Yuji Naka has certainly been busy over the last month or so. The beginning of the month was especially hectic; with the then-imminent release of Phantasy Star Online, Sonic Team's president was interviewed by the Japanese media group Mainichi Interactive on November 29th, just one interview among many. The conversation was concerned chiefly with the online performance of the game, as well as its accessibility, topics are of some interest to fans of the series as its North American release draws near and the game grows in popularity in Japan. Below are some of the responses Naka gave during his interview, the full text of which can be found online at Gamers.com.
When asked about the accessibility of Phantasy Star Online, Naka expressed some concern about the game's difficulty:
Naka:I think this game will be difficult for people that have not played games before. I would like people who have never played an RPG before to try to finish another RPG before playing this game. This game has a moderately difficult learning curve to deal with.
There was also some concern about the possibility of online cheating, a problem which can arise as a result of data being stored on the Dreamcast's hard drive:
Naka:When you store data on the hard drive, there is a danger of the data becoming damaged. There are plenty of merits, but there are always risks that come along with the benefits.
With all the attention being paid to the online aspect of the game, Naka was very pleased with the prospect of the game's online performance:
Naka:At first I thought it was a problem, but I did a complete 180. I now think, "Internet is actually pretty fast." Game speed is very important. In that way, I thought cartridge ROMs were good because it was so fast. I commended Nintendo's stance on the cartridge. I even complained to my bosses, demanding that they use ROMs as well. In that way, I was surprised by Nintendo's decision to switch over to a DVD format. I was a bit disappointed. (Laughs)
Now, several days following the release, some of these concerns have proven to be valid, others unfounded. Whatever the case, Naka will doubtless remain busy leading up to Phantasy Star Online's North American release, which has been delayed slightly to February 6th.