Gaming website IGN recently had an interview with Takao Miyoshi of SONICTEAM to talk about the next generation of Phantasy Star games, ahead of the Tokyo Games Show event taking place in Japan.
The interview discusses many new aspects of the game in depth, including the choice of why Phantasy Star Universe was chosen for a PlayStation 2 release rather than XBOX or Gamecube: “We felt that we could reach a wider audience by moving over to the PS2 and the PC… It might be okay to launch PSU on Xbox for the US market, but not for the Japanese market. Knowing what Final Fantasy XI has done in Japan with Online gameplay, I feel that the user base is there, so I feel strongly that PSU will appeal to the PS2 audience.“
Phantasy Star Universe, which is set to headline the studio’s offering at TGS alongside the Next Generation Sonic title revealed recently, looks set to rectify the problems of ’emptiness’ found in the solo mode of Phantasy Star Online. “We basically went back to the roots of what makes a good RPG and wanted to create a solid, strong Offline RPG as a foundation and add the Online mode after that. To be honest, that was lacking in PSO. It had a great, fun multiplayer Online mode, but the story element was lacking for it to be considered a classic RPG.“
New features in PSU uncovered in the interview also include duel-wielding of weapons, an advanced “lobby” system where players online meet in not just a simple room but a large city landscape, and new beast types and weapons.
The interview also takes a mini-tour of SEGA Headquarters, with many interesting pictures of SONICTEAM’s studio entrance (and thus killing all rumour that SONICTEAM has indeed lost its studio name since the Sammy merger). You can read the rest of the interview here.