PSO2 Concept Movie: JUMP ACTION!

This is a new gameplay trailer that was shown during the media briefing.

We get yet another brief look at “Large Party Areas”, which is where 12 players can do the same missions. Raids? Perhaps. Hopefully we’ll hear more of this feature soon. I also rather hope they fix whatever is going on with the glitchy animations present on his team-mates.

It’s nice to see that jumping actually has a use beyond, you know, just being able to jump. Looks like you’ll actually need it to navigate some of the terrain, which is good as this is more environmental interaction than we were privileged to have in PSU (which had less environmental interaction than PSO did).

New Screenshots and FOnewearl Art

A few new screen-shots have been released on PSO2’s official site.

Ye see a FLASK

The “Photon Sensitive Effect” (PSE) pictured here is a temporary boost you can trigger. I’ll go into more detail about those in a separate post.

What we also see here for the first time is item drops. Unsurprisingly they’ve stuck with the style of the older games, but the actual graphics are now quite different. Well except for meseta. In particular, note the weapon drop graphic. I wonder if that will end up being the general weapon drop icon or if it only represents swords, or perhaps just that particular sword. Won’t know until more drops are seen in screenshots or they say, I guess.
A disc can be seen on the floor, which I presume is a photon art disc, so it certainly seems that drops will have a wider variety of graphics this time around. There also seems to be a hot drink flask.

Another thing that’s nice to see is the Caseal class choice section of the character creator, which was the only race/gender combo they managed to skip in the media briefing (well male Newmans were on screen for only a fraction of a second, but no one cares about male Newmans).

A new piece of concept art for FOnewearls has been released as well. Yeah you saw this one previously in the magazine scan but here she is in her complete, er, glory.

I can’t say I’m a fan of this, but then I never really liked FOnewearls much. Also note how they designed the underwear despite the outfit not showing them at all. You can find this on the PSO2 facebook page.

PSO2 Media Briefing on Youtube

Here are some Youtube videos of the entire PSO2 Media briefing. I’ll be discussing various elements of this video in separate posts. If you can’t understand Japanese, worry not, for there are plenty of pretty pictures.

Kudos to Youtube user psobb12 for taking the time to upload this.

Some thoughts I will share here is that I am very satisfied with how the character creator looks. I was expecting Phantasy Star Universe with a few more sliders but I got a considerable amount more. It’s Aion level creation, perhaps a bit beyond in some respects. Something else that is particularly pleasing to see is that race and class combo will not lock you into any one appearance, which is something I really disliked about PSO, was glad that PSU dropped and was worried that Sonic Team might fall back on it to appease the rampant PSO nostalgia. Along with this, it’s also nice to see that there are no restrictions on what class certain race/gender combos can be.

PSO2 Official Facebook Page

If you’re not already aware, PSO2 has an official Facebook page right here:

One interesting post was pointed out in the #psu IRC chatroom by member Vashyron. An English speaking fan told the PSO2 to announce a US release! They responded with “we will try!”.

Hm. Not exactly brimming with confidence from this, but that they’re responding at all in English is somewhat comforting I guess.

Units = Appearance

Units are items that you can equip or slot into armor, it has some vague similarity to gemming in World of Warcraft. However, you don’t have multiple armor pieces. Instead you just have “Armor” and that armor can have a differing number of slots to equip units into. Slotting also doesnt consume units and you can slot, unslot and swap units about all you like.

In PSO and Phantasy Star Portable 2, there were no unit-type restrictions (except for on special ability units in PSP2). In PSU, unit types were introduced so units could only be slotted into armor which had matching slots. In all these, units were slotted into armor. Well now, in PSO2, things seem to be quite different.

A Human hunter, equipped with units

It seems now that you actually slot units into your outfit rather than your armor. There are different unit slots (arms, back, legs) but it’s not known if there will be restrictions on what unit you can slot where. Nor if some outfits might actually have no slots in certain places, which if there were also restrictions would be incredibly bad news for anyone who’s particular about their character’s appearance. For example; you are a techer, you need an arm unit that has a TP boost that only goes in an arm slot but your outfit (which is a damn snazzy lookin outfit for your character) doesnt have one.

A female CAST wearing units
From behind!

Another thing that’s new is that high-level units will now affect your appearance, too. Wether the actual visual effects will be per-costume or regardless of costume is not known, but again it could be bad news for people who care a lot about appearance. Say you’re that Force again, you need a TP unit but it has a graphic that utterly clashes with your outfit/color scheme. Again you’re sacrificing appearance for stats. If the appearance is unique to a given costume of course this won’t be an issue. The screenshots seem to suggest that this is the case, in particular as the units appear to all match their respective character’s color scheme, but then if you don’t want your character with bulkier parts attached to them then it seems like you’re out of luck.

Looking sharp!

So it would seem that gear changes your appearance, which is a first for a Phantasy Star online game (well if you don’t count weapons and mags in the field). The good side of this is now you can show off your gear in public, which is something you couldn’t really do before. In particular to show off the more difficult to aquire equipment. However, the down side is you may end up having to look like a clown (albeit a sharp pointy metal clown) just to have decent stats. Plus you have the issue that many mmos have where all gear determines appearance, where you have “best-in-slot” or optimal items which everyone will gravitate towards, meaning every character ultimately ends up wearing the same outfits. I somehow doubt that PSO2 will have this problem, but it could have appearance clashing issues if they’re not careful with how they handle this.

Rumourmill – Global Servers

Starting with an easy one. “Global Support” was a phrase that came up during the initial press release for PSO2 at the Tokyo Game Show. One of the initial teaser trailers for PSO2 also had English text in it. This has lead people to speculate that this not only means that an English release is going to happen but that also the servers will be global, as in all PSO2 players will be playing to the same schedule and can access the same servers, as people used to be able to with the Dreamcast version of PSO. 

Real or Rumour? 

As of yet, nothing has actually confirmed wether or not the servers will be regionally split. In fact a western release hasn’t even been announced, nor has there been much of a fuss on Sega of America’s side about PSO2 in general. That said, it’s too early to disregard the possibility of a western release, but I have a feeling that global servers in the way a lot of people interpreted the phrase from the trailer will not come to be.

What we Know

As far as servers go, from the media briefing we know that there will be “World Servers” and that these will operate much in the same way as entrances did for PSU JP. For those outside the Phantasy Star franchise, think seperate realm servers on games like World of Warcraft or Aion, but not like district servers in Guild Wars. The characters you create on a particular world server can only interact with other characters on the same world server, so much like most mmos you will need to decide with your friends which servers to create characters on or else you won’t be able to play with each other. Not without having to create characters from scratch. Sakai has stated that he’s thinking about allowing character transfers but I anticipate that, like World of Warcraft, it will come with a price on the user.

As it is, I somehow doubt that the servers will be truly global, but as it is there is no information to suggest for sure either way. For now, this remains a rumour. As for “Global support” or “Global development”, if that’s referring to a synchronized content schedule for multiple regions of the game then we’ve heard that one before.

New Race/Class Concept Art

Some new concept art has been revealed in an uploaded magazine scan.

From left to right we have male Newman Hunter (HUnewm), male Newman Force (FOnewm), female Newman Force (FOnewearl), female CAST Force (FOcaseal) and male CAST Force (FOcast). The classes that were present in PSO are very clearly based on their old selves.

Looks like Caseals, or female CASTS, will get the choice of fleshy faces at least. Male casts are completely mecha in all screens and videos featuring them, so far. Personally I really like the look of them. Not a fan of the male Newman Hunter there (cool suit, but he looks like a GIRL) but who cares about male Newmans anyway. If you do, you shouldn’t.

Their designs are a bit busy, perhaps, but I’m glad that they didn’t continue in the direction that the artwork the PSU franchise went in, which seemed to get increasingly moe as time went by.