Phantasy Star Online 2 (PSO2) is Coming to the West in Spring 2020!

Phantasy Star Online 2 (PSO2) is Coming to the West in Spring 2020!

Yes, you guys heard right. For any of you that watched E3 you’ll know by now that Phantasy Star Online 2 – Japan’s most popular MMORPG since 2012 is finally coming to the West.
After almost a decade of wanting to legally play a localized version of the game Sega and Microsoft announced their plan to bring the game over on both the PC and Xbox.
Microsoft in specific will be providing the servers and publishing the game over here as they purchased Western publishing rights.
Unfortunately even though Sony owns the rights for the game in Japan, that likely means that a PS4 release over here is unlikely.

Microsoft stated that PSO2 will be launching in Spring 2020, and unlike every other MMO port in the history of forever, they have confirmed that we will get the full version of the game as opposed to being years behind in content.
Yup – every single patch, every single piece of story content, everything will be ported over along with the game. We’re not going to be far behind the official Japanese version at all!
One thing I am a little concerned about however is all the cosmetic items and events.
PSO2 has collaborated with so many games over the years rewarding you with game-themed outfits and other aesthetic items but getting the rights to use them over here in the West is near-impossible.
So it stands to reason, then, that a lot of the themed events in-game will be unavailable to us but Microsoft did promise that “all the content,” their exact words, will be available.
So what is their goal, then? To bring every piece of cosmetic item over? To have every non-PSO2 themed event, forking out millions, tens of millions to other gaming companies to have them available in-game?
Yeah, that’s a little unlikely but at the same time it’s too early to say.

As mentioned, PSO2 will be launching onto both Xbox and PC. Microsoft also went on to confirm that there will be full cross-play functionality between the two platforms.
That means you can play on your PC while your friend plays on their Xbox.
But, then comes my next concern and I’m sure the concern of many current PSO2 players. The Japanese version of the game is currently available in Japanese.. not English.
If Sony ever had plans to bring the game over in the last 8 years than they would have, and it would have been available for the PS4.
Now, as Sony had no interest in a Western release, and both Sony and Microsoft are.. well, competitors, it seems likely that no character progress will be transferred over.
This means that players that have been playing PSO2 for years now, making progress, leveling, gearing, obtaining outfits and gear.. will have to start completely from scratch.
To play the official English version of the game you’ll need to abandon all progress made over however long you’ve been playing.
That isn’t the only issue with this though, the fan-translated patches provided by Arks Layer will be met with a lot of legal trouble from Microsoft.
I don’t see Microsoft allowing a fan-project like Arks Layer to continue to provide potential players and customers with access to a version of their game they now own rights to.. and could monetize.
So then what happens to Arks Layer and the years worth of effort they’ve put into the game? Do we just say “k, thanks, guys.” and all move on?
Do we continue to support their fan-project and continue to play on the Japanese servers knowing full well that the vast majority of new players will all roll onto the official English servers?
Honestly I don’t know what’ll happen with it but I can for sure say that I’m grateful they’ve provided the service they have over the years.
Without them we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience the game as we have and without the popularity this fan-project generated it’s unlikely Microsoft would’ve ever ported it over.
So, thank you everyone at Arks Layer and I hope we continue to support them in some capacity as we move forward as they have confirmed that they will continue to provide support to anyone looking to play on the Japanese servers.

Interestingly, or alarmingly – depending on where you live, the trailer and Microsoft mentioned that the game will be “coming to the West” in Spring 2020, but exactly what countries?
Looking at the official website for the game it states “Debuting in North America” with no mention of a European or Oceanic launch.
Does that mean that the game will be region locked to North America only and everyone else gets shafted?
That’s unlikely, but it does potentially mean one of two things:

  • That the game will launch in North America first and then move on to release in other Western regions such as Europe as the year goes on or:
  • Microsoft will provide North American servers but not region lock the game allowing people from Europe, Australia and other parts of the world, excluding Japan, to play the game on the North American servers.

This, naturally, would mean that everyone outside of North America would have latency issues so I’m honestly hoping this isn’t the case.
My hope is that Microsoft, with all the money they have opt to open the game worldwide with servers located in various countries, supporting the community that has supported the game all these years.
But that’s my hope. Realistically, so long as everyone can play together I can’t complain, especially since it will have been 8 years since the game launched in Japan when they finally get around to releasing it.

The game is also confirmed to be coming over completely free to play.
No buy to play then going free to play BS that South Korean publishers seem so fond of doing these days.
Not pay to play like WoW or Final Fantasy XIV.
Completely and 100% free to play, meaning freely accessible to anyone and everyone on both platforms.

I’m excited. I think PSO2 is one of the best, if not the best Anime MMORPG available.
I’ve always been upset that Sega never brought it over and localized it. I’ve mentioned that many times in the past.
So now that Microsoft is finally bringing it over, I have hope that they’ll do the release justice and provide us with a product we can all enjoy.
This is how you bring an MMO over from the East. This is how you go about publishing an MMO.
I have a few concerns with the release but nothing that will stop me from playing and enjoying Phantasy Star Online 2 when it launches next year.
I hope to see you all there as well regardless of if there are temporary IP blocks, only North American servers, or.. whatever else happens.
I guarantee you I’ll be there day 1.

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