In July of 2012, Sega announced plans to bring the popular multiplayer RPG Phantasy Star Online 2 to the west in “early 2013.” But that still hasn’t happened, much to fans’ consternation — and Sega won’t explain a thing.
In the world of gaming, it’s common to see big companies staying quiet about their products until the marketing schedule dictates that it’s OK to talk, but it’s not often we see a company announce something, promote it, and then never talk about it again.
Yet any attempts to ask Sega what’s up with the game are just met by the same answer: “The game is delayed.” In March of 2013, that was their answer. In July of 2013, that was their answer. Three months into 2014? Here’s part of the email conversation I had with a Sega representative last week:
Sega: Regarding the below, nothing has changed. The game is still delayed and we will update everyone as soon as we know more.
Schreier: Surely at this point it’s more than just a simple delay, no? I know more than a few readers have been waiting patiently for the game to come here, and they expected the release window to be “early 2013” – you guys really can’t help clarify things for them?
Sega: The game is delayed and we will share more info as soon as we know more.
Adding further insult for those who have been waiting, Sega will soon release Phantasy Star Online 2 in Southeast Asia. In English. Fans aren’t psyched about this.
While Sega isn’t the only company that has announced a game and then stayed quiet about it for years — Rockstar’s Agent and Sony’s The Last Guardian are just two examples of video games gone MIA — this is an unusual case. This isn’t a half-baked idea or an ambitious game stuck in development hell; Phantasy Star Online 2 is already complete. It’s been out in Japan for two years. Millions of people have played it.
So maybe Sega plans to quietly shelve the game here. Maybe they’re not saying anything because they have decided that it was a mistake to announce a western release, and they’re hoping this whole thing will just go away. (They should probably start by taking down the US website.)
Or maybe it really is delayed, and it will come out eventually, in which case Sega owes it to fans — many of whom have held off on playing the Japanese version of PSO2 because they thought it was coming here — to explain what’s going on. Two years after the announcement, Phantasy Star Online fans deserve more than “The game is delayed.”