No GCN/Xbox Confirmed...At least there are server side characters....
Though Sega released a teaser trailer for Phantasy Star Universe at last year's E3, the company has been mum on the game since, offering very few details about the title publicly. That is, until the May 2005 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly that just started hitting subscribers, where Sega goes in-depth on the game for the first time anywhere. For the full story on the offline and online modes of PSU, check out the new EGM in stores, and read on to see the extended version of their interview with Sega R&D creative officer Yuji Naka.
EGM: Could you briefly explain the history of the project?
YN: The series has now entered its fifth year, and this is the right time for a new start. Online RPG games are basically limited, but I want to move on and make a difference in the genre. I spent a very long time on the PS series, and we've spent many years and we've gathered a lot of feedback from the users. So, we certainly have a lot of stuff to include in the game.
EGM: Did the PS2 HDD support dropping affect your plans?
YN: I'm not going to change my mind, and Sony will still support our network game, even without support for the HDD. Actually, I haven't even shown this game to Sony yet...you're the first people outside the company to see it. Nobody even knew what platform it was going to be on until today.
EGM: It's rather late in the PS2's life cycle...any chance of porting this to other systems?
YN: I'm not quite sure yet...the PS2 is the hardware with the biggest market right now, and the next-generation platforms won't have a very large installed base at first. It would be fairly risky to launch an online game for these new systems too early.
EGM: What has been the greatest challenge in PSU's development?
YN: Actually, we're still in the middle of development, and the most difficult part of making an online game is making the network stable. So the hardest part is still to come, about one or two months before the game is finished.
EGM: What will you do about cheaters?
YN: We have experienced the cheaters for five years, so we've piled up a lot of know-how of how to deal with them. I think our security is pretty high, nearly 100%. The PSU security will be like that of PSO: BB with server-side characters and info.
EGM: Could you share some of your memories of working on the original Phantasy Star games?
YN: From the beginning of the series, I always wanted to surprise users -- to make something unique and creative, and I kept that as my design philosophy all these years. I still advise my producers to make something new and interesting. Because I felt like this, that's why I've been able to keep creating games for 21 years.
EGM: The Sci-fi theme makes PSU unique&do you enjoy the sci-fi theme personally?
YN: I do enjoy that type of atmosphere, and you see that most of the RPG games are set in the middle ages with an ancient atmosphere, but I wanted something set in space, in the future. Everybody likes Star Wars, and everyone has a curiosity about the future.