25 Years of NiGHTS (Part 2)

For Part 1 of this article, go here.

The Cameos

Though no new NiGHTS game was on the horizon by the late 90s, Sonic Team and SEGA still had plenty of love for the purple dream jester, and they demonstrated that a lot. Sonic Adventure featured an entire NiGHTS themed pinball table, which likely served as many Sonic fan’s first exposure to the character. When Dreamcast party game Sonic Shuffle’s multiplayer was played on December 24, NiGHTS replaced Lumina. Sonic Adventure 2 featured NiGHTS on numerous level assets and featured a chao based on them. The cameos continued even after the Dreamcast.

Sonic Pinball Party gave NiGHTS a second pinball table, and the character was playable in both the Sonic Riders games and SEGA Superstars, a mini game collection for the PS2’s Eyetoy. NIGHTS popped up in Billy Hatcher as a special unlockable character, and also starred in NiGHTS Score Attack, a special mini game that could be downloaded to the GBA over a link cable from both Billy Hatcher and Phantasy Star Online.

For over a decade, this was essentially how NiGHTS stuck around. It wouldn’t be until 2007, eleven years after the original game’s release, that this finally changed.

The Sequel

Takashi Iizuka had often talked about wanting to do a NiGHTS sequel, and finally got his chance in late 2005, after the completion of Shadow the Hedgehog. My mid-2006, NiGHTS Journey of Dreams was in full production for the Wii. Though some have speculated JoD may have been originally planned for HD consoles, Iizuka later confirmed it was built from the ground up for Nintendo’s system.

After a small delay, JoD launched in December of 2007. It would not be as well received as its predecessor, receiving mixed-to-positive reviews. The game also likely didn’t sell especially well, though sales numbers appear to be hard to confirm.

JoD kept several aspects from the original, including its 2.5 perspective, its focus on flight, the timer for NiGHTS, and the ability to link rings and blue chips together for higher scores. Unlike the previous game, players needed to chase down nightmarens riding large birds in order to collect keys to free NiGHTS, and there is no incentive to run the timer down. Instead, JoD encourages players to simply complete its stages as quickly as possible. 

JoD also introduced a lot of brand new features, such as multiple missions per level, a significantly more fleshed out plot, an online multiplayer mode, and most infamously, platforming levels starring the children. It also has an area where Nightopians can be interacted with called “My Dream,” which is essentially a barebones chao garden. This open space can be filled with random objects from the game’s levels, as well as Nightopians and Nightmarens, which are sent here via paralooping. 

JoD does a lot to try to modernize NiGHTS. While it has the same number of levels as its predecessor, it stretches those levels out by giving each five missions that reuse assets, including the aforementioned platforming sections. It also features loads of cutscenes and voice acting for all the characters.

JoD’s plot is essentially a reboot of the previous game, but with new kids: Helen and Will. The game features a new helper character, “Owl” who essentially serves the same purpose as Tikal and Omochao. Aside from NiGHTS, Wizeman and Reala also make a return. Everyone is sporting new, more complex designs.

There is a lot I could say about JoD, but that’s best left for another article. To this day, it continues to serve as the only other full game in the NiGHTS franchise. It would not be the last NiGHTS game released, however. The original would soon be getting a remake.

The Remake

Just a few months after the launch of JoD, SEGA launched a full remake of the original NiGHTS for the PS2, exclusively in Japan in February of 2008. It featured completely remade visuals, Christmas NiGHTS, and a complete port of the Saturn original. Each copy of the game also came with a second printing of the rare NiGHTS story book. The PS2 version featured additional timed events in Christmas NiGHTS, including special summer and Halloween outfits for Claris and Elliot, and a special Halloween skin for NiGHTS. Unfortunately, the game didn’t sell particularly well, charting just over 6,000 units. The remake version of the game is also infamous for featuring somewhat slower speeds, as well as inferior (potentially 8-way directional) control instead of full analog.

This version would later become the basis for the HD remake, which as released on Xbox 360 and PS3 four years later in 2012. This remake presented NiGHTS in HD for the first time, and featured true 16:9 widescreen as opposed to the stretched 4:3 widescreen of the Saturn and PS2 games. It included all the special features of the PS2 version, as well as all the control issues. These issues would later be patched, though.

NiGHTS into Dreams… HD continues to be available for both Xbox and Steam users, and can also be played by anyone who has Game Pass or PS Now, making it far more accessible then it once was.

The Legacy

NiGHTS hasn’t had a single release of any sort in nine years, but as with before JoD, the character hasn’t disappeared.

NiGHTS was a playable racer in 2012’s Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and inspired a whole DLC level in 2013’s Sonic Lost World. NiGHTS, Reala and Wizeman all returned to Archie as part of their World’s Unite crossover event. They appeared as “buddies” in 2015’s Sonic Runners, and inspired a costume in 2017’s Sonic Forces. Elements from the games even popped up in Sonic’s 30th Anniversary Comic and orchestra just last month!

Finally, NiGHTS as a brand has recently made a return…as a slot machine in certain casinos. I can’t say I’m exactly happy about that, but it does show that someone somewhere still sees value in NiGHTS as a franchise.

With Iizuka expressing an interest in returning to NiGHTS yet again, there is yet hope that we’ll be seeing the purple dream jester again in a proper game. Until then, we’ve still got 25 years of games and legacy to remember them by.

Phantasy Star Online 2 Trailer, Screenshots Unveiled

You may remember the big announced regarding PSO2 last year, right? Well, SEGA has finally released a new trailer and screenshots for the game. The trailer and it’s subsequent translation can be seen below. For screenshots, head over to the source, SEGAbits.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxqukE7UfLk&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

The following translation was done by the website andriasang.

As reported at 4Gamer, the video Sega showed at the event had a bunch of phrases that may provide some hints about the game’s background.

First, what appears to be the overarching story:

The ship fleet Oracle (written in Japanese, “オラクル”) which travels the endless stars. A new adventure that awaits on the countless planets. Invasion of the malice that covers the universe. The name of the people who face off against them is Arcs (in Japanese, “アークス”). Will the universe be saved, or will it be swallowed up? It’s in the hands of the hero (you).

The above is just a super quick translation of 4Gamer’s summary. 4Gamer said that it might have made some errors in its transcript.

The video also mentioned a few key words and phrases:

Is there adventure in today’s RPGs?
Always, to a new field. Random field.
Original Combos
TPS style
Jump Action
Hybrid Custom Action
It gives you a foreboding feeling — seamless weather.
Something will happen every time!? Interrupt event
Aiming for “Endless Advneture.”
The adventure without end, once again.

Phantasy Star series producer Satoshi Sakai took the stage at the event and said that the staff is aiming to give players the feeling of adventure that has been lost in today’s RPGs. He described the game as “a brand new title” and said that he hopes the game will be enjoyed by series fans, online gamers and even players who have yet to get into online games.

Further details on the game will be released ahead of the alpha test, which kicks off this summer.

At the moment, this game is only confirmed as a PC release.

Steve Lycett De-confirms Hooked Gamer’s ASR Phantasy Star Online Track Revelation


UPDATE: Steve Lycett under his S0L tag over at the SSMB has de-confirmed the Phantasy Star Online track mentioned in Hooked Gamers preview with the following statement –

Errr de-confim

I’m not sure which track they’re talking about – but it’s not a PSO one. They’ve likely seen a Final Fortress stage


S0L

Look’s like Hooked Gamer got confused somewhere during their preview. UPDATE END
Original article below –

Gaming website Hooked Gamers(yeah we haven’t heard of them either) have recently had the chance to check out how Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing is coming along. In their preview they see the game has potential but they also think it might end up being simple and standard.

The most interesting part of the preview is the quote below revealing that the game has a Phantasy Star Online track, unfortunately there are no screenshots to give us a glance at track.

It’s great to see so much of the old classic Sega games return to the TV screen. In tune with these classics, the confirmed stages in this game vary from the bright, welcoming beachside of Seaside Hill from Sonic Heroes to a futuristic and whimsical Phantasy Star Online stage.

Check out the preview here.

We’ll keep an eye out for any more info, screenshots and video’s and keep you up to date.

Thanks to Blue Toad over at SEGA Forums ASR topic for the find

PSO: Blue Burst BETA Trial

Sonic Team are gearing up their Western release for the long-awaited PC version of Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II, including a new “Episode IV” mode and a limited free trial.

The new version, subtitled “Blue Burst”, will be available for free trial download from May 10 on the official PSO:BB websites for SEGA Europe and SEGA America. The trial will allow players to get a feel of the PC version of Ragol, while offering 30 days of free online play.

Interestingly, SEGA will provide special quests for BETA players, perhaps in a way to trial every aspect of the game experience before releasing the final version in stores.

Continue reading PSO: Blue Burst BETA Trial

Friday Loungin’

Don’t you just love Fridays? Beginning of the weekend (which is always dogged with work for me), all-round good feeling, spring in yer step. For us at TSS, it means we polish off another healthy update for you to get your teeth into.

First off, we have new entries for the TSS Mailbag’s April month. Have a general question, comment on something Sonic or even TSS itself? Or maybe you just wanna chat. Be sure to get in touch, and mark your email subject “Mailbag”. Today’s update discusses Death Eggs, online Sonics, Shadow (again) and a fan of the ol’ Illegitimacy section.

Continue reading Friday Loungin’

PSO: Blue Burst Mini US Site

Sega of America has opened their mini Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst official site a few days ago. The website features some information (shown below), PC requirements, screenshots, and a spring 2005 release date listed. Stay tuned to Sonic News for further information on its release.

New Quests!
Thirty three quests have been created from the offline portion of the PSO story. Visit the Governor-General and receive up to 15 quests, or get to the Laboratory to accept 18 quests that await you there.

Continue reading PSO: Blue Burst Mini US Site

You’re All Talk and No Meat ^_^

Hands up those who thought the old ZX Spectrum was dead? Oh, a lot of hands there. Well, I don’t blame you. But, thanks to some talented guys online, Sonic is set to hit the classic 1980’s UK micro computer! No lie. Of course, it’s not SEGA, but rather some groovy Spectrum enthusiasts giving a go of porting Sonic 1 (the 8-Bit Master System/Game Gear version) onto the Speccy. Click here to check out Sonic ZX, and thanks to Psychobob for finding this webpage. As well as looking to the future of console gaming, it seems Sonic is also speeding backwards through time too.

Aside from that surprising but cool news, this is a pretty boring period for us Sonic fans isn’t it? I mean, at least the Americans got Sonic Advance 3 a few weeks back. PSO III: CARD Revolution is out now in stores, but only in GAME stores (bunch of butchers… gimme a freckin’ job!), so until the 25th June (Sonic Advance 3’s UK release) we’re just sitting on our thumbs here for something Sonic-y. Continue reading You’re All Talk and No Meat ^_^

PSO Episode I & II, Sonic Adventure DX Will Be First SEGA Europe Self-Published Titles

SEGA recently revealed that it was returning to self-publishing its games in Europe, and ever since then we’ve been waiting eagerly for that day to come. The first title to be published by SEGA Europe will be Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II in May, followed closely by Sonic Adventure DX and Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution in June.

Continue reading PSO Episode I & II, Sonic Adventure DX Will Be First SEGA Europe Self-Published Titles

Report: PSO Episode I & II on Xbox To Have Fees

Xbox players looking forward to getting their Hunt on in Phantasy Star Online might be surprised at this news – according to a new report, there will be additional fees for access to the game on Microsoft’s home console.

Continue reading Report: PSO Episode I & II on Xbox To Have Fees

PSO Servers Back Online After Suffering Internet Worm Attack

Phantasy Star Online players confused about the game’s extended downtime over the last week or so have finally been given an answer by Sonic Team. Apparently a rather malicious internet worm that has knackered a whole bunch of other sites and services made its way to PSO’s servers as well, so the developer took the action of taking things offline to fix it.

Continue reading PSO Servers Back Online After Suffering Internet Worm Attack

PSO Episode I & II Gets Xbox Release Dates

It’s about time! Sonic Team fans with an Xbox console have been patiently waiting for the launch of Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II, and now it looks like there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The game will be released on Xbox in Japan and the West in early 2003.

Continue reading PSO Episode I & II Gets Xbox Release Dates

NiGHTS Makes a Full Appearance in PSO in Special Sonic Team Quest

Yes, you can play a cut-down version of NiGHTS into Dreams on your Game Boy Advance by hooking it up to Phantasy Star Online on your Gamecube, but soon you’ll be able to get a real taste of Nightopia in Sonic Team’s online RPG with a special themed DLC quest just in time for Christmas.

Continue reading NiGHTS Makes a Full Appearance in PSO in Special Sonic Team Quest

Yuji Naka Reveals That PSO’s GBA Unlockables May Need to Be Downloaded

Sonic Team is stuffing a bunch of special Game Boy Advance mini-games into the Gamecube version of Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II, but besides one special bonus item it seems that you will need to be connected to the internet in order to truly enjoy them. Yuji Naka recently stated that these bonuses will, for the most part, not come included on the GC disc.

Continue reading Yuji Naka Reveals That PSO’s GBA Unlockables May Need to Be Downloaded

PSO Episode I & II Gamecube Will Cost $8.95 A Month to Play Online

SEGA has confirmed that there will be a subscription fee to play Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II in North America. The online service will cost $8.95 a month from October 29, but the company is sweetening the deal by giving active players exclusive downloadable quests to expand the game.

Continue reading PSO Episode I & II Gamecube Will Cost $8.95 A Month to Play Online

Special Tails Chao Unlockable Hidden Within PSO Episode I & II on Gamecube

There’s an extra incentive to pick up a copy of Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II on Gamecube for Sonic fans. By playing the game, you can unlock a special Tails-style Chao which you can transfer to your GBA and import back into Sonic Adventure 2 Battle.

Continue reading Special Tails Chao Unlockable Hidden Within PSO Episode I & II on Gamecube

Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Dated for Xbox

At Tokyo Game Show this year, Sonic Team reminded the world that they are still working on Phantasy Star Online for Microsoft’s Xbox console. It now has an official name, too – Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II. That’s right, it’s the same game as the recently-released (in Japan) Gamecube version.

Continue reading Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Dated for Xbox

Now People Are Cheating in Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II

In news that surprises absolutely nobody, it seems that a bunch of people are already cheating in the newly-released Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II game on Gamecube. The game only came out last week in Japan and yet Sonic Team has already received hundreds of complaints from players about the situation.

Continue reading Now People Are Cheating in Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II

New PSO Soundtrack Releasing 19 September in Japan

It didn’t take long for more information on the PSO Soundtrack to come to light, and we now have some concrete knowledge on release date and track listing. The official title of the OST will be “Phantasy Star Online: Song of Ragol Odyssey ~Soundtrack Episode I & II~” and will launch in Japan on 19 September.

Continue reading New PSO Soundtrack Releasing 19 September in Japan

PSO Episode I & II to Get 2CD Original Soundtrack Release

If you’re a fan of the atmospheric sounds of Phantasy Star Online, like we are, then you’ll be happy to hear that SEGA is planning to release a 2CD Original Soundtrack of the upcoming Gamecube version’s ‘Episode I & II’ music.

Continue reading PSO Episode I & II to Get 2CD Original Soundtrack Release

SEGA to Close Some Dreamcast PSO Servers Soon

Looking forward to Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II? Well, hopefully you’re planning on jumping across from the Dreamcast version because according to SEGA, some legacy servers will shut down once the next-gen port arrives on Gamecube and Xbox.

Continue reading SEGA to Close Some Dreamcast PSO Servers Soon

PSO Hacker Inadvertently Breaks Gamecube Trial Version, Blames Sonic Team

Well, that was quick. Seems like criminal punishments aren’t doing much to deter hackers from getting their sticky fingers on Sonic Team’s Phantasy Star Online, as the Gamecube version’s trial has already been compromised in Japan. And the user behind the original vulnerability break has blamed the developer for negligence. Continue reading PSO Hacker Inadvertently Breaks Gamecube Trial Version, Blames Sonic Team

PSO Episode I & II Finally Releases in Japan in August; Level Cap Raised to 200

It feels like we’ve been waiting f-o-r-e-v-e-r for Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II to come out on Nintendo Gamecube, but it seems that we’re finally turning a corner on it. According to a new report, the game will finally launch in Japan on August 8 – and come bundled with more improvements than we originally thought. Continue reading PSO Episode I & II Finally Releases in Japan in August; Level Cap Raised to 200

Sonic Team Has PSO E3 Models Stolen

Oh no! Remember when we reported on Sonic Team developing a new episode in the Phantasy Star Online series? The studio had a display for this ‘PSO Card Battle’ game, with some model figurines on show. Those prototype models have been stolen! Continue reading Sonic Team Has PSO E3 Models Stolen

New Phantasy Star Online Card Game Announced By… Nintendo?

Surprise! If an upgraded version of Phantasy Star Online on Gamecube isn’t enough to satisfy your Sonic Team RPG appetite, Nintendo has decided to let everyone know that a brand new entry in the series is in development. This one, though, involves playing cards! Continue reading New Phantasy Star Online Card Game Announced By… Nintendo?

NiGHTS and Puyo Puyo Minigames Unlockable on PSO Gamecube

Missing Sonic Team’s Saturn classic, NiGHTS into Dreams? Yeah, we are too. Puyo Puyo too. Well, if you’re planning to pick up the Gamecube version of Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II, you will be able to play micro-sized versions of both games on your Game Boy Advance!
Continue reading NiGHTS and Puyo Puyo Minigames Unlockable on PSO Gamecube

Report: PSO Episode I & II Will Support Voice Chat on Xbox

Looks like Xbox-owning Phantasy Star Online players will get something a little extra when the online RPG releases later this year. According to a report from TSSZ, Episode I & II will support Xbox Live’s voice chat system in addition to the usual text communications available on the Gamecube version.
Continue reading Report: PSO Episode I & II Will Support Voice Chat on Xbox

PSO Episode I & II Will Require a Subscription, Cross-Platform Play Killed

Some disappointing news in the Phantasy Star Online universe, depending on how you were hoping to play and whether you have deep pockets. SEGA has confirmed that the upcoming Episode I & II game on Gamecube and Xbox will require subscription payments – and no, you won’t be able to play between the different consoles either. Continue reading PSO Episode I & II Will Require a Subscription, Cross-Platform Play Killed

Gamecube Network Adaptors and PSO Episode I & II Pinned for Fall Release

Looks like we’re all one step closer to enjoying Phantasy Star Online on the Gamecube, as Nintendo has today revealed its plans for the console’s network adaptors in the US. Continue reading Gamecube Network Adaptors and PSO Episode I & II Pinned for Fall Release

PSO Servers to Undergo Maintenance in May to Prep for Gamecube Version

If you’re an avid Phantasy Star Online player, you should be aware that on one particular day this month you may not be able to access the online RPG at all. It’s all in preparation for something greater, trust us… Continue reading PSO Servers to Undergo Maintenance in May to Prep for Gamecube Version

PSO Features in SEGA’s E3 2002 Lineup – But No Sonic

SEGA has unveiled its E3 2002 showcase lineup, and it looks like Phantasy Star Online will get a fair bit of attention on the Sonic Team side of things. But, unless there’s a sneak announcement happening during the show, it appears that Sonic himself won’t be showing up in any form.
Continue reading PSO Features in SEGA’s E3 2002 Lineup – But No Sonic

Rumour: PSO To Offer Xbox and Gamecube Cross-Play

Seems like the upcoming release of Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II is going to be much more significant than we thought, if recent rumours are to be believed. Apparently, the game will allow for cross-play between Nintendo Gamecube and Microsoft Xbox players. Continue reading Rumour: PSO To Offer Xbox and Gamecube Cross-Play

PSO Episode I & II Will Update and Remix Original Dreamcast Content

New details on Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II – and by extension, the upcoming trial version of the game that’s coming next month – have been coming thick and fast. Some of the more interesting tidbits that have appeared relate to how content from the original Dreamcast game will be handled. Continue reading PSO Episode I & II Will Update and Remix Original Dreamcast Content

PSO Gamecube Trial Won’t Be Broadband Compatible

Sonic Team recently revealed that a trial version of Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II on Gamecube will hit Japanese store shelves in May, but if anyone was hoping for some broadband-speed Rappy-bashing next month they can forget it.
Continue reading PSO Gamecube Trial Won’t Be Broadband Compatible

Final Details for Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II on Gamecube Revealed

You might have read about the GameJam2 festival in Tokyo already, seeings as Sonic Team made a pretty big splash there. But some more details have come from the event, with Sonic Team head Yuji Naka revealing the final details for the Gamecube version of Phantasy Star Online. Continue reading Final Details for Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II on Gamecube Revealed

Phantasy Star Could Be Offline on Gamecube

Sonic Team seems to be doing its best to bring everything it has in its portfolio to Nintendo’s Gamecube, but if Yuji Naka’s words recently are any indication there could be trouble in paradise, with the developer saying that its upcoming port of Phantasy Star Online may not actually come with the… well, ‘Online’ part. Continue reading Phantasy Star Could Be Offline on Gamecube