With the release date for Phantasy Star Online just around the corner, Yuji Naka, CEO of Sonic Team, the game's developer, was interviewed by the U.K. magazine Edge. In an article posted online at FGN Online, Naka spoke about the game's upcoming release, the Dreamcast chip, and about the possibility of a sequel, Naka had a few things of interest to say to the many fans eagerly awaiting Sonic Team's latest offering.
Naka revealed that the Dreamcast has been produced as a single chip, which Sega is currently working to have integrated with PCs. With the chip installed in a computer, the user would be able to run the Dreamcast with the press of a button, starting a game right away. The hope is that it will give a much larger audience access to the Dreamcast. This comes as good news, since when asked if
Phantasy Star Online players could take their characters into a massively multiplayer online world, Naka replied, "Considering Dreamcast's capacity and the server you'd need to support a massively multiplayer game, no." Creating
Phantasy Star Online as it currently exists was a daunting enough task; Sonic Team originally intended to release the game in March, and to fully implement servers supporting users worldwide would take years. Besides, says Naka, there are other problems posed by a MMORPG: "You can't write to the GD-Rom and there's no hard disc in the Dreamcast, so it's very difficult to store the data needed for a MMORPG." He did go on to say, however, that it would be possible on the Playstation 2 or Xbox, which both have a hard disk, but even then it would be difficult at best.
Naka was also approached about the possibility of future Phantasy Star Online games, and while he sounded indecisive, there were hints that Sonic Team might entertain the notion, since there were a variety of features the team would have liked to include in the original. Sequel or no, there is still the first game itself to worry about in the immediate future; Phantasy Star Online is slated for release in Japan December 21st, and should arrive in North America shortly thereafter.