When speaking to western MMORPG nerds, there’s one game that always seems to come up in conservation, the elusive, Phantasy Star Online 2. No, this is not some popular western online game that all the cool kids are playing. Instead, Phantasy Star Online 2 has never seen a western release in any form and it’s been released on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, PC, Android and iOS in Japan and Southeast Asia.
Hope hasn’t always been lost for fans to receive the game in the west since Sega has teased a localization project in 2012 and can even be seen publicly acknowledging the release in 2014, but the company has since taken a step back from mentioning anything Phantasy Star Online 2 to western players in the recent years. This is a sad realization for fans who desperately ask for the game’s western release, although some players have found means of playing the game even if their region isn’t supported.
Evidently, Sega isn’t too happy with the performance of Phantasy Star Online 2 this year. In an interview with Dengeki, series producer Satoshi Sakai states that the studio has faced many hardships this past year. However, he feels that they deserved this as punishment for Episode 5, an update that nerfed classes, ruined features that fans enjoyed, and introduced poor quests.
Following his comment, Sakai-san adds that Nintendo Switch’s Phantasy Star Online 2 Cloud hasn’t been yielding the results that the developer expected. To address this, the developer plans to look at what players are asking for and support the release in the future in an attempt gain more traction with the release. It seems as though many players are downloading, but only a few are playing. This may be due to the ID issues and how the Nintendo Switch doesn’t have an email addresses system. Sega is attempting to implement a feature to receive emails using a Smartphone or PC so that players can play without making an ID.
Switch issues aside, I doubt Sega would be in this predicament if their game was available worldwide. The number of international players that access the servers through unofficial means are potentially hurting them in sales. Groups of fans are busy fan translating the game through patches while Sega releases it in Japan on a new console to little fanfare.
I will be the first to tell you that I’m not a huge Phantasy Star Online fan, I’ve played very little of the western released Phantasy Star Online on the Xbox 360. With that said, I didn’t even have a chance to become a fan of the series because of a localization tease from Sega and years of waiting for them to follow through. I’m one of those potential western fans who aren’t playing a great looking game because I don’t want to bother with playing on Japanese servers and installing translation patches made by fans. In short, this year wouldn’t have been so hard if intrigued western gamers had a chance to officially play the game.
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