What's fashionable for RPGs these days? A bunch of free stuff? Cool limited edition games? Well yeah, but it seems that becoming an online game is even more fashionable. Now that two popular RPG series are becoming part of the online fad, will we see more and more series follow the trend? With the heavy support behind Phantasy Star Online and Final Fantasy XI, it wouldn't be surprising to see other series follow their lead.
Square representatives went on record yesterday in Japan to discuss the future of Final Fantasy X and XI. Square has tentatively reaffirmed plans to release Final Fantasy X by March 31, 2001 in Japan for the PlayStation 2. However, as predicted, associated online functions will not be in operation until Fall 2001 due to current network development. Despite this delay, though, Square predicts sales in excess of two million units. Final Fantasy XI has been officially rescheduled for release in Spring 2002. While the game will probably be finished by the end of the year, Square plans to use the Winter as a testing period for Final Fantasy XI and its associated PlayOnline network. Final Fantasy XI will be Square's first exclusively online RPG.
As if there wasn't already enough promotion for Phantasy Star Online, Sonic Team decided that they will reward those who preorder it. Sonic Team plans to giveaway 5 Sharp DVD players, 5 Minidisc players, 5 Casio wristwatches, 5 Dreameye units, and 20 Poochi's to preordered customers who are chosen at random from participating retailers across Japan. Those interested must preorder between November 16, 2000 and December 20, 2000.
Hopefully, by the time Phantasy Star Online is ready to be released here in the US, Sega of America will give its online RPG all the hype and promotion it's receiving in Japan.
November 18th, 2000
Official Phantasy Star Online Site