Developed alongside Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity for the 10th anniversary of Phantasy Star Online, Phantasy Star Online 2 is a free-to-play MMORPG from SEGA's Phantasy Star series, and Spiritual Successor to the original Phantasy Star Online. Using all of what they learned from the Universe series, Sega has built the game in a style much like Online's, but incorporating features and aesthetics from Universe. After several alpha tests and a few beta tests, the game was released for PC on July 4th, 2012. A PS Vita version was also released on February 28th, 2013, and a Playstation 4 version was released on April 20th, 2016, both supporting cross-play capabilities with its PC title. In addition, a cloud gaming service version known as Phantasy Star Online 2 Cloud was released for the Nintendo Switch on April 4th, 2018.
Sometime in the future, mankind has undergone a technological revolution thanks to the discovery of a new type of energy particle called "Photons". The pinnacle of this age was the creation of "Oracle", a fleet of Colony Ships whose purpose was to explore the universe in search of new planets to colonise. Yet deep in the abyss of space Oracle soon encountered a deadly threat: the Darkers, an eldritch race who spread across the universe like a virus, infecting and mutating whatever they come into contact with. When the people of Oracle discovered that Photons were the antithesis to the Darkers, they gathered together those talented in photon manipulation into a new organsiation known as the "ARKS" (Artificial Relicit to Keep Species). Using the latest in photon-powered weaponry and equipment, the ARKS are tasked with holding the front line against the Darkers and investigating the root of their evil.
Much like its predecessors, the game has been divided into numerous "Episodes"; however, unlike previous entries, where an Episode would denote a major expansion pack, Episodes in PSO2 serve to split the game into various "seasons", each featuring major content updates and a unique style.
- EPISODE 1: The original release of the game. You are cast as a new ARKS recruit who narrowly survives their graduation exercise when it is unexpectedly attacked by Darkers. Guided by the enigmatic Xion and her pre-cognisant "Matter Board", you begin to investigate the reasons behind the largest and most dangerous spike of Darker activity in recorded history.
- Code: EPISODE 2 continues the story of the strange planetary incidents, which grow to encompass a new aquatic planet named Vopar. The emergence of a shadowy figure known as Luther sets into motion the final stages of a conspiracy that reaches back to the origins of the ARKS, and threatens their future. Introduced the Braver Class, a Japanese-themed class that fights with Katanas and Bullet Bows.
- Mission: EPISODE 3 focuses on the feudal Japan-esque planet of Harukotan, which is split into the "White Territory" occupied by the Shironians and the "Black Territory" of the Kuronians. A delicate peace maintained by Harukotan's goddess, the Ash Shrine Maiden Sukuna-hime, is reaching breaking point as something is inciting the Kuronians to launch an invasion of the White Territory. Introduced the Bouncer Class, a master of aerial combat that uses Jet Boots and Dual Blades.
- Reborn: EPISODE 4 takes place two years after the defeat of the Profound Darkness. A recent influx of unusual ARKS members has created suspicion amongst the ARKS, and you are awoken from cryonic sleep to investigate the issue. When an introductory mission with one such ARKS known as Hitsugi takes a turn for the worse, the player finds themselves in the midst of a mystery sweeping the planet "Earth" and a video game known as ''Phantasy Star Online 2''. Introduced the Summoner Class, an unusual class that wields a variety of familiars known as Pets to battle.
- Heroes: EPISODE 5: Taking place shortly after EPISODE 4, the ARKS are alerted to a black hole that has appeared where the planet Xion was once located and discover it leads to a parallel universe known as "Omega": a wartorn Dream World of knights, magic and monsters, created from the fragmented pieces of the Akashic Records. Guided by the spirit of Alma, who resembles the legendary "Klarisklaes I", the ARKS must investigate the mysterious "Bloomless Flowers" whose demonic magicks are fuelling the endless wars and stop the black hole before it consumes the real world. Introduces the first Successor Class, the Hero Class, merging melee, ranged, and Technique combat into one.
- Stars: EPISODE 6: Closing the black hole has inadvertently given rise to a new foe: Shiva, the Goddess of Demise, who seeks to reclaim what the universe took from her. Facing a threat unlike any other before, the Guardians must now join forces with allies both old and new to seek a way to stop the universe's impending destruction once more. Introduces the Phantom Class, a stylish Successor Class that combines the powers of the Katana, Assault Rifle, and Rod.
The Phantasy Star Online 2 subseries includes:
- Phantasy Star Online 2
- Phantasy Star Online 2es: Mobile game spinoff and companion app.
- Phantasy Star Online 2 -ON STAGE-: Screen-to-Stage Adaptation. Non-canon, but some of its elements were carried over to The Animation.
- Phantasy Star Nova: Darker and Edgier spinoff title for the Vita. Based on EPISODE 1.
- Phantasy Star Online 2: Side Stories: Short story compilation starring various minor characters. Based on EPISODE 2.
- Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation: The Anime of the Game, featuring an original prequel story to EPISODE 4.
- Phantasy Star Online 2 EPISODE 0: Manga that gives an alternate retelling of part of the game's events, starring Klariskrays II and the now-deceased Melphonsina.
- Phantasy Star Online 2 Trading Card Game: A Collectible Card Game based on the game.
- Pusonicomi: The official webcomic based on the game. Has an anime adaptation.
- Phantasy Star Online 2: Episode Oracle: The Anime of the Game. Unlike The Animation, Episode Oracle is a faithful adaptation of EPISODE 1, EPISODE 2, and EPISODE 3.
There have been a few attempts to bring the game outside of Japan; a Western version was originally announced as far back as 2012, but has since been more or less unofficially cancelled. An actual English release and a Taiwanese version were released to Southeast Asian countries in 2014, but suffered greatly from a lack of updates, P2W elements, and an overall poor localization, which caused that version to tank after just three years. However, there is an unofficial English translation for the Japanese version produced by dedicated series fans, and while playing overseas violates the Terms of Service, according to Phantasy Star Crew, they don't really mind either way.