Satoshi Sakai on PSBlog and Bonkohara on the PSO2 Facebook Page posted a selection of characters created by people who attended the Akihabara Games Festa 2011. A gallery of them will be at the bottom of this post.
A couple of things to note before that, though.
Alpha Test 2 Signup
First off, the signup period for the 2nd Alpha test is over, so I’m afraid if you haven’t applied you are now too late.
Non Disclosure Agreement
You remember the non-disclosure agreement in the first alpha test? That same one that means a bunch of the images in my older posts are missing? Well seems this time things will be different. Users will be allowed to post images as well as videos, but there apparently will be some kind of limitations. I assume Sakai will go into detail at some point.
Drop Icon Change
Drop icons have been changed slightly. Now, as well as their icon representing the item type, the icon will also be colour coded. Neat touch I guess.
Incidentally PSO fans need not panic, because their beloved red box will be making a return.
Characters of Akihabara 2011
Right, finally then, a gallery of the characters posted up on PSBlog and Facebook. Enjoy!
Well not really about you. No one cares about you, sorry. This lengthy entry will be recapping the entire year’s worth of PSO2 news and announcements.
We’ve come a long way this year, all starting with the initial announcement of PSO2 in September 2010 where all we got was a picture of the PSO2 logo and a trailer which told us, well, that it exists.
Yes! PSO2 exists! Sonic Team were indeed working on something beyond PSU,
somewhat confirming our suspicions that a lot of the features added towards the end of PSU’s lifetime were in fact experiments for features they planned to use in some kind of sequel.
Well while the video didn’t go into much detail, it did drop quite a few buzzwords out there, among the more interesting ones being:
Oh exciting! Remember when PSO had global support? You do? I don’t cause I didn’t join PSO until Blue Burst, but I can imagine the excitement PSO veterans had when seeing this. So what do they mean by “Global Support” this time? Well as of yet, we still don’t know.
To get this out of the way early on, there is still no word on exactly what they mean by global support but here’s some things to consider: First, there has still been no word from Sega of America about the game. Second, there has been no word on a release of the game outside of Japan (despite Sakai’s trip to Korea). Hope is not lost, but unless we hear otherwise this game could well be a Japan exclusive.
Thorough racial balances
Yeah I’ll believe this when I see it. I’m not going to spend too much time talking about the complete joke that is the racial balance in PSU, but trust me there’s good reason to be cynical about them delivering on this. Well, to be fair there’s decent reasons to be cynical about a lot of the things Sega says.
Wait, Arkz? That’s those chaps from PSO:Episode 3! That crappy card game that no one played! Yeah it was later confirmed that there is no canonical link between the groups, they just happen to have exactly the same name. To remind you, the Arks in PSO2 are like the Hunter’s Guild of PSO and the Guardians of PSU. They’re the faction your character belongs to.
Curiously, shortly after announcing the game, they also posted a job advert listing 3 available positions. This raised some eyebrows given that they had been allegedly working on the game for some time as they seemed to be relatively important positions to be empty.
After this initial announcement, there was nothing. Quite a whole lot of nothing, in fact. Sakai even stated that we shouldn’t expect much and he delivered! Sega are quite professional at delivering nothing.
So we come to the beginning of this year. Shougai PSO posted about the setting and development of the game. It was here we learned that PSO2 will not be taking place on Ragol although there may still be loose ties to previous planets. Also Sakai said to expect some kind of announcement in April, which brings us to…
Wait, that’s not April! How observant of you. This was the month where the first alpha tests were announced to be beginning in the summer. Entries would be determined by a lottery. How do you enter this prestigious lottery? You need to either have been a player on the Japanese PSO:BB servers or have bought a copy of Phantasy Star Portable 2: Infinity. Or just be subscribed to PSU on certain dates. Oh yeah and you also must be a Japanese resident.
Hey, this is April! Your observational skills astound me yet again. And Sakai made good on his promises, as on the 24th a new trailer and a bunch of screenshots had been unveiled.
This was the first time we’d seen anything. Concept art, in-game screenshots? You name it, we didn’t have it. Well ok we had the logo. It was also the first time we heard any of the in-game music. So we went from nothing, to suddenly being bombarded with imagery, not all of it particularly flattering, such as those nasty ground textures. But hey, we can jump!
July 2011 – August 2011
July was the month in which this blog was born! Hurray! It was in these months that we ___, as well as a selection of _______ featuring _____, but we wouldn’t really know what they meant until _____!
Yeah the PSO2 newsletters took on a unique style to try to tease the fans with information. They seem to have dropped this tactic recently.
This was also the time in which the PSO2 Media Briefing took place, which can be summarised by the image below. It was the first time we got to see the character creation in action and honestly I was impressed by it. This is coming from a guy who used to play Aion, the character creator in PSO2 is honestly an impressive piece of work and I’m sure its flexibility will be demonstrated when Sakai shows off the characters created at Akihabara. Until then, enjoy some character creation.
Character creation wasn’t the only thing revealed, in fact a whole lot of stuff was revealed. We had “Photon Sensitive Effect”, a bunch of race/class concept art, equipped units affecting your appearance, large party areas (think raids but not raids), random interrupt events during runs, “Jump Action”. Actually speaking of that last point, a new trailer was revealed during this time.
Still for Windows PC, you’ll note.
So we now knew the three races of PSO2: Human, Newman and CAST. No Beasts!
This time period also gave birth to the PSO2 Facebook page, on which Bonkohara even posted in English to show appreciation for their foreign fans.
Ah yes, it was about this time when dirty cheaters got their hands on the alpha client and laid waste to the community by looking at the data in the files. Much harm was done. A PSO2 developer even caught wind of it and shared their disapproval about it on their twitter, which Shougai noticed.
Nothing tremendously harmful was even found, really. Planet names, the existence of Dark Falz, Technic names, the same word censor list that was in PSU. Guild functionality was also unearthed in the game’s strings.
To celebrate the end of the alpha tests, or perhaps just another excuse for Sakai to get in front of the camera, a series of three videos were released which talked about various aspects of the Alpha test. The “Special Internet Program”, which can be found here, showed us a number of things we otherwise weren’t allowed to show due to the NDA. As such it was the first official time in which we saw the volcano planet Amduscia, the Vol Dragon being fought and various other things.
Tokyo Games Show 2011
We didn’t have to wait long for potentially new information to come out after those videos, for the Tokyo Game Show was around the corner. PSO2 was present and playable at the show and two presentations were given. Sadly, not a whole lot of new information was actually announced and it was more like a further demonstration of the things we’d already seen. One of the things that was new however was a trailer, which also showed off a new area set in a ruined city.
Alpha Test Results
Thanks to EspioKaos for the translations.
Yeah there were a bunch of graphs that were posted towards the end of September, showing off various statistics of the Alpha Test playerbase. The short version is everyone wants to be a girl.
The 2nd Alpha test was announced! And that was pretty much it for October. The only other thing that was mentioned, I really do mean just mentioned, were MAGs. A solitary picture and the briefest of information was given on sega’s newly created blog for most things PSO2.
About as thin as October in terms of news. We learned more about PSO2’s setting, however!
To recap, your character is a member of the Arks, who live on the Arks ship! You’ll be exploring various planets because why not and the universe seems to be infested with critters known as “Darkers” which you’re also gonna have to do something about.
Towards the end of this month, new character outfits were also revealed which filled in the remaining race/class types, with perhaps the exception of RAnewm and RAnewearl.
Contrary to the previous months, a fair amount was announced. To start off, CAST face morphing was revealed as well as CAST boob morphing. CAST morphing all around, in fact! So yes, as a CAST you won’t be denying yourself the creative flexibility that the meatier races are granted, which is nice to know. Much of this month was dedicated to discussing things which would maybe appear in the 2nd alpha tests. The “My Room” feature was revealed, which is a customisable abode for your character. MAGs were talked about in slightly more detail, revealing that you could feed them which would cause things to happen. Revealing. And finally the item lab which revealed you can still punish yourself by trying to grind weapons, although it’s not as punishing as it used to be in Phantasy Star Universe. Finishing off December, PSO2 was at the Akihabara Games Festa 2011. During which, I stayed up to ungodly hours on the 23rd to catch a pair of presentations. We did actually get to see some new things, however, including the PSO2 opening movie.
Aside that were some brief details about what would take place during the 2nd alpha, as well as showing off the item labs and newer features of the character creation (paying particular attention to the new CAST morphers).
So that’s the timeline of PSO2 happenings this year. A couple of noisy periods sandwiched by times where a whole lot of nothing happened.
Recap of the Major Features
To recap what the major features are (please feel free to message me if you think anything else needs to be included)
* PSO2 is Windows PC ONLY. There are no plans to release a console version.
The three races are: Human, Newman and CAST. There are no beasts
Clothing is NOT attached to class or race.
All races can use morphers to customise their appearance
Any race can be any class
The three classes are Hunter, Ranger and Force. There are no advanced classes.
Character levelling is done through class levels.
MAGs are in
Customisable rooms are in
Item grinding (more than weapons this time) and item fusion are in
Player shops are in (and are accessible outside of rooms this time)
Missions are accessed from a singular counter like in PSO, rather than multiple like in PSU
Missions can be interrupted by random events
Bosses can be fought both in and out of arenas
Alpha Test 2
The 2nd Alpha test is set to take place some time in early 2012, with the registration period ending on the 17th of January. The details can be found elsewhere, but I’d like to finish this post with information about what will and what will not be included in the tests.
What is in:
All features of the last alpha test
New character models and CAST morphers
What is NOT in:
The city area shown in trailers
Towards the Future And so ends the longest post I’ve written for this blog. I hope it’s helped put this year of PSO2 information into perspective. Who knows what information will be revealed in the coming months, with the 2nd alpha client on the horizon as well as the closed beta tests having been announced. Never mind that the game it scheduled to release in 2012, so somewhere in there, I assume, is an open beta. Will foreigners be allowed into it? Probably not, but I still think that even if the game is only released in Japan that they won’t mind foreign players on it.
Finally, happy new year!
Sources: PSUpedia, Bumped, Shougai, PSO2 Official Blog. PSUmods
Thank you all for your continued effort!
Sakai updated the official PSO2 blog today with information, in particular revealing the Vision Phone. It essentially serves the same purpose as the Vision Phone in Phantasy Star Universe did, allowing you to seach for shops and access other players rooms (among other things), however this time the device exists outside of your room as well. It can be accessed at various places in the lobbies, allowing players to search for other players as well as access to “My Shop”. My Shop is as it sounds, it’s your shop! It’s a feature that arrived in Phantasy Star Universe (and was greatly improved upon in the expansion, Ambitions of the Illuminus). Consider it like the auction house feature that other MMOs have, only there are no charges for listing items and it’s not limited to each individual server. I’m liking the sound of being able to access shop features without having to disappear off to my room. What would be nice is if you could also buy the items without having to go to the seller’s room, pretty much anything that makes buying and selling in game items more conveniant is welcome.
The other feature is “Arks Search”, which will let you perform the various functions you could do with the party menu in PSU (which you could access anywhere), but now also lets you search for players and send friend requests to them. Given that the only way to befriend players in PSU was to arrange to meet them in person this is a welcome sight, but does leave the potential to be bombarded with spam requests. You can also go to your room via the terminal, serving the same purpose as the Universe Cubes did in PSU
The Vision Phone will be available to players in the 2nd Alpha Test.
Characters of Akihabara
Remember when Sakai said that he’d be showcasing the characters people would create at Akihabara? Well he’s selecting them now, so he says. You can see a selection of them in microvision below. I hope the attendees did me proud. Bring on the freaks!
January 2012 Calendar
As that header may well imply, here is the calendar/wallpaper for January 2012.
Showed character creation, with emphasis on the new CAST morphers
Showed the two new trailers again
No Santa :(
Well of particular suprise to me was with CAST customisation. It turns out they can actually choose from a wide selection of colours for their skin this time around, even on their morphable faces. Sadly the images I shot of a green faced CAST got lost in GIMP, sorry.. A bigger bit of bad news is that there is still no word at all on an international release.
Now the bulk of this post is going to be an image gallery, which I’m afraid won’t be all that informative to you unless you understand Japanese (and I can’t help you there as I don’t know a single word of it). Even if you do know Japanese, reading some of the text may be difficult, as again it is shots taken from a live stream. I hope some of these images are helpful, if not at least fun enough to look at!
Well this will mostly be pictures I captured from the stream, but to summarize as best as I can, the first presentation contained the following:
A brief recap on the new features of the 2nd Alpha test, including cast morphing
Two brand new trailers. The complete opening movie and a gameplay trailer.
The same orchestra from PSO will be doing music for PSO2
Maximum class level in the 2nd Alpha Test will be 10.
Closed Beta was announced, but no date was given as far as I know.
I have to say, I enjoyed what I saw. We got to see some genuinely new videos, both of which I really can’t wait for someone to upload to Youtube so I share here. Also, not once did they make a fuss about the boob sliders, though they still have the 2nd presentation in an hour’s time to do that!
And now an image gallery! Take into account these are screenshots from a live video stream, so there will be quality issues with them
Bonkohara posted a tweet linking to PSO2’s PCFesta page on their official site. It’s detailing what will happen during the show and PSO2’s presentation, which will be on the 24th of December. The presentation will be streamed live! Dare I stay up til goodness knows when, fervently waiting for new information just to end up with Sakai demonstrating the boob slider once again?
People at the Akihabara Game Festa will be able to play! And by play I mean just create characters which will then be displayed on the official site later on. To those there, however unlikely it is you will ever read this; Make me proud. Make some real freaks.
The times for the presentations will be 14:00 JST and 16:00 JST (5am and 7am GMT on the 24th) and will be streamed live here on Ustream. The Akibahara Game Festival 2011 schedule can be found here.