What exactly is Phantasy Star 2: New Genesis?

During the Xbox Games Showcase, and less than 3 months since its US release, Microsoft and SEGA unveiled Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis. At first glance the reveal trailer made it look like a sequel to PSO2 was imminent. Upon the title reveal, fans were instead left excited but confused. What exactly is Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis?

When Phantasy Star Online 2 was first announced over a decade ago it was initially set for release in Japan with promises of a future release in the US. It never came. As the years went by it became increasingly clear that there would be no release outside of Japan. Gamers had already taken it upon themselves to find ways to play the game, and the popularity of the game continued to grow outside of Japan.  

Almost 8 years later Microsoft finally teamed up with SEGA to release PSO2 for Xbox and Windows PC. Initial impressions were that it was too little too late. Western gamers who weren’t already playing using a workaround were introduced to a game in which everything from its gameplay to its UI was clearly outdated. In comparison to MMOs like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV, PSO2 felt like the previous generation game it was. 

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What’s In A Name?

Let’s begin with the obvious. PSO2: NGS is PSO3 in all but name. It is the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn of Phantasy Star Online 2. According to SEGA, PSO2: NGS will be a completely new game separate from PSO2. Set to be released in 2021, the game will be a massive overhaul of the series’ AMMORPG roots. It will feature a brand new world bringing the game to a wide-open playing field. Meaning that PSO: NGS will likely feel more like a modern open-world MMO. It will also feature a complete overhaul in the graphics and gameplay department. 

How Are PSO2 and PS2: NGS Connected?

According to SEGA, PSO2: NGS isn’t completely abandoning PSO2 and its players. Instead, they will be bringing a new standalone game that is up to speed with current and future-gen tech. Character creation and avatars will be compatible across both games and players can even choose to play on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, or PC. Emotes, along with other yet to be specified data, will be shared between both versions of the game as well. Weapons, Units, and Mags obtained in PSO2 can be used in PSO: NGS, but their functions, abilities, and appearance may be changed. 

It will also feature a completely new battle system and new enemy types. Character growth will not carry over. This includes levels, EXP, skills, Photon Arts, Techniques, etc. In-game currency such as Meseta and FUN will not be carried over as PSO2: NGS will feature its own standalone economy. 

What Will Happen To PSO2?

SEGA has confirmed that they will continue to support PSO2 with regular updates and content. PSO2: NGS however will be a standalone game that will exist in a whole new universe alongside PSO2. You can even play either game with the same character. For the first time since its release PSO2 will also be getting a graphical update. SEGA has also mentioned that PSO2 will eventually be on all gaming platforms but for now PSO2: NGS’ announcement only mentioned availability for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC in 2021. The best part is that both games will remain Free-to-Play!

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