Phantasy Star Online 2 is finally hitting the West officially for the Xbox One and PC next year as revealed during Microsoft’s E3 conference. Fans of the series have had to wait 8 years for an official release, so long that most fans have been connecting via VPNs and using fan made translation patches for much of PSO2’s run in Japan, much to Sega of Japan’s chagrin. The reason for the long delay has been the topic of speculation for years, but reasons have included raw server costs and the complex intellectual property rights issues attached to PSO2’s many regular events in Japan that have tied into other unrelated popular anime, video games, and movies, some of which still linger on the game’s severs in the form of items and skins for characters. Regardless, the game will finally see a North American release, largely due to the unending uproar from fans clamoring for a proper sequel to the Dreamcast hit.
PSO2’s predecessor, Phantasy Star Online, was a wildly popular online action RPG for the Dreamcast back in 2000 that was later released for the Gamecube and PC. It has been kept alive even today by various fan projects such as Ephinea long after the servers came down years ago. The Phantasy Star series has a linage going back to the Sega Master System in the 1980s and are among some of the earliest JRPGs ever produced. And with over three decades of games under its belt it has cultivated a massive following of fans that have continued to demand that PSO2 get a real Western release even after nearly a decade of being left out.
Now they are getting their wish. The game will be free to play, include many of the games features and updates built up over the years in Japan, and will include cross-play between the Xbox One and PC. The only downside is that Sega has confirmed that Europe, the Middle East, and Africa will sadly not be getting the game, officially. There is little doubt that if players have been willing to create elaborate client side language patches and VPNs to connect to the game in Japan, EMEA fans will likely go through the same lengths to get into the North American version of the game, especially now that the language barrier has been reduced considerably.
Phantasy Star Online 2 is slated for a Spring 2020 release.