RPG fans: the development of Phantasy Star Online II. The following is an excerpt from the interview:
GameWEEK.com: What about an add-on disc or a sequel to Phantasy Star Online?
Charles Bellfield: We have one slated.
GW: (pause) You do...
CB: There will be a PSO 2.
GW: For Dreamcast...
CB: Yes, for Dreamcast.
GW: You lit up a few bulbs here. Are you talking about an expansion disc or a true sequel?
CB: It will be a new game. We are definitely planning to keep the Phantasy Star Online franchise continuing, absolutely. For the record, we sold 75,000 copies of PSO on the first day.
GW: What's going to happen with SegaNet?
CB: It will be going muti-platform as well. Here's something I thought was interesting: I was told this morning by Jupiter that Sony of Japan have expressed a desire to incorporate SegaNet technology into PS2, which is news to me.
Thus it is official. A sequel to Sega's premiere online console RPG, Phantasy Star Online, is already in development. And in a decision that is sure to please Dreamcast owners despairing over the "death" of their system, Phantasy Star Online II will be released for Sega's console, and should be available at least in Japan by the end of the year. As well, with SegaNet apparently crossing over to other platforms, perhaps RPG fans will see the game on consoles other than the Dreamcast. Beyond this, Charles Bellfield went on to confirm and deny a few rumors:
GW: Charles, can you confirm or deny the existence of this so-called "top-secret RPG" being worked on by Sega and Nintendo?
CB: (long pause) I'm trying to recall... Tetsu Kayama talked about a number of things last week and I would normally refer back to what he said, but... Let's put it this way: whatever he said, the answer is "yes."
GW: You know, Peter Main had the same suspicious grin when I asked him this question two and a half months ago...
CB: Did he really? Yes. (another long pause) We've got a great content line ahead.
GW: Was there any truth at all to the whole "DC chip in the Xbox" thing?
CB: None whatsoever. I don't even know whether it would have been capable. Xbox is so much more powerful than Dreamcast, I don't know why anyone would want that.
It's always a relief to have rumors put to rest, one way or another. The aforementioned "top-secret RPG" remains veiled in mystery, but promises to be a fascinating development, and a good indication of Sega's new aim of developing for other platforms. RPGamer will keep you updated on any information revealed regarding this unnamed title, as well as the exciting prospects of Phantasy Star Online II.