Is Phantasy Star Online 2 Finally Getting a Western Localization?

A new career opportunity ad hints that a western localization is still in the works, in spite of the fact that no official announcement for over a year.

(An update to the discussion first started in this article: Phantasy Star Online 2 Ignores Western Audience In Favor of 2014 Asia Release?)

It’s been awhile since July 2012 when Phantasy Star Online 2 made it to the Windows platform in Japan. It’s felt like even longer waiting for the free-to-play MMO to land in North America.

Since the release of the first Phantasy Star game back in 1988, PS titles have featured on every single new Sega console, and remakes and new releases have made it onto pretty much every other console in existence. So it’s no wonder that when Sega originally broke the news that PSO2 would be released in “early 2013” for those of us in North America, fans were ecstatic.

Sega fanned the flames by debuting a playable demo at PAX Prime 2012, and then proceeded to crush fan hopes when Sega announced in March 2013 that the US version would be delayed. No real reason was ever given for the delay, and the last word we ever heard on the subject was from a Sega spokesperson who told Polygon, “We don’t have any specifics but will update everyone as soon as there are more details to share.”

No new word has been forthcoming since then, and the US PSO2 blog has not been updated since 2012.

And now?

While there has still been no official word regarding a western localization, a career opportunity ad from Sega and Relic Entertainment posted back in December has generated some recent buzz and some tentative hopes that the idea has not been completely abandoned.

Discovered by NeoGAF user Nirolak, the ad is for a server engineer at Relic Entertainment:

Server Engineer

Programming/Engineering | Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | 12/23/2013

Relic Entertainment, a wholly owned studio of SEGA, is the award winning RTS developer of Homeworld, Dawn of War and Company of Heroes, among other games. Relic was founded on the premise that it is entirely possible to ship first class, genre altering, AAA titles, and have a life. Relic is based out of beautiful Vancouver, Canada, a city that has breath-taking mountain and ocean views, along with snowboarding and skiing, golfing year-round and amazing hiking trails. If you love games, enjoy working collaboratively with smart, creative people, and have diverse personal interests outside of work – you’ll enjoy our culture.

What you will be doing

  • Ramp up and perform due diligence on an existing live MMO project in development in Japan, embedded with the live team
  • Gain full understanding of the game and code architecture, content authoring pipelines, build and deployment process, engineering process, and current code status
  • Establish working relationships with key members of Japanese development team
  • Participate in and contribute to minor/peripheral engineering tasks on the project, as well as in daily project planning, code reviews, release process, etc.
  • Create/translate documentation of existing code modules, tools, processes and work flows
  • Prepare regular status and activity reports to Producer
  • Prepare a full written project evaluation

What you should have

  • 5+ years’ engineering experience from PC client/server based MMO development
  • Ability to spend extended (3+ months) periods of time on-site in Tokyo
  • Ideally fluent in Japanese and English languages
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

As it stands, the only Japanese MMORPG currently live from Sega is Phantasy Star Online 2. Sega has remained mum on the subject, but fans continue to insist that this can only mean some progress is finally being made.

What do you think?

Earlier last year, it was reported that an English release for PSO2 was to be released in Asia in 2014, where the localizations would be split between Gamania Digital Entertainment and AsiaSoft. Since then, no release date has been announced.

The Asia release was expected, since those regions promised the highest demand and the highest likelihood of profitability in their cash shop venture. But if there’s no news of the more pressing Asia release, can we really be looking forward to a true blue North American one?

In fact, many North American fans have already given up on the prospect and have chosen instead to play an English-translated version of the Japanese PSO2 on either PC or PS Vita. At this point, even if they did release a North American release, many of these players, already firmly entrenched with their (technically ToS-violating) Japanese accounts, won’t even consider switching. Then who’s left?

To me it sounds like Sega has dropped the ball… everywhere. After all, there’s only so much Sonic we can take – and they just don’t seem to realize that.

(Many thanks to user Dead_1424 for first bringing this to my attention in the other article. Comments weren’t getting through to my inbox so it took a while for me to receive the update.)