So far, the list of platforms for which Sega’s releasing their upcoming sequel to their 2000 RPG hit Phantasy Star Online is pretty narrow: PC, Apple/Android devices, and the PlayStation Vita. There’s been no talk of a version coming to any of the three major game consoles, which has been admittedly confusing since Sega made a concerted effort to expand to several platforms (from Dreamcast to GameCube and Xbox, and later to PC) with the previous game. I pondered why this might be the case, and then I realized: all of the announced platforms have something in common - either touch or mouse/keyboard input.
Given that the game uses the typical MMORPG “palette” setup for selection of commands, it’d be essential to be able to select your moves as quickly as possible, and that’s just not as feasible with a traditional controller as it is with a touch pad. That’s the big reason, I think, why Sega’s selected the PS Vita as their lead gaming device and not the PlayStation 3. But it’s also the reason why I think it’s reasonable that the game will come to Wii U. The Wii U already comes with a giant touch screen - Sega could relegate all command input to the lower screen, while keeping the upper screen fairly uncluttered. Of course, if players want to stream the game to the controller, they can play using the original view.
Wii U’s improved focus on online experiences as well as its need for a major online experience early in its life also make it a good candidate. The only other online-based game we know about that’s on its way to the system is Dragon Quest X, and while that is another RPG, the field’s still pretty clear for a game like Phantasy Star Online to take off.
Of course, my thinking is also driven by the fact that I really, really want to see this game materialize on Wii U, so maybe that’s clouding my judgment… but I’m definitely seeing a pattern here. What do you think? Were you a fan of the original Phantasy Star Online? If PSO2 comes to Wii U, would that influence your decision to buy the hardware?