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Sega and tri-Ace discuss the Vita's Phantasy Star Nova

Behind Phantasy Star Nova

Sega's Phantasy Star Nova was one of the games touted at the pre-Tokyo Game Show press conference Sony held in Japan two days ago. This week's issue of Famitsu magazine includes an interview with the main people leading the 70-plus staff working on the Vita title — one that harkens back to the series' non-massively-multiplayer roots.

"Phantasy Star Online 2 is the flagship title of the Phantasy Star series," series producer Satoshi Sakai told Famitsu. "PS Nova, meanwhile, is a new Phantasy Star series, one centered around multiplayer and an offline story mode. In that way, it's close to Phantasy Star Portable. PSO2 is enjoyed by a lot of people, but there are still many gamers who are turned off by the idea of online games. So, as we continue our current pace of PSO2 updates, we're also launching a new series that people who aren't into online gaming can get their hands on."

"Unlike the online PSO2," added Nova producer Yasuyuki Tsuzuki, "you can enjoy this game in the form of ad-hoc multiplayer, or by yourself in the story mode. The control system itself is based on PSO2's, so I think PSO2 gamers should have no problem getting into it. For the most part, it's being fully developed by tri-Ace under the supervision of Sega's Phantasy Star team."

This is the first time Sega's entrusted development of a PS title to an outside outfit, and Hiroyuki Tamura, producer over at tri-Ace, is excited. "As a developer, our first need is to build a product that our client can feel confident with," he said. "Above that, we also need to create something that the gamers can be satisfied with. With PS Nova, we're dealing with not just the supervision team at Sega, but all the many series fans and also all the many people who haven't played the series before. It's really gratifying, and I feel like we need to build a game that not only is worth the Phantasy Star name, but also stands on its own as a brand-new RPG title."

PS Nova takes place in roughly the same setting as the ongoing PSO2, but with a story that focuses more on "survival" and the bonds between crewmates. "It's the same world as PSO2, but tells its own unique story," Tsuzuki said. "The player is assigned to the starship Delta Variant, which discovers a new planet called Makia and then crash-lands on it after being attacked by unknown foes. You don't have access to Photon energy on this planet, one of the big differences from PSO2, so you have to obtain all the weapons and equipment you need to survive from the planet itself. Enemies usually drop weapons and equipment in this series, but not in this game. We'll explain how this works later, but for now I hope gamers can use their imagination."

The Vita-only title is due out next year. "We're working with a development team of over 70 people," Tamura said, "and overall there are over 200 people involved with the creation of PS Nova. All of them are having lots of fun creating this game, and I think that'll result in a really high-quality title coming into the hands of gamers."

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