Anime Trending had the opportunity to interview Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis Series Producer Yuya Kimura, a veteran developer within Sega, about some of the exciting changes and insights this year for the MMO. He also discusses the recent updates, such as the Black Lagoon collaboration and major gameplay changes to the Bouncer class, which was introduced in the December update.
With 2023 coming to a close, what were some of your favorite aspects of working on Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis?
Yuya Kimura: In the ver.2 update implemented in June, a UGC feature called Creative Space was added, which allows players to freely create their own Spaces. This content was planned and developed to offer a high degree of freedom, with various ways to play depending on the ideas of the players. Even so, we are constantly surprised and pleased to see the Spaces that players have actually created, which have surpassed what we envisioned in both abundance and quality.
What are some of the goals and changes made to improve the new player experience? Are there any aspects of the new player experience that you find most helpful moving forward?
To make it easier for new and returning players to catch up to current veterans, we focused on relaxing requirements as well as making other improvements.
Now we have a permanent +300% boost on EXP Earned in Combat Sectors up to a certain level.
Also, just by leveling up, you’ll get pre-enhanced equipment appropriate for your level. Until you reach the highest level, you’ll have no real problems with your equipment.
This was implemented in phases through not only the updates in December but also those in October and November.
Furthermore, while the latest chapter of the story is Chapter 6, the overall difficulty of story progression has been eased. By clearing up to Chapter 5, players receive substantial rewards such as a large amount of in-game currency called N-Meseta and obtain a plethora of avatar items. This allows players to enjoy fashion and other aspects while smoothly advancing through their adventures.
Please don’t hesitate and feel like it’s too late to start playing. If you have even a slight interest in NGS, the base game is free to play, so we encourage you to give it a try.
The December update included the high level Malignant Dark Falz Aegis quest. What are some of the design decisions made to emphasize the challenge for high level players?
The high-level content Malignant Dark Falz Aegis, released in December 2023, is an enhanced, Standing Quest version of the Urgent Quest: Dark Falz Aegis released in February 2023.
In Dark Falz Solus, released in August 2023, which is the same type of high-difficulty Standing Quest, players need to watch for signs and figure out where to position themselves to avoid attacks, rather than avoiding attacks with actions like sidestepping and guarding. With this, we aimed for high-level content with a different feeling to combat than we’d had with other enemies up to now.
Because of that, in the powered-up version of Dark Falz Aegis (Malignant Dark Falz Aegis) released in December, we designed it as a return to NGS’s original style with a heavy focus on remembering the timing of enemy attacks and using actions like sidestepping and guarding to dodge attacks.
Compared to the regular version of the quest, in which, compared to other action games, Malignant Dark Falz Aegis has relatively easy to dodge attacks and the fighting has a leisurely rhythm, and thus we believe that the changes are quite extensive. Unlike Solus, we were mindful of changing the way attacks are avoided when we designed it, since the enemy is one that players have fought many times before.
What were some of the reasons behind the Bouncer class changes? How do these new aspects improve the experience for Bouncer players?
Going forward, we plan to implement updates for current classes when needed.
The reason we chose to start with adjustments to the Bouncer class is because the main weapon for Bouncers, Soaring Blades, has had a lot of issues with its Weapon Action specifications and is also difficult to control. We had received a lot of input from players that they wished for this to be improved, so we wanted to take this opportunity to make some big adjustments to how the class behaves.
We believe that these adjustments have made Bouncer gameplay really smooth.
While the development team was set to make these improvements, due to the large change from the previous specifications, we had apprehensions about potential negativity from players who were used to the Bouncer’s current specs. However, the reaction to the update has been very positive and most players have been receptive to it.
The Black Lagoon collaboration event begins on December 20th. What was the creative process like for designing the Weapon Camo and avatars for Revy, Roberta, Hansel, and Gretel?
First, we received initial design sheets and other materials from the anime and designed 3D models to recreate them.
The first models we created were made according to the model sheets. However, the first models were a bit different than the impressions that we had from watching the anime or reading the original manga.We thought that the players would also probably feel the same way, so in addition to the model sheets, we also referenced impactful scenes from the anime and original manga to improve the quality, soaking up expressions that could not be captured from the model sheets alone.
Also, this time we created Character Creation Data for publicity using the Cell Shading feature implemented with NGS ver.2 to try and make the images as close to the original as possible.
What elements of Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis should players look forward to in 2024? What aspects are you most looking forward to?
This was shared in the roadmap on December 26, 2023, , but in 2024 and beyond, we will be adding a new quest of some type every week or two.We are also fleshing out our collab Scratch Ticket releases.
The second half of the Super Genesis Festival will be held in 2024, with the Kvaris Region receiving an update from January to March. 3rd-anniversary events will be held from April to May, and at the beginning of summer, a long-awaited new field will be added.
Plus, a gigantic new action armament system unique to NGS and within the science-fiction game genre will be implemented, which will transform the gameplay experience for all players. I hope everyone will look forward to trying it out!
Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis ver. 2 is free to play on PC, XBOX ONE, PS4, Steam, and Epic Games Store.