NEWS - Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Xbox 360 Gets Phantasy Star

SEGA Studios must have figured they’ve kept their fans waiting long enough. It’s hard not to have ever heard the name Phantasy Star if you’ve been a Sega Genesis (or even a Master System) owner/fan back in the golden gaming era. Phantasy Star Online, a title that goes down in history as the first ever videogame console MMORPG (it also precedes ‘Final Fantasy XI’ in being the first-ever multi-platform MMORPG. Episodes I and II are playable on each of the PC, Dreamcast, Xbox, and Gamecube gaming platforms.) Today, the company behind the granddaddy of games that ostensibly shift your social life from the real world to the online gaming stage breaks the silence on Phantasy Star’s future. Sega has announced that the first ever hugely successful MMORPG released on a videogame console will finally see a true sequel this Fall on the Xbox 360. Phantasy Star Universe, a direct sequel to PSO’s Episode III (which chronologically occurs after the prequel Episode IV) will stay true to the series by offering both a single-player offline experience, and the meat-n-potatoes online MMO Xbox Live goodness. "The reinvigoration of this beloved franchise on the Xbox 360 signifies another step for SEGA towards next-gen leadership," said Scott A. Steinberg, Vice President of Entertainment Marketing, Sega of America, Inc. "Phantasy Star has a rich history, and now with Phantasy Star Universe in support of the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live, gamers can enjoy a fantasy role-playing experience of unprecedented depth both online with their friends, and offline in the robust single-player game." How ‘robust’ will the offline mode get? Sega is promising over 40 solid hours of gameplay, and secrets that tie into the online mode that have yet to be announced. Unlike the previous version of the ‘offline’ mode, players won’t be able to use it to beef up their created character in-between online gaming sessions, the main character of the offline game is unique and separate from the created avatar used in the MMO mode. Sega’s announced the online portion of the game to include three different planets to explore, as well as a host of races to choose from. A six-person party will be able to traverse the Phantasy Star Universe to experience epic squad battling against over 220 different enemy NPC-types. The game will also feature an impressive soundtrack from meritorious orchestras and vocal choirs from across the world. If by chance you haven’t gotten addicted to the first Phantasy Star online experience, Sega’s hoping to snag all the Xbox 360 owners this Fall with that familiar Phanatical feelin’ all over again.


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