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  1. #1
    A Good Read >>>
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Parts Unknown



    Sega Talks GameCube RPG
    Reported By Jeff Williams

    While Sonic Team director Yuji Naka is widely accredited with developing Phantasy Star Online, the GameCube incarnation of his popular RPG is being overseen by Shintaro Hata. Recently shown in playable form at last month's E3 Expo, Hata-san went on record with Dengeki to discuss new features in the GameCube version.

    Dengeki: What's the current state of development for Phantasy Star Online on GameCube?

    Hata-san: We've begun the beta testing process, so just about everything is finished. For this version we're allowing testers to have an extensive run-through of the game. Following the testing phrase, we'll take their opinions into consideration and make any necessary changes.

    Dengeki: Can you tell us what we can expect in the trial version?

    Hata-san: Story-wise, players will be able to progress roughly halfway through each of the episodes. Players will be able to begin playing from either Episode I or II, although we've imposed a level limit because we want them to play as different character classes. Unlike the Dreamcast, the Gamecube's memory capacity allows for each player to save up to four characters. This means that players can experiment with playing new classes of characters.

    Dengeki: Tell us about the new characters..

    Hata-san: We examined the previous versions of the game and decided to include nine classes of characters in the GameCube incarnation, including three new character types. We also went and rescaled the abilities of each character type. Hunters may have been dominant before, but now all characters are more balanced, resulting in more satisfying gameplay.

    Dengeki: Were there any other character-related changes?

    Hata-san: We've instituted a number of changes regarding the character creation process. I'd imagine players could enjoy spending an hour just remodeling their characters. We've taken many player requests into consideration for the GameCube version. For example, people criticized the fact that most of the characters were all young in previous versions. So we've added an 'aged/elderly' option to the character building system. Things like that broaden the horizons of gameplay for the player.

    Dengeki: Aside from the character system, the game itself has been drastically expanded also, right?

    Hata-san: Yes, we received a wealth of feedback from players expressing an interest in new levels. We took that into consideration and there are several new stages available in the GameCube version.

    Dengeki: What did you take into consideration when developing these new levels?

    Hata-san: We considered the GameCube's power, and what things we could do within the new operating parameters. The process involved everyone on the team randomly tossing out ideas. One member said, "The GameCube excels at rendering liquid/water graphics," so we began designing an appropriate stage. As designers, we're always trying to push ourselves to explore areas which were previously impossible due to technical limitations. So if we had a scene in the mountains, we'd want to have higher peaks and lower valleys in the new version. It's not just adding height and depth, but giving players the perspective as though they're in the game. For example, having enemies attack in an enclosed area, and then have players explore a wide clearing with a breathtaking view. Situations like that served as our inspiration for the new stages.

    Dengeki: Would you say the new stages are the focus of the GameCube version?

    Hata-san: Our main objective was to design a quality four-player cooperative game with stresses on teamwork. Since PSO allows players to return to previously played levels, we're designing levels that players will want to replay over and over again.

    Dengeki: What are some of the challenges of the new stages?

    Hata-san: Compared to Episode I, the gameplay in Episode II is slightly more difficult so we hope players will experience the game in progressive order. However, a novice player could do well if teamed up with a group of experienced teammates. In terms of story, the episodes are evenly divided. However, they're not wholly unrelated, particularly because they share some of the same settings. As Episode II occurs slightly after Episode I, some elements of the story overlap subtly.

    Dengeki: Are there any new items in the GameCube version?

    Hata-san: Of course, numerous items have been added, particularly in the realm of weapons [GhoStar - WOOOHOOOO!; and notice he said "new" weapons, and not re-makes or remade old weapons]. We thought about the new character types and kept them in mind when designing new items. For example, what weapon suits a Hunter? We hope faithful players of the series will look for these new items in the finished version.

    Dengeki: What about the offline play mode?

    Hata-san: We're dealing with a new console, and that means that we have a new group of players whom we want to enjoy the game to its fullest potential. So with a four-player offline mode, they won't miss out if they don't have an Internet connection. Of course, after experiencing what PSO offers we'd like them to play online. Online games have an intimidating and sometimes negative reputation, but PSO is a net game that anyone can play. I hope people try the game out, because the online play can also help people learn more about the Internet.

    Dengeki: What about new play modes? We've heard about a special challenge mode?

    Hata-san: The trial version will feature only one challenge in the 'challenge mode.' Likewise, the special 'battle mode' will have only one battle. Those modes will be expanded upon considerably in the finished version.

    Dengeki: Any final words for our readers?

    Hata-san: To players of the Dreamcast versions of PSO, let me say: Utilizing the GameCube's power we have made a number of modifications that reflect your wishes for improved gameplay. [GhoStar - and for that, I thank you] For those who haven't played PSO before: This is a huge game, and I hope you enjoy exploring every aspect of PSO Episode I & II.
    Good stuff - do I get some frontpage-acknowledgement!?!

    Oh, and 4 saves per card gauran-damn-teed! from the project leader himself!

    EDIT: Highlighted the good stuff. My anticipation for this game just this second broke new grounds. August 8th can't come soon enough!

    EDIT 2: More suiting title added.

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: GhoStar on 2002-06-10 17:05 ]</font>

  2. #2


    yep awesome interview, thanks a lot looks like GC PSO will be a lot more than just a port #_#

  3. #3
    Entered the World of PSO Jan 2001
    Join Date
    Jun 2002


    Nice interview. Thanks GhoStar.

  4. #4


    -applauses- Thanks for that great information! Some of it I already knew but it really is assuring to hear it officially.

  5. #5
    Saiyan Grand Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2002


    You are the man!! I like that age thing, and that every class will be more distinguished.

  6. #6


    GhoStar, thank you very much. More balanced. Maybe the rangers and forces won't get screwed this time, and that just gives me more reason to try one of them.

  7. #7
    Veteran Fighter
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    A small cage lined with wood chips.


    Keke, I like age thingy too. Let's see...a HUmar with a long white beard, a 7 year old FOmar...the possibilities are endless!

    The fact that both offline Multiplayer and Online modes have been officially confirmed...well...makes me that much happier!

  8. #8


    A rusted aged Cube - Cube's DAD! Man, that is so tight.............

  9. #9


    Very nice post

    This answers a lot of questions, but it also gives you that I want to know more feeling.

  10. #10
    Mercenary for Hire
    Join Date
    Apr 2001


    Hehe..i was just coming over to post this....good stuff man and thanks.

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