Go Sega! Believe it or not, the co-op action/rpg Phantasy Star Online (PSO) turns 10-years-old this year, originally appearing on Sega's monster (but seemingly unloved) gaming console, the Dreamcast, back in Q4 2000 / Q1 2001. The game was updated and re-released as Version 2 for the Dreamcast later in 2001, and then re-appeared as PSO Episodes I & II on the Nintendo GameCube and Microsoft's original Xbox console in 2002. PSO Episode III C.A.R.D. Revolution arrived on the GameCube in 2003.
But the consoles weren't alone. Sega shipped a PC version of PSO Version 2 in 2001, however it was only released in Asia. Sega followed up with an international release of Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst in 2004, a port of the Xbox version that included Episode I, Episode II, and a new Episode IV which offered a server-side saving system, a team system and more.
Surprisingly, Sega revealed this week at TGS 2010 that a true sequel to Phantasy Star Online is in the works--none of that Episode stuff we saw all those years ago. More importantly, the game is (so far) only slated for the PC--a shocking surprise given the franchise's console-laden history. According to Phantasy Star series producer Satoshi Sakai, Phantasy Star Online 2 won't be a rehash of its predecessor, but rather a "completely new work" and a "true successor."
Currently there's no other information available, however Phantasy Star Online 2 is slated for a 2011 release.
PSO fans on the go can now pick up Phantasy Star Portable 2 for Sony's PSP, released back on September 14. The game finally brings the "online" portion to the portable franchise as experienced with Phantasy Star Online and the "Episode" versions. Fortunately, Phantasy Star Portable 2's online component will not require a monthly subscription. A demo is also available to download and play for free which also provides online multiplayer support.
Phantasy Star Universe was released for the PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 in October 2006. Unlike the PSO franchise, Universe's main focus was on the single-player campaign, however the game also offered an online component--both of which featured the same hack-n-slash action/RPG gameplay. The story was thus continued in an expansion pack called Ambition of the Illuminus, released in September 2007.