The cries of the Japanese game fans echo far and wide. They bounce repeatedly off the ears of like-minded devotees, and occasionally everyone will ring in on a sense of agreement via Twitter retweets and Facebook likes, but alas, these pleas don’t always result in benevolent action from our game publishing overlords. When it comes to Japanese games yet unreleased in overseas locales, what comes to mind? Is it Mother 3? Is it the elusive PS3 version of Tales of Vesperia? And how about the much sought-after PSP versions of Valkyria Chronicles 2 & 3?
In my mind, there is one experience that seems like it could be so close, yet blows to the soul like this confirm that it is all too far away: Phantasy Star Online 2. Released on PC in 2012, many assumed a Western release was not too far off, considering the relative popularity of previous games in the series, as well as the releases of other MMORPG outings like Final Fantasy XIV. But alas, this day, another platform supporting the game has been announced, yet it alludes us non-Japanese folk. SEGA announced Phantasy Star Online 2 for the Nintendo Switch, during the most recent Nintendo Direct for Japanese audiences, due out in 2018.
This version specifically is known as Phantasy Star Online 2: Cloud, since the game runs entirely on SEGA’s servers, requiring minimal file size and storage on your Nintendo Switch console.
Phantasy Star Online 2 is an action gameplay-based massively multiplayer online game. It’s free to play and only requires real cash if you plan to buy in-game items and enhancements. It has received high praise due to its fantastic futuristic world, attractive character designs, and incredible community.
Even worse about all this teasing is that the game actually has been planned for a Western release. At Penny Arcade Expo in 2013, SEGA mentioned that there were plans to bring the game to players outside of Japan and the lucky folks in Southeast Asia. I mean, there’s already an English translation released in that regard, but there is no official North American nor European release or host of servers. Again, so close, yet so far away!