So that was an unexpected surprise during the XBOX show wasn’t it? I’m not even sure I’m going to be able to put together a cohesive blog post sharing the news and my thoughts/speculations on things, but heck I seem to be in the mood for it so why not? Let’s talk about New Genesis.
Now I will lead this article by saying anything I speculate on is really just my own thoughts. I don’t know much more about this game than anyone else! I’m just some guy that likes to write about this game every so often, I’m not involved in anything official nor have the developers/staff ever reached out to me or anything. I do want this post to be informative as well, however, so I’ll try to keep information and thoughts as clearly separate as I can. To that end, let’s summarize the factual information that we know so far about the game:
So What Actually IS New Genesis?
Is it PSO3? Is it an expansion to PSO2? Well… turns out it’s both.
This video came with a blog post on the official site giving a brief rundown as to what’s what.
It should be noted that as this game is still in development some of these points could change! They make a particular point about this with regard to items that may or may not be transferable.
- New Genesis is a massive update and overhaul to PSO2, both graphically and in terms of gameplay/game systems.
- Unlike PSO2, it supports massive open fields instead of just smaller segmented maps.
- Set 1000 years after the events of Oracle (current PSO2 story), so it takes place in the same universe. We’re still ARKS, even!
- The game is 100% Free to Play with some monetization features. They haven’t said what these are yet.
- The game will co-exist with current PSO2.
- PSO2 will be uplifted with New Genesis. This means it’ll gain the graphics and Character Creation overhauls (though the exact details are sketch)
- PSO2 and New Genesis will have very different game systems. The PSO2 you know will stay the same!
- NGS will be released on all current and future platforms that PSO2 will be on. For NA this means Xbox and Win10, for JP this means this means PC(Win10 by now), PS4 and Switch. PSO2 is still set to arrive on new platforms (strong suspicion that a Steam version is on its way) and they assured us that NGS will follow suit.
- NGS is set for a global release (in both JP and NA). They didn’t say if this meant global servers, however!
- Arks Cash and Stargems are transferable/usable in either game
- FUN, Meseta, Materials and all other currency items are non-transferable.
- Characters and their cosmetics are transferable. You can swap back and forth between either game. Cosmetics includes costumes, hair, lobby actions, accessories, etc.
- Character gear is kind of transferable but will go through substantial changes to fit in with New Genesis’s systems. So stats, potentials, affixes/augments etc will be different to suit the new game. As far as I know the reverse isn’t true? As in gear from NGS may not transfer to PSO2.
- Character progression does not transfer between either game. This means EXP, classes, skills, Photon Arts, anything like that.
- Certain items don’t transfer – Includes things like Skill Rings, furniture, consumables.
- Mags are in, but this time they are cosmetic only. Your current PSO2 mags and their appearances will transfer, but will only have cosmetic function in New Genesis.
- Units are invisible including the ones you transfer.
- High rarity gear transferred from PSO2 may be unequippable initially – Either because they have a level requirement you need to meet first or because the classes that equip them aren’t released yet.
To my understanding that’s all the actual information we currently know. The rest of this post I’m gonna go over my thoughts and speculations so if you were just here for information alone, you’re pretty much done here! We’re about to get way less factual with a mix of the above and some trailer analysis.
Reveal Trailer – My Initial Reaction
So this is the trailer that they dropped during the show. At the time, I was kind of half tuned in so I wasn’t really sure what this Xenoblade Chronicles X looking game even was until I saw the character weapons and the UI popping up….
It dawned on me that this is indeed a Phantasy Star, but it looks completely different to the PSO2 I know so this can’t be an update, right? It has to be PSO3? That’s when the title card dropped.
This is a PSO2 game!? I’m so confused! Is this like a Phantasy Star Nova deal where it’s a side-story?
Anyway so that was more or less my initial reaction. After that video dropped the community kind of exploded and frantically clawed at all sorts of possible explanations as to what exactly it was that we just saw.
Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis will be coming in 2021! PSO2: NGS will surpass Phantasy Star Online 2 in every way, offering players limitless adventure and unparalleled character customization. The game has been redesigned as a best-in-class online action RPG experience!Xbox Youtube channel
So we’d hit up the descriptions on trailer uploads; “newest game in the series”, “surpasses PSO2”, “redesigned”, “massive update”. The terms from official sources were all so confusing, they seemed to contradict each other.
The North American version of PSO2 has only just been released, so the announcement of a sequel so soon caused a bit of an uproar. People had spent real money, afterall! Was PSO2NA just a quick cash grab before they released this game? Because of concerns similar to this I think the developers knew they had to clarify things quickly. The trailer at the top of the post as well as the official blog were released within a day possibly precisely because of these concerns. I’m glad they did that.
The Big Update to PSO2
So back in March, during the PSO2 Station Plus #5 broadcast it was revealed that instead of a new episode later in the year we’d get a major update instead. It was teased with the comical “NOT EPISODE 7” seen above.
Was this referring to New Genesis? Peronsally I’m not sure. Originally it was teased that this’d happen after August but they didn’t specify precisely when, it was kind of implied that it was happening this year.
Now naturally, a certain worldwide event may have delayed that! Perfectly understandable, of course! But see, if this is in fact the update they were referring to the fact its set to have a global simultaneous release presents a bit of an issue. NGS is going to happen after PSO2NA is all caught up to JP, which isn’t scheduled to happen until early next year.
To me, that left two possibilities as to what the “major update” for PSO2JP was going to be:
- NGS is the update.
- This is something different, but it was delayed due to world events
It also made me wonder if the big update for PSO2 was just whatever it is that makes it across from NGS, as in the character creation and graphics system overhauls. That, in principal, could still happen this year on the Japanese servers right?
Well later on we got a more detailed content road-map for the Japanese servers. This added some details for things happening between August and November. After which is a section simply labelled ??? with the (google translated) text “An unprecedented super-sized update that replaces the new Ep[isode]”
So I don’t know. It sure seems like NGS is indeed the major update the developers were being coy about the last three months but there could still be some surprises in store for regular old PSO2.
So I have a few short thoughts on various parts of characters and how they’ll work between the two games…
First off, I’m thrilled that we’re getting a character creation uplift. Particularly with regard to accessories because I know I’ve bumped into the limitations of the current system way more than I’d like. While this does increase the likely-hood of seeing cocks in the lobby, it also means we could see some real interesting creatures and super-sized casts like we’ve never seen before.
The info trailer made sure to proudly announce that finger animation will finally make it to player characters. However, they did also state that older cosmetics could be used in NGS. I don’t expect them to go back and re-rig every single costume they’ve ever done because well, there’s just way too fucking many of them at this point. But the possibility exists that they could…
So costumes, accessories and weapon models will make it over. Cool! But I mean, aren’t they gonna look a little dated in the new engine? The new rendering tech will take some of the edge off them being models made back in 2011 but I still worry a lot of the old stuff is just gonna look out of place and weird in a next-generation game. It’s possible they could just re-export higher resolution models but I don’t expect them to go to that amount of effort somehow… Maybe up-res the textures?
Also how are old cosmetics going to work with the new character models and vice versa? It’s possible they won’t. The info trailer suggests you can “choose which system you prefer”, PSO2’s or NGS’s. To me this could indicate that old cosmetics are incompatible with new character models and new cosmetics in NGS are incompatible with old ones. They don’t show PSO2 Ash wearing NGS clothes nor do they show new Ash wearing PSO2 clothes, so it’s hard to tell.
This also begs a huge question regarding collaboration cosmetics. Those are certainly bound by licensing agreements, so will all of those make it across? Which ones won’t?
I am also deeply amused that it turned out that fashion was the true end-game all along!
On Character Classes
Well the classics are in at the very least. We see a sword user which is presumably a Hunter, a rifle user which is presumably a Ranger and a rod user which is presumably a Force.
They did indicate that transferred gear wouldn’t be usable if their class isn’t released yet. So clearly they’re going to stagger the release of the classes as they did for PSO2 but sound like they’ll all make it across eventually. Will this also apply to Hero, Phantom and Etoile? How the heck is summoner gonna work in this regard? I guess we wait and see.
One part of the trailer also showed the character switching from a Sword to a Rifle. That might just be cutscene magic, but maybe it hints that classes are fundamentally different in NGS? Maybe the classes are more fluid in what they can equip like in PSU? Maybe it’s that there is just some base class that can use those weapons? Maybe it’s something like your weapon determines your class and you can always freely swap? Or maybe its just a demo class for the sakes of the trailer. I don’t know, just speculating.
While MAGs may be gone, Photon Blasts are still with us but now they seem to function more like ultimates that our characters use. Well I mean I guess functionally speaking Photon Blasts were always ultimates? Well either way it’s coming from our character now instead of our mags and also has a cooldown applied to it after use (in this case 2 minutes). Unknown if these will replace class-based ultimates or what of course.
Both the “Ranger” and “Force” demos show a grey icon on their weapon pallets. Force’s looks like some kind of shield, but it’s never used in the demo so no clue what that might do (aside, presumably, some form of protection). The one on the assault rifle meanwhile makes it do some kind of elaborate sliding attack. I wonder if the spinning attack that Sword was using multiple times in the trailer is Sword’s equivalent of one of these moves? They never show an icon for it if so.
I’m not entirely sure what the special function of these actions are, all I can tell is they don’t use PP and they don’t appear to have charging or cooldown mechanics applied to them?
So it’s definitely different but also when you look at it pretty closely it’s still largely the same game we know. The action is more or less happening at the same pace, its using the same kinds of attacks we know (although clearly with significant modifications). More or less, it feels like they took the lessons they learned with the later classes in PSO2 and applied them to the older ones.
There is however a completely different sense of scale in NGS – not just due to the size of the map, but the sizes of the enemies they showed and the much greater verticality present in the game.
The game boasts a day/night cycle and even evidently provides an in-game clock to let you track it. The red tick appears to be the current time, the icon in the middle might indicate the weather (though its only ever sun/moon in the footage I’ve seen) and the yellow portion of the bar indicates when it’s day time. Exactly what impact day/night and weather will have on gameplay or if its just for immersion purposes isn’t clear.
While the maps are open, much more open looking than PSO2’s, it doesn’t seem like the game is as open as the likes of FF14 or WoW. There’s a pair of numbers in the top-left corner of the radar. It’s always x/4 in the shots I’ve seen. The x appears to indicate the number of players around, with it turning orange at 8. In PSO2, that number turning orange indicates that the Multi-party is full. That to me says the game is still instanced, so these large fields probably work more like Guild Wars and Monster Hunter World than World of Warcraft. It could also be tied to the encounters themselves of course.
As for the number on the right? I’m not sure. At first I thought it was the number of people in your party (making the number MPA/Party) but it seems to always be 4 even when the player is solo. It could be that this is just an indicator for the maximum party size or it could have some other meaning.
Honestly? I’d prefer it to be instanced for various reasons but I’m not against the idea of it being truly open either. I’m also fine with them reducing the MPA size from 12 to 8, cause it should result in slightly better scaling/balancing. Basically an issue PSO2’s had since the start is it’s hard to balance things for the widely varying firepower that 1-12 people can bring to an instance. The more people you add in a game like this as well, the less of an impact an individual player feels like they have which has soured many a quest for me. So if reducing the cap from 12 to 8 reduces the amount of times I have a strong feeling of “why am I even here” then it’s definitely for the better.
I also hope this isn’t the end of corridor dungeon crawling because for me thats where some of the most fun content is in PSO2. The hand-crafted dungeons anyway, not the random MPA run-in-circle murder trains.
They’re big, they’re glowy, they’re stretchy. Not an enemy type we haven’t seen before in the series by any measure.
They’re called “DOLLS” as if the Xenoblade comparisons didn’t need more fuel and they seem to be NGS’s main antagonistic force akin to Darkers/Falspawn in PSO2, SEED in PSU and D-Cell monsters in PSO.
They don’t actually show us many enemies but they do only show big ones which makes me wonder if the emphasis is on larger encounters rather than waves of lesser monsters like in PSO2. It could also just be that those were the only ones they wanted to demonstrate (the original PSO2 trailer focused pretty heavily on Dark Ragne). They did show some endemic life, so I’m sure we’ll be murdering some of those too!
It seems like every DOLL shown so far has a calm and enraged state, incidated by the color of their er, jelly parts? Nagrus above gets considerably more swole when red but it seems like all “enraged” DOLLS may gain new attacks in this state.
At least they’re keeping enemy names short and sweet, so I guess they learned from their mistakes in Episode 3.
This last paragraph is mostly for fun. I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between how some DOLLS look and the SEED and Stateria from Phantasy Star Universe. Does this mean there’s a connection between PSO2 and PSU? Of course it doesn’t. I’m pretty sure all it means is the same designers from PSU are still working for the team.
True adventure starts now (in 2021)!
It almost feels like the PSO2 developers played Xenoblade Chronicles X one day and were like “Man remember when we wanted to make PSO2 like this? Maybe we should do that..”.
So it’s a sequel but it’s also not a sequel and monetization currencies count in both games. I’m not sure how to feel about it being a kind of non-committal version of PSO3 but I’m still on board for now. It’s a little concerning that it seems like a kind of “have their cake and eat it” sort of deal I guess.
I still think NGS looks like it could be really good! After playing Monster Hunter World I tended to feel like that was a game which got Free Fields “right” where PSO2 didn’t. Similarly, a friend of mine was hoping for PSO2 to be more like Xenoblade and it looks like we both may have gotten our wishes. Of course we don’t know if our ideas for dream versions of PSO2 will be as fun as we imagined but…
Some of that is just gonna depend on how well they pull off the function of an open world. Is it going to feel good to move around in? Will it have enough things to do to justify the size of the maps or will it feel barren?
There’s plenty of remaining questions concerning the itty gritty of what transfers between the games and what overall impact this is going to have on PSO2 moving forward. Is that it for new PSO2 stuff or is it also going to get an Episode 7 anyway?
Some stuff I’d like to see
While it’s indicated that all of PSO2’s classes may make it across (though how exactly Summoner is gonna work is a huge question) I kind of want to see them come up with new classes and weapon types all the same. There’s a few weapon types from PSO and classic PS that they still haven’t done in PSO2, like claws, slicers, handguns, shotguns, whips, the piles and halos from Nova, sabers and possibly other things I’m forgetting. With the exception of slicers and shotguns (mostly), most other types got re-imagined into other weapon types which is mostly fine as PSU’s large array of weapons resulted in a lot of redundancy. That said, it’s an area they could expand into and definitely something I’d like to see them do.
Other major things I’d like to see them do is to abolish the server structure they have in PSO2, or at least limit the old lobby system to just the social lobbies and have everything else act a bit like their PVP matchmaking system.
I’d also like to see them finally add a re-join match feature so that disconnecting randomly isn’t so devasting!
Also no more Urgent Quests. I hate them.Make the game worth playing and progress-able at all times rather than randomly selected half-hour segments of the day. God do I love putting together a group to run specific content only to have the group fall apart to a UQ announcement because there;s no way to complete what we want to do before it starts… Admittedly this will create a design/incentivization issue if they want to do raids in NGS and honestly for that I don’t have a good answer. I liked the way FF14 handled it that’s about all I can say.
There’s probably other things I wanted to say that I’ve forgotten about but this blog post is far too large as it is. If additional things come up that I can’t just summarize in a twitter post then I’ll do then in future blogposts. I anticipate we’ll hear a few more tidbits about NGS in the upcoming August 7th PSO2 Station.
Also who is gonna be the great great great…. great great grandson of Dudu?