Phantasy Star Online 2
From Sega Retro
|Phantasy Star Online 2|
|System(s): PlayStation Vita, Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch|
|Publisher: Sega, Gamania (Taiwan & Hong Kong), Asiasoft (Southeast Asia)|
|Developer: Online R&D|
Phantasy Star Online 2 (ファンタシースターオンライン2) is a Free-to-Play Online RPG developed by Online R&D. The game is the latest mainline entry in the Phantasy Star Online-sub series, succeeding Phantasy Star Universe. The game was initially released in Japan in early 2012 on Windows PC. A PlayStation Vita port was released in early 2013 and a PlayStation 4 version in 2016. A Cloud version of the game called Phantasy Star Online 2 Cloud would be released on Nintendo Switch and later made available as an alternate method to play the game on PC. Furthermore a companion game, Phantasy Star Online 2 es, would be released for iOS and Android in 2014.
The game is one of the largest scale ever at Sega, from an investment as well as from a return perspective. It started development in 2008. It is planned to be supported for 10 years, with a constant in-house staff of 80 people post launch supporting the game with updates bi-weekly. It has been on track with the game performing well, being featured in almost everyone of Sega's financial report since its release. 
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 History
- 3 Production Credits
- 4 Magazine articles
- 5 Promotional Material
- 6 Artwork
- 7 Physical scans
- 8 External links
- 9 References
Phantasy Star Online 2 is the culmination of years of variation and experimentation with the gameplay formula introduced in Phantasy Star Online through games like Phantasy Star Universe, Phantasy Star 0 and Phantasy Star Portable 2. It features a brand new combat system similar to hack and slash games such as Devil May Cry and Bayonetta with the ability to run and climb on enemies includes a revamp of the Ranger combat playing more like third person shooters such as Lost Planet and the return of MAGs.
Multiple party quests are also a new addition to the game, with multiple parties grouping together to succeed in difficult challenges (like raids in MMORPGs)
- Main article: Phantasy Star Online 2/Achievements.
On Febuary 5th at the "Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity Nationwide Fan Thanks Festival 2011" Sega announced that the Alpha test would be available in Summer 2011 and purchasing a copy of PSP2 Infinity would give players a lottery code with the chance to gain access to the Alpha. Two days later Sega announced that having an active Premium Japanese Phantasy Star Universe account on certain dates would also allow users to also get a lottery code.
The alpha dates with 3 tests were as follows:
- August 18th, 16:00 ~ 23:00 [Test 1]
- August 19th, 18:00 ~ 23:00 [Test 1]
- August 23rd, 16:00 ~ 23:00 [Test 2]
- August 26th, 16:00 ~ August 27th 23:00 [Test 3]
Second alpha test
Back in late November 2011, SEGA opened up Registrations for the second Alpha Test which closed entries on 17 January 2012. Afterwards SEGA announced a week later (on the 24th) which players were picked for the Alpha 2 through waves. The NDA was lifted for this alpha. Many new features and changes had been introduced: player shops, massive changes to the mission types and enemy spawn system and rooms were introduced to the alpha along with a brand new interface far more similar to Phantasy Star Portable 2. The amount of people who got in was far larger than the original. (23k players online consecutively at one point)
The test dates for Alpha 2 were as follows:
- January 27th, 16:00 to 23:00 JST
- January 28th, 18:00 to 26:00 JST
- February 1st, 16:00 to 23:00 JST
- February 3, 15:00 through Feb 4, 23:00 (32 hours continuously)
Open beta began on 21 June 2012 as free-to-play. Open beta ended on 2 July 2012, in preparation for release on 4 July 2012. Characters created by players during open beta were carried over to the live servers.
The game was a success in its native market, with an update yearly. Currently it is on Episode 6.
During the game's development, no plans for a release outside of Japan were disclosed initially. Despite this, a partially localized Korean version of the game's first alpha was shown off at the G-Star Game Expo in 2011  While the game's second alpha was active, directories for different languages; English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Korean and Chinese (Simplified and Traditional) were discovered in the game's files. 
On July 9, 2012, Phantasy Star Online 2 was officially announced for an Early 2013 release in North America and Europe. In an interview with 4gamer, Satoshi Sakai elaborated that as a result of different laws regarding monetization, the game's Western release would have North American and European players sharing a server similar to Phantasy Star Universe's PC/PS2 servers. In the same interview, he also expressed the possibility of versions of the game for the Asian region as well as delivering cultural specific content. 
On August 9 2012, SEGA announced they would be showing off Phantasy Star Online 2 at PAX alongside eight other titles. At PAX players were able to experiment with the Character Creator or play through the Greenscape area with a party of other players playing at the booth. Event attendants were able to get a Phantasy Star Online 2 themed mousepad. This would be the last time any sort of information on Phantasy Star Online 2's Western release would be shared until March 26th, 2013, when SEGA of America announced that the game's Western release had been delayed. No reason was ever given for the delay but it is commonly speculated that internal turmoil between Sega of Japan and Sega of America was the cause. The game's English website would remain online until 2017 with no further updates past being posted.
On July 5 2013, months after the first North American and European delay, it was announced that the game would be released throughout the rest of Asia. Rather than being managed by a SEGA subsidiary in these regions, the game was outsourced to Gamania Digital Entertainment and AsiaSoft. Gamania Digital Entertainment managed the game's Chinese language servers for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau while AsiaSoft would manage Thai and English servers for the rest of South East Asia. In 2014, South East Asia version would have a closed beta between April 10th to the 14th before eventually releasing on the 29th of May. Both the Gamania and AsiaSoft version of the game would receive exclusive content such as unique costumes and events, but eventually, both versions suffered from content gap not too different from the North American and European release of Phantasy Star Online Blue Burst and the PS2/PC version of Phantasy Star Universe.
Although SEGA of America's translation for the initial North American and European version was used for Asiasoft's version, under SEGA of Japan's request, AsiaSoft replaced series conventions such as 'Force' and 'Monomates' for more generic terms such as 'Wizard' and 'Health Drink' possibly to make the game more accessible in said region. Furthermore, a lot of text that was not translated by SEGA of America sported odd and inconsistent translation choices. This version of the game was also criticized for its Pay-to-Win element as cosmetic items would now carry stats and be a paid exclusive using the game's ARKS Cash currency. At the request of AsiaSoft, the Japanese version of Phantasy Star Online 2 became inaccessible to players in South East Asia. Following low levels of use, the version of the game managed by Gamania would close on April 25th 2017 and AsiaSoft's version closing on May 26 2017.
At the time of closure, the North American and European versions were still on an indefinite delay. The lack of details on the game's delay alongside SEGA of America's restructuring in 2015 and the closure of the Asian version made a Western release unlikely.
2020 North American Release
In a surprise announcement during E3 2019, SEGA announced on Microsoft's Xbox Conference that Phantasy Star Online 2 would be releasing in North America on Xbox One and PC in Spring 2020.
The game's North American version is a collaboration between SEGA and Microsoft and came about after the vice-president of Microsoft's Gaming division travelled to Japan and pitched releasing the game in the West on Xbox One. Due to the larger player population and geographical regions that would need to be covered, SEGA decided on using Cloud hosted servers instead of On-Premises Servers for the game's North American version. Various Cloud providers were considered though ultimately Microsoft's Azure Cloud platform was chosen due to Microsoft's experience in the gaming market and moreso with the Western market. The proposal also benefitted Microsoft also who were looking to expand the use of Azure in the game's industry and needed a popular title they could showcase. 
The nature of the game's North American launch is still unclear with the only details being present in the game's North American marketing which claims the game would have all the content currently available on the Japanese version and cross platform Multiplayer for Xbox One and PC players, with Phil Spencer later confirming the game could also possibly launching on other platforms. . There also does not exist any details on whether the game would see a launch in EMEA regions (either in the form of a European client, European hosted servers or even just official support).
On December 17th, 2019, a Closed Beta for the Xbox One version of the game was announced for North American players. Registration for the Xbox One Phantasy Star Online 2 Beta is done through Microsoft's Xbox Insider Hub. Further information also stated the game would not be releasing on Windows 10 initially stating the version was 'scheduled to release later in the year', however the game's social media accounts confirmed that the Windows 10 version would still be releasing within the Spring timeframe.
On January 27, 2020, the official dates for the Phantasy Star Online 2 Xbox One Closed Beta had been announced for February 7th, 2020. Building up to the release date's announcement, the game's social media unveiled the three rewards for players who played the Closed Beta:
- Photon Halos A-C Accessory
- Coated Edge Weapon Camo
- Dreamcast Mag Evolution Device
In addition, the social media account revealed an Open Beta would be taking place after the game's Closed Beta.
- Main article: Phantasy Star Online 2/Credits.
- Main article: Phantasy Star Online 2/Magazine articles.
|PC, JP (Premium Package Vol. 2)|
PlayStation Vita version
|PlayStation Vita, JP (Special Package)|
PlayStation 4 version
- Sega of Japan catalogue pages (Japanese): PlayStation Vita
- Official website (Japanese)
- Official website (English)
- Official website (Taiwan)
- Official website (South East Asia)
- Phantasy Star Online 2 on PlayStation.com: PlayStation 4: JP, JP (digital); PlayStation Vita: JP, JP (digital), JP (Episode 2 Deluxe Package), JP (Episode 3 Deluxe Package)
- Phantasy Star Online 2 on PlayStation Store: PlayStation 4: JP; PlayStation Vita: JP
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