Sakai Talks with 4Gamer about PSO2 Alpha Test, PSU Update 3rd, And Infinity

4gamer was recently interviewed Sakai, and Terada, mainly about Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity. Sakai briefly talks about what the purpose about the PSO2 Alpha Test and a few tidbits about PSU Update 3rd.

This post is a copy paste of information added from the previous post, but I felt this  interview should have its own post instead.


Sakai Interview

Sakai and Terada did a 3 page interview with 4gamer, so lets summarize the major points. This interview didn't reveal any major aspects about the PSO2 though. (My personal comments are italicized and in this color)

  • PSU Update 3rd
    • Dewmans will not appear as a 5th race. They didn't want to split up the resources of the Phantasy Star team so greatly… since they are doing PC and non-PC games.
    • There was too much of a difference in service with the PS2 and PC versions. They decided that it was already practical to continue service on the PC version. (Most likely referencing the PS2 limitations..)
  • The purpose behind PSO2's Alpha Test
    • For aspects surrounding the game portion, they are seeking player opinions. "Which parts about the game are heading in a good direction?" "What parts fail to meet player expectations?" These are some of the questions they are seeking to answer within the alpha test.
    • Although, not everything is going to change, players' opinions help push the team to aim for something better. They want to remind everyone that this is just an Alpha Test and not a Beta Test.
    • The test is a bit behind schedule.
  • Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity
    • Dewmans were created during the planning stages but didn't make it since the workload was too great at the time. Now they're in Infinity.
    • "In development Dewmans were extremely strong at first, but then we quickly decreased that. Though their attack and technic power made for a very strong race, it made them overshadow the other races. So instead we weakened their defenses. This race is meant for advanced players who must rely on evading attacks." (Now it makes a bit more sense as to why their description said they would overpower the other races..)
    • 4gamer asked if it was difficult to make 10 character slots instead of 8 since the Dewmans were added.  They answered that it was impossible.  Making 10 character slots puts too much pressure on the memory. (Most likely not referring to storage space but PSP memory) An allegorical example would be the SUV attacks disappearing, something like that. It was a necessity to give up that feature.
    • Another feature they wanted to implement but couldn't due to memory limitations were to add different steps to the Install Data. When you install the game data, it consists of character and weapon data. So another step would add field data based on the capacity of your memory stick. (Obviously the PSN version doesn't have this problem but UMD players will hear loading sounds for every "sector/block" they visit. )
    • Though Episode 2, based on chapter size, is half of Episode 1, the dialogue is about 60% of Episode 1. You could think of it as Episode 1 is like a TV series, and Episode 2 is a movie
    • During development, they planned that you could not start Episode 2 until you finished Episode 1. Instead they placed a warning sentence for those who really wanted to start with Episode 1 first. Even Sakai himself objected to being unable to play Episode 2 without completing episode 1. 
    • Heathcliff Flowen and Rapico's partner cards aren't obtainable within the base game. Instead you can get their cards in the future. Perhaps you should check out event related information…
    • It was Terada's idea to implement passive communications while actively playing the game. He thought he was the first to implement it through Story Mode, however another game beat him to it. (Usually Passive Communications is done in sleep mode.)
    • They plan to have the PSU + PSP2i event sometime around Golden Week, a Japanese Holiday. This means the event could start at the end of April or very early May. (Keep in mind the earthquake may have impacted this date.)
    • They plan to distribute all hidden bosses/areas mission codes by May.  (Earthquake has impacted schedule)
    • Once a month, they plan to do a collaboration related mission. (Recall Fanta Epic Battle and Calorie Mate.)
    • They reduced the amount of collaboration content in the base game to increase the amount of original outfits. (This is apparent very much so by comparing the amount of visiphone passwords of unique collaboration content in PSP2 and PSP2i.  The point was to release collaboration projects as DLC instead. This doesn't mean he is stopping collabs, just that more original content should be readily available in the game at least…)
    • Even if PSP2i was your first game within the series, you can download older Phantasy Star Portable 2 DLC clothing and weapons and use them within your game. The team acknowledges they had a problem with the way Phantasy Star Portable 2 loads DLC. They fixed this problem in Infinity, and now you can load DLC easily without having to wait for the game to load it.
    • As for sales of paid DLC, it's not considerably that great. They're making a loss. The amount of people who download Free DLC is much different compared to Pay DLC.
    • Sega themselves have to cover the cost of the online servers. (But it makes you wonder how can they make a profit with the international servers without having Pay DLC.)
    • During development they had a hard time with the visual lobby handling communication for 12 players. They were told it couldn't be done. After some tuning here and there they were able to get it implemented. 
    • Forces were hardly used in Online Multiplayer in Portable 2. (So you can see why they implemented new technics and drastically changed PP usage. Foverse especially makes chaining very easy)

[via 4gamer]

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