With Xbox kicking off this year’s E3 festivities, many people were expecting some prominent showings from Microsoft’s First-Party titles like Halo and Gears of War as well as some of their revered indie titles like Ori and the Will O’ the Wisps. What most weren’t expecting was a plan to bring Japan’s most popular MMORPG, Phantasy Star Online 2 (PSO2) to the West in 2020.
If you’re not familiar with the franchise, Phantasy Star is one of Sega’s longest-running IPs. The original game launched on the SEGA Master System in 1987 as a science-fantasy turn-based RPG. In 2000, Phantasy Star Online brought the first online RPG experience to consoles worldwide, but its successor PSO2, was only made available in Japan. What sets PSO2 apart from other MMORPGs is its futuristic anime aesthetic, fast-paced action combat, epic boss fights and seemingly endless amount of character customization. Despite launching in 2012, SEGA still provides periodic updates for the game including new events, quests, and crossovers.
During the Xbox conference, we learned some new information about PSO2’s proper western debut. PSO2 will be Free-to-Play on Xbox One and Windows 10 and include the games entire collection of content as well as have cross-play between both platforms. At the end of the trailer, there was a “powered by Azure” icon, which is Microsoft’s Cloud computing platform, but they have not specified how the game will utilize this moving forward.
I’m interested to know if the game will be updated graphically before release, which is a remote possibility given the time frame between announcement and launch. Also, whether the game will be released on other platforms like PS4 or Switch in the future as was previously promised.
Phantasy Star Online 2 will launch in the Spring of 2020 in North America, but dates or even an actual release in other regions has yet to be confirmed by SEGA.
You can view the Phantasy Star Online 2 website.
Check out my LIVE reaction to the reveal: https://youtu.be/4oAYXyXMLB8