The series comes home to Xbox once again
Once upon a time Phantasy Star Online was, in part, synonymous with the Xbox platform.
Back when it wasn’t so easy to get online on every console, Xbox Live was there to shoulder the weight: so long as you were willing to pay for both Xbox Live Gold and for Sega’s “Hunt Pass” to play PSO on the original Xbox. I did, gladly. So did countless others.
And for seven long years we’ve been waiting for Sega to announce a localization of Phantasy Star Online 2, which happened today thanks to Microsoft. This totally would have been a Sony thing to do during their conference given that PSO 2 has been out on Vita since 2013 and PS4 since 2016. But Sony isn’t at E3 this year.
Instead, the madmen at MS pulled it off. The free-to-play Phantasy Star Online 2 is coming to PC and Xbox One in 2020 with cross-play. Mic drop.
Feast your eyes on this bad boy right here. That’s a trailer for the “western version of Phantasy Star Online 2.” Now enhance that image. Enhance. Girl that video’s from 2012!
Yes, Sega has sat on their hands for seven years regarding the fate of PSO 2 in the west, while they celebrate with lavish Japanese-only events like Attack on Titan invasions, Sonic-themed lobbies, and even Muv-Luv collaborations. Sega really went all-out for PSO 2 over in their home region of Japan, and over the course of nearly a decade, Sega would port PSO 2 from the PC to the Vita, to the PS4, to the Switch (cloud edition), and even mobile platforms. It was on basically everything…it just wasn’t localized. To remedy this, let’s say, “oversight,” fans took it upon themselves to release unofficial PC launchers that essentially soft localized the game so that everyone could play it.
But that data is housed in regional servers (a few people I’ve spoken to have lost access to their accounts) and not everyone is going to want to go through that amount of effort (especially if they don’t want play it on PC) to actually play it. So fans waited. And waited. And gave up. I even asked a Sega developer at TGS when previewing PSO 2 on PS4 (which was lovely by the way) if it was going to happen and he remained stone-faced (what a champion, never broke character).
So here’s the good news. It’s coming west as of today. Confirmation, check! Second, this doesn’t seem to be a half-assed port, as “all content” is being teased with this western edition (read: up to “Chapter/Season 6”). Check! The bad news? Right now it’s just confirmed as an Xbox console exclusive. The word “Xbox exclusive” in any format is enough to piss people off, and Sega knows what’s up as they closed the comments for the official E3 trailer. Hell, Sega is currently sorting out issues in the Europe, Middle-East, and Africa regions, so “west” is a bit of a misnomer, as PSO 2 is currently only confirmed for North America at the moment.
But still, after all this time, a win is a win. We got our wish, and this could open the door for more platforms in the future. Spring 2020 it is.