Sega Announce Phantasy Star Online 2

'Ph' instead of 'f' is just not cool, okay? Look: 'Phuck you.' See?

More news hot outta Tokyo Game Show! Careful you don’t burn yourself. Sega’s announced Phantasy Star Online 2 is hitting the PC in 2011.

No footage as yet, and not even any details, which is definitely cutting it a bit fine for a game that’s only a year away but nevermind. If you don’t know about Phantasy Star Online, it made its debut on the Dreamcast and pioneered online RPG shenanigans on consoles. The original game has since gone on to spawn a strange collection of half-sequels and has developed a fanbase that I will now politely describe as “friendly and rigid”.

Course, this TGS I was hoping for an entirely different Japanese online-focused console game to be announced for the PC. Click through to find out which one.

Monster Hunter, man!

I cannot count the number of genius things Monster Hunter does that Western MMORPG developers are paying no attention to because they’re all so busy aping World of Warcraft like sodding backup dancers. But while I might not be able to count them, I can at least name a few.

Monster Hunter’s combat is centred around tactility rather than numbers. You don’t take damage because you have inferior stats, you take damage because you were standing in the wrong place, or because you didn’t block in time. And Monster Hunter doesn’t need to lead you by the hand through some tiresome plot, because it has a raw concept that’s immediately engaging and totally bottomless: You are a member of a primitive society in a world full of enormous monsters. The bodies of those monsters contain all kinds of valuable ichors and bones that can be sold, planted, crafted into weapons, anything. Therefore, you should kill these monsters to become wealthier, stronger, and improve your little personal farm. That’s it. Go!

Not to mention that Monster Hunter takes the only characters of a massively multiplayer game, that of “Many players in the same world”, and gives you a world which is actually conducive to many players working together. I am talking about the size of the goddamn monsters here. Look at the bastards in that trailer! Of course you need a whole team of players to take them down.

It’s even more irritating because Monster Hunter is as ludicrous-sized a smash hit in Japan as World of Warcraft is outside it. Course, technically Monster Hunter is out for the PC, but it only came out in Japan and that was back in 2007 in any case. Gah. If anyone needs me I’ll be in this corner, continuing to bang my drum.


  1. Dominic White says:

    Agreeing that Monster Hunter *really* needs a western PC release. It’s not like it’s a text/dialogue-heavy game. Why the hell can’t Capcom just translate it and give it a nice self-sustaining free-to-play model? Easy money, right?

    • karry says:

      It will go by default Capcom scenario for such cases :
      1) wait 5 years after release so that everyone who would have cared have moved on to other games
      2) give the porting job to some noname company that will horribly cripple the initial game
      and lastly 3) release a different game than the one you were hoping for.

    • Logical2u says:

      I think the issue with bringing Monster Hunter to the PC is the following…
      1. While the game is huge in Asia, it’s had mixed reviews and reception in the English-speaking world. Even a “self sustaining free model” might not pull in enough cash or interest.
      2. This, combined with Capcom’s insistence on separate servers for each region (See: MH1 on PS2, MH3 on Wii), would prove to make a PC version – like Monster Hunter Frontier, the Asia-only MH MMO – potentially extremely costly. (Comparatively, the original PSO was considered ‘innovative’ since it allowed users from around the world to play with each other, even including some automatic translation for ‘canned’ text).
      3. I, personally – as someone who has played, like, 900 hours of Monster Hunter – wonder if bringing the game – which started as extremely ‘tactile’ – the right PS2 thumbstick controlled your weapon very literally – and remains somewhat tactile – see the Wii version – to a keyboard/mouse control system might potentially be losing some of the game’s charm.

      That said, I love both PSO and MH, so this article was doubly exciting. I probably won’t pay subscription fees for another MMO again – particularly if this new PSO has the same issues as either its forefather or the Phantasy Star Portable spinoff – but I’ll still be excited about it.

  2. says:

    I clicked hoping for Monster Hunter, and you have good taste! But I was disappointed, because I want more Monster Hunter. And my Wii’s semi-broken, so I’ve only been able to play PS2 Monster Hunter. I’ve seen a few things about the MMO and I would really, really like an MMO themed around fighting big monsters with swords. MH or SotC-style, I’m not picky, but just giving raid bosses big models doesn’t do it for me.

  3. Fumarole says:

    Was that guy on the dock wearing assless chaps?

    • Chalkster says:

      All the males in the game who are not hunters wear assless chaps.

  4. DrGonzo says:

    Wow, I had assumed Monster Hunter was an offline game. If it’s an MMO then I’m quite interested.

    • Chalkster says:

      There is an MMO, it is currently japan only.
      Some of the games have online multiplayer in a non-MMO setting, these are also fun.

  5. Jimbo says:

    Now we just need a Dreamcast 2 announcement.

  6. Jake says:

    Huh, Monster Hunter looks really good, especially the underwater monsters emerging from the gloom. I had mistakenly mentally filed this away as being probably like Pokemon.

    • Dominic White says:

      Pokemon is about the furthest point on the videogame evolutionary scale from Monster Hunter. It’s an action-RPG, with the emphasis firmly on action. Even top-tier armor will only save you from 3-4 hits. The next one after that will knock you out of the running.

      I’d rank it right up there with the Ninja Gaiden games as far as pure player skill requirements go. Game is hardcore in the best possible way – an expert in newbie gear can kill stuff WAY out of his weight class, but an idiot in expert-level gear will still be wiped out by even smaller monsters.

    • Xercies says:

      Having said that a Pokemon mmo would be cool, you would set it up like kind of like the anime series and try to capture pokemon and train them while fighting other players. but Nintendos “still in the 90s” mindset would never produce it.

    • wcaypahwat says:

      From what I can tell, pokemon is getting pretty close to 4 player co-op, these days.

  7. Alexander Norris says:

    I’d be quite interested in sampling Monster Hunter and finding out why people rave about it, but I have no consoles except a DS. Sadface!

    Anyway, I have fond memories of playing PSO on my Dreamcast with the integrated modem, so this could be fun.

  8. CoyoteTheClever says:

    Hurrah for Quinns mentioning one of the best games Capcom ever made. Yeah, Monster Hunter rules and definitely needs to be brought in to English PCs. I was actually playing the PSP version while I saw this article, so yeah, its pretty damn addictive.

    They are still giving pretty substantial updates to the PC version in Japan though, so even if it was made in 2007 it is totally worthy still.

  9. ChampionHyena says:




    I STILL play Blue Burst on a private server now that the official ones are down. I adore PSO. I adore it profoundly, and I found PSU to be a huge misstep. If this suggests a return to form, I cannot possibly be more pumped.

    …then again, if it completely blows, I will rage myself into a coma.

    Oh, and also on topic: my serendipitous run-in with the sparkling glory of Recettear has convinced me that yes, we absolutely need more Japanese made–and more importantly, Japanese-style–games on our proud and mighty platform.

  10. DJ Phantoon says:

    Is this the same game? link to

    Really do not like JRPGs myself so I’m with the angry British man that lives in Austrailia.

    • Dominic White says:

      Monster Hunter isn’t like ANY RPG series, western or otherwise. Also, Yahtzee is notoriously bad at games and whines ceaslessly when he loses. He also refuses to play anything online, even when they’re online-centric games.

      He’s probably the worst possible person to review it.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Yahtzee doesn’t do reviews, Dominic. He’s an entertainer, and has neither duty nor desire to be objective, so complaining that he’s bad at reviewing games is a little silly. :P

    • Dominic White says:

      Silly? Perhaps, but much more sane than the thousands of people who apparently base their purchasing off what he says. Dude has influence, sadly, even when he’s spouting complete rubbish.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      So wait. Even though he makes good points in many of his other reviews, because he targeted one of your favorite series and said, “This was not good enough to make me rethink how I don’t like JRPGs” it’s a flaw on him rather than you for not being able to take any of the criticisms? His review wasn’t made for you, because you already like that sort of thing.

      And even if he were always wrong, he does bring up good points to think about. If you dismiss them all because you hate the guy, why is it his fault? I’m a big fan of Metroid, but if he said, “Metroid Other M was absolute shit” I’d still give it a hear to see what he thought and why he thought it.

      Critics have a purpose. I myself find I enjoy things a lot more when I understand why I liked them, and what I didn’t like. Avoiding understanding, particularly of other people’s viewpoints because they don’t agree with you, is no better than a politician or a religious zealot preaching from the mount.

      I only liked two JRPGs, and they were Wild Arms and Legend of Mana. Legend of Mana hardly counts because it plays like an action game, and Wild Arms had a story that wasn’t just “emo hero does stuff” (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, EVERY FINAL FANTASY AFTER 6). And it didn’t have that obnoxious quick time thing the Final Fantasies did.

      I’m not saying the Japanese don’t make anything interesting, I’m just saying if you ever say “kawaii” without being sarcastic you’re probably not the best judge of if the stuff that comes out of Japan is shit or not, because you’d want it anyways.

      PS: Still not okay with the panty vending machines.

    • Dominic White says:

      Dude… I have no idea where that rant came from, but you’re so far off base, you’re playing football.

      Monster Hunter isn’t an RPG, western, japanese or otherwise. It’s a co-op action game with no story, where you go out and beat up dinosaurs with enormous bone-crafted weapons, to harvest more monster bits, so that you can kill bigger dinosaurs. The fact that Yahtzee manages to go off on a rant about how much he hates Japanese RPGs in the process of reviewing Monster Hunter is doubly stupid.

      It’s like reviewing Serious Sam, and ending up on a tangent about how you know it’ll be terrible because you don’t like ArmA 2.

  11. Tenorek says:

    I have played Monster Hunter Tri relatively extensively and must say that it does have it’s truly awesome moments. There is no leveling up at all, your gear is what becomes better over time, yet it isn’t like diablo either. You quest for the parts of monsters to make the weapons and armor you need. It results in a bit of tedium, but for myself it was never a bothersome amount. However, once you get online and start fighting these monsters with friends and throw strategy into the mix, the game is some of the best fun I’ve had online. Also some of the most aggravating, in a good way. The real thought that goes into the game is learning the nature and behavior of the monsters you fight, whereby you can guess what they are about to do next, and plan accordingly. So as you fight monsters the aggravation is whittled away, and you can start to laugh at the poor sods. Ah, now I want to go play some more.

  12. BeamSplashX says:

    PSO is still one of my favorite action-RPGs of all time, even without the online component. Parts greater than the whole and all that jazz. Hopefully the new version has some mode of play that doesn’t require a subscription.

    Monster Hunter is also the most similar game to PSO there is. The fact that it’s not copied by the West is no surprise to me, considering that PSO wasn’t copied either.

  13. a says:

    link to

    Well this LOOKS like Monster Hunter, at least. It’s another free MMO from Nexon that just went into open beta in North America. I thiiiiink you might be able to play it through a proxy. I played the tutorial bit and fought a giant man made of logs so far, seems fun. You should like… report on it! Or something.

  14. Uhm says:

    You know, I like ambition and originality. But I think recent articles show how simplicity is often overlooked as being attractive.

    I have simulated driving, shooting mechanics. You can customise your face, clothes, car in an advanced character builder. Build a reputation in a detailed city. Dynamic goals involving skill-matched opposing teams in a sort of MMO shooter. Payment options that make no sense!


    Players + big fuck-off monsters. Any questions?

  15. zoombapup says:

    Indeed look at the size of those bastards!!

    I must admit, an MMO where you literally just beat on huge monsters with huge weapons in hugely silly fighting styles has a real attraction. As long as you dont then have to collect some stats or something equally drudge worthy.

    Sign me up!

  16. Hunam says:

    The thought of a propper MMO MH (though Tri is kinda an MMO) with the posibilty of bigger monsters and perhaps 20 man raid monsters fills me with glee.

    Capcom need to sort the shit the fuck out.

    • Chalkster says:

      Yeah I kind of really want to play frontier, from what I hear it’s amazing, though I’ll miss MH3’s bowgun customization, as it’s probably not coming back.

  17. Xercies says:

    I loved playing PSO on the old Gamecube when we had it, bloody great action MMO/Co-op game(you could play it off-line which was just as great) and really surprisingly atmospheric as well(well i thought so). So if this is anything like that. Joy!

    Now make Shenmue 3!

    • Thingus says:

      Me and a friend played PSO offline co-op on the Gamecube. Didn’t have that much depth in offline mode, but we still played through to the end of one and two. It may have been the fact that he had a ginormous robot as a character, and yet plinked everything to death with an occasionally-instakilling pistol.
      Ahh, fun times.

    • Xercies says:

      Thats weird because the Offline Co-op game is the Online game just with your friends nearby instead of over the world…

  18. Wulf says:

    I love Monster Hunter too, it’s one of the best things you can do with a PSP if you’re bored, and you happen to have a PSP handy, though it could do without the bloody crafting.

    However, for shame Quinns. You were at GamesCom, you saw Guild Wars 2, you know what manner of paradigm shifting crazy ArenaNet are preparing to unleash upon the Western World, they’re not all World of Warcraft backup dancers, there’s at least one glimmer of hope out there. Though I suppose it’s an easy mistake to make, lots of people seem to forget that ArenaNet is a Western developer, too.

    As for Phantasy Star, well… no surprise that I love it, is there? I loved the original bloody game on the Sega Master System, and then the ones that followed up on the Mega Drive (or Genesis, if you’re of that persuasion), and the remakes, and what I played of the Online ones that didn’t require a subscription. In fact, the only reason I didn’t play Universe online was because it required a subscription. Sega, if you’re listening, the buy-to-play model is the way to go. Subscriptions are a massive turn off, these days. most people seem to be rational enough these days to realise that subscriptions are a massive con that people were cleverly tricked into, despite not a single MMORPG player actually knowing what they were paying a subscription for (but that’s a lack of transparency for you).

    So, buy-to-play on 2, Sega. Please. Be smart about this and I can love you and your online offerings again, and this is something I do want to play.

    • James T says:

      I wish the modern Phantasy Star games were actually related to the Phantasy Star series in some way, I loved those games as a kid (well, PS3 not so much).

  19. squidlarkin says:

    Well, I’m officially interested. Anyone have a spare beta key for it? (send it to my Twitter, I guess.)

    • squidlarkin says:

      Argh reply button fail. That was referring to Vindictus.

  20. Redford says:

    PSO is a weird mix between an action game and an MMO. In PSO you have stats to fall back on if you screw up, but not hardly. Get used to dying in three hits (or two hits or one hit as a force) if you mess up an attack. The main issue is that at the highest difficulty level the game downright begins to cheat and unless you have a perfectly built character with maxxed stats, you are going to die more often then not.

    PS0 was a step in the right direction over PSU, so I’m very excited what PSO2 might bring to the table.

  21. Zyrusticae says:

    Geeze, you guys need to brush up on your internet-fu.

    * “Action” and “RPG” re-connected
    * Increased variety of client orders
    * Map functions changing in real time
    * User-created story
    * New interface for environmental interactions
    * Global support
    * Thorough racial balances
    * Full-user participation events
    * Seasonal changes
    * New chat system
    * New mail functions
    * Drastic item synthesis overhaul
    * Even wider variety of ways to raise your character
    * New direction of event scenes
    * Approach from NPCs (New approach maybe?)
    * Silhouette changes by add-ons (Not too sure what they mean here.)
    * New photon arts (This was partially obscured in the video, so may not be 100% accurate.)
    * Community support content (Again, slightly obscured in the video.)
    * Additional customizations when you create your character
    * Category-based weapon training system (Slightly obscured.)
    * Implementation of asynchronous communication
    * New party system
    * Consideration of enemy cooperation
    * Limitless content
    * New approach to the game client
    * Implementation of a new “life work” (Partially obscured.)
    * Daily surprises
    * “Trump card” system
    * Mutual interaction functionality for new and veteran users

    Source: link to

    Oh, and… yes. Yes, I’m excited.

  22. sexyresults says:

    “There are currently no plans for a western release”


  23. Arglebargle says:

    I always shook my head at those people who hated one minor aspect of a game enough to not give it a fair shake. I find myself one of those now, as the whole ‘weapons larger than myself’ thing is completely off -puting. Oh well, looked kinda cool otherwise

    • Spacewalk says:

      Granted, you would probably need weapons that big if you wanted to megakill a few dinosaur/dragon crossbreeds. You’d probably feel the same way about swimming in full suits of armour too so we won’t put much thought into that either.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yeah, there’s a pretty damn good reason for the huge weapons – without them, your reach would be VERY limited, and when you’re fighting something that stands so that its neck is almost six feet above you, you NEED a big weapon just to hit it.

      The game has locational damage (even taking into account what part of the blade hits, and at what part of the swing!), too, so a sword-point across the throat is going to do a lot more than a swing at a bony knee-plate.

  24. Al3xand3r says:

    RPS has been mentioning lots of Wii games lately. Are you lot also PC/Wii gamers? I find that a pretty sweet combo this generation as they offer vastly different experiences (with lots of hidden gems thanks to an unfortunate bias of sorts from the average media outlet), while if I had a 360 I’d be playing the same type of games I do on PC for the most part. Well, good to see more people praising Monster Hunter anyway, it’s good stuff even though some people (who, sadly, often review the games) can’t even grasp the basics.

  25. Ian says:

    I remember playing the Dreamcast PSO game.

    My main memory is walking into a big domed building at the end of an area, wondering why it was empty and then being ambushed by the biggest boss fight I’d ever encountered up to that point in any game ever.

    Mind: blown.

  26. Ace says:

    sounds phun.

  27. Quizboy says:

    I think the big thing blocking Monster Hunter getting big in the West (and I’m saying this as an absolutely rabid MH fan, who in the near future will be picking up a second PSP so me and my other half can play Portable Third together) is Capcom’s total inability to create a new-player experience that doesn’t utterly put most westerners off the series forever.

    You can see it above in that link to Shit Charlie Brooker Impressionist’s review of Tri – you spend your first few hours running around picking flowers and hitting small inoffensive creatures with your rubbish starter weapon for too-rare, and useless, drops. It could almost be any other MMO. You don’t even see anything you could really call a monster, outside of one scripted SUPER RUN AWAY moment, for hours and hours. Then when you finally do get to hunt the majestic (read: phlegmmy green duck) Qurupeco, your early-game weapons have such terminal sharpness trouble that you’re stopping to sharpen every few hits, you get batted around like a rag doll, the game doesn’t make it clear without regular access to the wiki what to gather and combine to make the items the difficulty is balanced around you using, and – very likely – you just give up in disgust. It’s probably because MH is such a local, social thing in Japan – since MH2 they’ve been able to assume that new players will always know, or can easily encounter, a bunch of people who know the ropes to ease them through the early bits and make sure they know what they’re doing. It doesn’t work like that here, partly because the games never took off, and I suspect largely because there’s stigma attached to asking for help, not instantly getting things and generally being seen as a needy noob. These are not games that make you feel powerful, at least not until you know what you’re doing (although I’d argue dancing around a monster the size of a building, ducking/diving/blocking its clumsy flailings and surgically breaking off piece after piece is one of the most empowering bits of any game, ever), and I think the boring stock-MMO intro hours, then the feeling of getting utterly dominated by your first real monster, kills it forever for a lot of people.

    For all that the game design is exceptional, the series’ popularity in Japan has let Capcom get away with being really lazy about welcoming new players and crafting a decent first few hours. The problem for future games is that every time they release one with a crap starter experience, a good section of their potential audience gets burned by it and swears off the series forever, which is a shame, as by now it means MH may have blown its chance to get really big in the west.

  28. Al3xand3r says:

    @Quizboy (ugh, fix the replying!): The tutorials in Tri are excellent, that Yahtzee didn’t have the little patience required to do them doesn’t mean they were done badly. I was a fan since I played Freedom Unite on the PSP for quite a few hours (up to the Tigrex) but Tri easily taught me many things I had missed and the new elements of the game through a seamless campaign-like experience on the way to slaying the Lagiacrus (and then something else). I was even playing Unite better after that.

    It’s a deep series so it is necessary to have a lengthy chain of tutorials otherwise you have people hating the series because they were thrust into situations they couldn’t handle, like in pre-Tri games (though I endured). I feel they did a good job of introducing exploration, gathering, and hunting, in ways that don’t frustrate at all, not to mention filled with colorful dialogue thanks to an excellent, funny localisation that doesn’t get the deserved praise.

    It’s not THAT long before you fight the first feral creatures and boss in the form of the Great Jaggi and its lesser relatives. Perhaps it was worse for you because as a veteran you already knew a lot of the things it taught, so you wanted to get to the good hunts faster (though you could always head to the online mode and start that directly), but for newer players it was a great introduction that paired great with players’ curiocity to explore and find things on their own in the initially limited areas available to them.

    • Quizboy says:

      Maybe I’m being way too harsh on it (and I thoroughly agree about the translation, I hope Portable 3 gets the same treatment) – I just saw quite a few people turn around after the first couple of hours and go ‘is this it?’, having not really fought a monster as such, but having spent a half hour swiping at Delex for their guts. I’m not sure how I’d improve it, really, although I can think of a couple of ideas – maybe a big action-packed setpiece opening, where you’re invincible and right in a monster fight with AI allies (one of whom it turns out is your character’s heroic ancestor or something) would at least serve to show people what they have to look forward to so they don’t give up in the early stages. It just seems a shame that it takes so long to really get a sense of how gobsmackingly well-animated and modelled the monsters are, and how tactile and rewarding the combat is.

    • Spacewalk says:

      The tutorial should just drop you in a small area with a Rathian and give you her armour set and socket it up with enough jewels for Speed Sharpening for Blademasters or whatever for Gunners. I don’t play as a Gunner so I wouldn’t know what would best help out there.

    • Dominic White says:

      @Spacewalk – There’s an arena mode in Tri that does pretty much exactly that. You + decent armor/weapons vs a monster.

      And I’d be willing to bet that 99% of people would be scared off for LIFE by that. I’d wager that most new players wouldn’t land more than one or two hits before getting their faces torn off. Yeah, the proper tutorial is slow, but you’re also not going to die in five seconds, either.

    • Spacewalk says:

      You have to capture monsters before you can fight them in the arena though. Rathian is more bark than bite, Barroth is more difficult. Her friend you get to fight later on however would scare off 99% of people.

  29. Al3xand3r says:

    Yup, what Dominic says (god damn replies), after all that suggestion is essentially what all PSP games’ demos have been, as well as the MHTri demo on Wii was, and it certainly didn’t help the series’ popularity in the West. The tutorials are necessary otherwise players don’t know how to handle the game and simply quit.

  30. Coal says:

    I loved playing Phantasy star online splitscreen on the Gamecube with a friend, really hope those features make a return!

    Oh, and hopefully the art design will be better unlike the newer games :/ Do not like. *folds arms*