• Phantasy Star Zero Community Day Event Report

    PSO-World.com staffer HUnewearl_Meira and his family attended the Phantasy Star Zero Community Day Event at Sega Headquarters on November 4th. Attached to this news story is his report on the evening's activities. This includes his experiences playing the English version of Phantasy Star Zero and meeting with Satoshi Sakai. Be sure to click on the "Read More" link to read his report. You can discuss this event in this forum thread.

    HUnewearl_Meira's Report

    Everyone needs to buy five copies of Phantasy Star Zero. Everyone. Five copies. Get your pre-orders in, right now. Go ahead. I’ll wait for you to come back from Amazon or GameStop, or wherever you like to establish your pre-orders. It’s all good.

    Now that we’ve gotten that all out of the way, and you’ve secured your five copies, I can get down to business. The simple of it, is that the Phantasy Star Zero Community Day Event was a blast, and we all made out like bandits. When my wife and I arrived, we were very soon greeted by Sega’s staff, which included none other than such recognizable names as RubyEclipse, ClumsyOrchid and our champion from the days of Endless Error 60, Edward@Sega. After the Non-Disclosure Agreements were signed (after all, we might have accidentally seen some other stuff, which we weren’t supposed to see, just yet), RubyEclipse took us, in groups, into the Focus Room. When we were all settled in, the staff was introduced to us, and the goodie-bags were distributed. There were only two items in each goodie-bag: An inflatable rappy (the very same devices which we are currently giving away, here at PSO-World), and a copy of Phantasy Star Zero, which we were soon informed, was ours to keep. We were given a period of about two and a half hours or so, to play the game. During this time, they presented us with sushi, Japanese sweets, sodas and energy drinks. Apparently, “Venom” is the energy drink of choice at Sega of America, though RubyEclipse’s enthusiasm for encouraging us to leave no can unconsumed, leads me question the local loyalty to that brand. for what it’s worth, there are much worse energy drinks, than Venom. This part of the event started with the whole lot of us levelling to level 3 or higher in Offline Story mode. Once we were all this prerequisite level, we teamed up into groups, via DS Wireless Play. My group was formed by our own Nai_Calus, and as assigned “Team 6”. On the approach of the next segment, however, we dubbed ourselves, “Team Phail”. After running around for a while, we proceeded on to the competitive segment, which was, the reason why we were, Team Phail. All teams started from the city, and on GO, we proceeded through the warp, to a frozen tundra, rife with moose-wolves and Yeti-Gibbles (which were quite abominable, indeed). Team Phail came in dead last, and thus, we were not so privileged, as to receive PS0 figurines or PSU Texters.

    After the race through the frozen wastes was complete, the next big surprise was revealed. Our group was to participate in a teleconference with Satoshi Sakai of Sonic Team. After writing down our questions (and once the call was placed), RubyEclipse read off our questions, Sonic Team’s translator translated them to Japanese, Satoshi Sakai answered, and the translator translated the answers to English. I had the foresight to take some notes, and I’ll now paraphrase what happened. To be clear, this is not word for word, as I did not have the foresight to bring a recording device, and I can only take notes so fast.

    Q: Why did you choose to make Phantasy Star for the portable consoles?
    A: We wanted to broaden the appeal and audience of Phantasy Star, and handheld consoles tend to be more popular among younger and older players.

    Q: Why was Phantasy Star Online chosen as the basis for Phantasy Star Zero’s gameplay?
    A: On the Nintendo DS, we don’t really have a whole lot of buttons to work with, so we wanted to keep the interface fairly simple.

    Q: Are there any plans to make a clear story line connection to the original series?
    A: You’ll have to play the game to find out!

    Q: What made you chose to call it, Phantasy Star “Zero”?
    A: We really wanted to convey the impression, that we were going back to the beginning, and building from the ground up. Also, because the gameplay is based on Phantasy Star Online, and PS0 looks like PSO.

    Q: Will there be any more console Phantasy Star games?
    A: HMMM! (Seriously, that was the immediate reaction to this question) If the handheld versions are successful, then we’ll likely bring Phantasy Star back to the consoles. You should all go out and buy five copies!

    Q: Will there be more Phantasy Star games on handheld consoles?
    A: Maybe if everyone buys five copies. Seriously though. if Phantasy Star Zero and Phantasy Star Portable are successful, then yes. Please, everyone! Buy five copies! (The “five copies” thing was in jest, of course, though I’m sure they’d appreciate it, regardless.)

    Q: Is anyone one on your team interested in making new installations of other classic franchises, such as Burning Rangers or Nights?
    A: Um... Well, maybe; anything’s possible.

    Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the fans?
    A: Yes, we’d like to say that we appreciate all of you coming to our little event, and buy five copies! Also, we’ve got some big things planned for the 10th Anniversary of PSO, coming next year, so keep an eye out for that.

    After the teleconference, we returned to the Focus Room, engaged in some trivia and RubyEclipse raffled off some Sega games. At some point in there, we were regaled with anecdotes from PSU’s GMs, about how they came to have their current jobs. A special point was made to emphasize that the GMs play the game, just like we do, and they’re really meant to be our voice in Sega’s ear.

    In conclusion, I’d say that a great time was had by all. I’d like to publicly thank RubyEclipse and the rest of the staff at Sega of America for having us, and also for bending over backwards to accommodate my wife and two week old daughter. The way we were treated was truly top rate.

    Also, we’ve got pictures taken at the event, which can be found in this new gallery.

    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Zantra's Avatar
      Zantra -
      My thread is featured! Awesome.
    1. MSAksion's Avatar
      MSAksion -
      That event was a lot of fun and i'm glad to have met true PS fans. This was the FIRST public community event so lets hope for more to come. If PSzero, PSP2 and uhh....maybe PSU are successful then Sega will keep delivering more photon based entertainment.
    1. Zimbabwe's Avatar
      Zimbabwe -
      I pray that by "Big Event" planned for PSO's 10th anniversary he means something like a re-release of PSO. Preferably, a digital release like PSO for PSN and XBLA perhaps? And not something like a PSU event that involves PSO themed levels but are absolutely nothing like the classics. Please?
    1. Iecur's Avatar
      Iecur -
      Wow, surprisingly I'm in quite a few of these pictures. o.o;
    1. HUnewearl_Meira's Avatar
      HUnewearl_Meira -
      Well, Satoshi Sakai didn't say anything about an "event", so far as I know; the words, as the translator spoke them, were, "big things". What that exactly means is anyone's guess. I would guess that it'll be akin to the 20th Anniversary of Phantasy Star, which included an event on PSU, a special website, an art contest for Japanese fans, and probably a number of other things that I'm not aware of.
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