The GameCube version of Sega's Phantasy Star Online has received a name change and is now called Phantasy Star Online: Episode I and II. Episode I indicates a straight port from the Dreamcast's PSO Version 2, while Episode II stands for GameCube exclusive additions such as two new areas, three new character classes (HUcaseal, RAmarl, and FOmar), a four player split screen, and an enhanced interface and visuals.
The game will be available in the following bundles:
Game and GC modem, 9,800yen (73.82USD)
Game, GC modem and keyboard, 16,600yen (125.05USD)
Game, GC modem and GameCube system, 37,700yen (283.99USD)
Game, GC modem, keyboard and GameCube system, 44,500yen (335.22USD)
The trial phase of PSO will start in May; however, interested users can already register themselves on Sega's official website, starting today until April 30th. The game is expected to be released sometime in summer 2002. Thirty days of playing PSO: Episode I and II will cost Japanese gamers 600yen (4.52USD); Ninety days, 1,500yen (11.23USD).
Additional reports from Sega's GameJam event: After showing off the forest and beach areas of the new Phantasy Star Online at Fall TGS, Sega finally revealed the mountain region for the first time at GameJam, in addition to new weapons and new animations for existing weaponry.
Up to four characters can be saved in the game, but due to the GameCube having only two memory card slots and the game supporting up to four players, the save data menu will have a temporary slot, so multiple players can swap out their memory cards once they've transferred their info to the temporary directory.
A new trading card game was also on display in conjunction with PSO: Episode I & II, called PSO Card Battle. Samples were on display at Game Jam; it's been speculated that the card game may have some connection with the e-Card reader being released for the GameBoy Advance.
Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II is currently scheduled for a summer release in Japan; no real release date has been announced for the US. You can check out movies of PSO: Episode I & II from GameJam; the 56K version and the broadband version. The video contains commentary in Japanese, so be forewarned.
Additional reporting by Sumire Kanzaki