| E3 Interview with Takao Miyoshi, Producer of Phantasy Star Universe
by Tomeeboy (Interview by Tomeeboy & Gideon, Editing by Ryna) - May 17, 2006
|The E3 Expo for 2006 may have gone by in a flash, but we were able to score a great interview with Phantasy Star Universe producer Takao Miyoshi before they started rolling up the red carpet and prying plasma screens off the walls at the L.A. Convention Center. Miyoshi-san had some great input for us and we made very good use of a number of questions which were submitted right here in our forums by PSOW members. While there isn't a whole lot left to learn about the core features of PSU, we did get some insight into Miyoshi-san's plans for the Phantasy Star franchise and even learned a few new things about the game itself and the ideas behind it. Read on to see our full, exclusive interview with Takao Miyoshi at E3 2006!|
|Q & A with Takao Miyoshi|
PSOW: Unlike PSO, Phantasy Star Universe is going to have a large, story-driven offline RPG component that is separate from the massive online component. Is this your way of providing the best of both worlds to fans of the original Phantasy Star RPG series, as well as fans of the more recent Phantasy Star Online series?
PSOW: As a game designer, would you like to steer the franchise further towards an offline, epic story-driven game, or do you feel that the perfect balance between offline and online play has been struck with Phantasy Star Universe?
PSOW: In a way, is Phantasy Star Universe the realization of what you wanted Phantasy Star Online to be, in terms of completeness in offline and online modes?
PSOW: There are a number of new features that have been introduced in Phantasy Star Universe. It's a much larger game and there is a lot going on in it. One of the new features will be adventuring in story mode and extra mode with AI-controlled NPC allies. Is there currently any feature that allows you to customize the behavior and tactics used by these NPCs?
A variety of allies will join you in your offline adventures.
PSOW: Another new and interesting feature is the addition of race-specific special abilities, such as Nanoblasts and SUV-Weapons for Beasts and Casts. What was the inspiration behind these features? Also, will there be any such abilities for the Human and Newman races?
PSOW: Another important new feature is the addition of player-controlled vehicles in the game. How important of a role will vehicles play in PSU? Will there be any areas specifically for vehicles, such as a driving level?
PSOW: That sounds great. What are some of the different vehicles in PSU? Will there be any player-controlled airborne vehicles?
PSOW: Another big feature of PSU is the "Partner Machinery", how have these evolved from the MAG concept found in PSO?
PSOW: Is there anything else you would like to mention about the offline mode in PSU that we haven't covered yet?
PSOW: What is your favorite feature in Phantasy Star Universe?
PSOW: Let's talk about the online aspect of Phantasy Star Universe for a bit. How many players will the online cities, or lobbies, support?
PSU replaces lobbies with giant, multi-level cities!
PSOW: Will we see any kind of free roaming in PSU that allows players to explore the areas, or will they need to start a mission in order to get out to the different zones? For example, in PSO a player can go straight to the forest area and explore.
PSOW: In online mode, will we see the return of any features such as Battle Mode or Challenge mode?
PSOW: Will we see some of the online special events that we've seen with PSO, such as holiday decorations and special missions like Maximum Attack?
PSOW: With the new downloadable missions and content, will players with the US version of the game have the same content and update frequency as players with the Japanese version of the game? To give you an idea of what we're talking about, there was sometimes online content in PSO that only was available only for players on the Japanese servers.
PSOW: Let's talk about the different platforms that PSU will be available on. It was recently announced that PSU would be released for the Xbox 360. We found out shortly afterwards that the plan was to have the Xbox 360 servers separated from the PC and PS2 servers, which have already been confirmed to be linked. Has this decision been finalized?
(At this point, we expressed our concern over having the community split up between platforms. Miyoshi-san seemed to understand the concern. We felt that it was good news that this decision has not been finalized yet, as it indicates that they may be reconsidering their previously revealed stance on the Xbox 360 servers. However, we didn't receive any further information on this particular topic.)
PSOW: Having the game come out for the Xbox 360 opens the door for certain Xbox Live features, such as voice chat. Will voice chat be a feature that is exclusive to the Xbox 360 version of PSU?
Stop to type while fighting this guy?! Not on the 360!
PSOW: Are there any plans to bring Phantasy Star Universe to other platforms, such as the Nintendo Wii or Sony's Playstation 3?
PSOW: Would you like to bring the game to these platforms?
PSOW: Is there anything you can tell us about the maximum levels or leveling speed in Phantasy Star Universe?
PSOW: Do you know anything yet about the release date or montly fee for Phantasy Star Universe in the United States? Will there be a simultaneous release of all three versions?
PSOW: The Japanese closed beta test of PSU recently came to an end. Is there going to be a beta test for the English version of the game?
PSOW: We are really curious about the future of Phantasy Star. Where do you see Phantasy Star Universe and the Phantasy Star franchise going from this point? Will we see full sequels down the road, or perhaps episodes similar to PSO?
Will we see Ethan and company return for a sequel? Perhaps!
PSOW: As a designer, what is your vision for the future of Phantasy Star Universe?
PSOW: Jumping back to online play for a moment, what kind of anti-hacking or anti-cheating measures will be implemented in Phantasy Star Universe?
PSOW: Most of our questions in this interview have come directly from members of our site who are big fans of the Phantasy Star series. I think we speak for all of them when we say thanks for taking the time to answers these questions. Is there anything else that you want fans to know about Phantasy Star Universe?
A huge thanks to Miyoshi-san for taking the time out of a very hectic day to sit down with us and talk about Phantasy Star Universe. We hope this interview produced some interesting new info for everyone to read about. We'd also like to thank all of the users that submitted questions for us to ask (sorry we couldn't get to them all!!).