Long ago, the space colony of Oracle, who pioneered the use of an advanced particle energy known as "Photons", fought a seemingly endless struggle against the Falspawn, creatures of evil whose sole purpose is to destroy all there is in the universe. With the aid of a special individual known as the "Guardian" and their allies, Oracle finally put an end to the cycle of fate and destroyed the source of all evil in the universe once and for all.
It's been 1000 years since Oracle's final battle. ARKS, now settled on the planet Halpha, have spent decades protecting their new home and its inhabitants from the mysterious DOLLS, enemies from regions unknown with even more mysterious purpose. Further complicating matters is the appearance of the Meteorn, entities who appear on Halpha via pods who have no memory of their past but have unparalleled skill as ARKS, oftentimes joining their new allies on the front lines. Players take on the role of a Meteorn and new ARKS recruit tasked with fighting back the threat of the DOLLS and discovering their secrets.
Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis (officially shortened to "PSO2:NGS") is an upcoming "title" in SEGA's Phantasy Star series and a sequel to Phantasy Star Online 2. Despite having the appearance of a new game, New Genesis will release in the form of a large-scale update to the original PSO2 and will co-exist alongside the original game. It is set to release in June 2021 in Japan on the PlayStation 4 and PC (with Cloud versions for Nintendo Switch and PC), while it will release in North America on the Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. Japanese beta tests were held between January and February 2021 and during April 2021, with an English version beta set to launch in May.
New Genesis is an online Action RPG, much like the original PSO2 and many of the post-tetralogy Phantasy Star games before it. However, the game integrates modern mechanics like a Wide Open Sandbox element (called "Open-field") that features a vast, explorable world with a persistent day-night cycle and detailed, varied environments. Notably, instead of being completely separated from its predecessor, it will be accessible through PSO2 itself in the form of a separate game instance, allowing players to use their existing PSO2 characters within NGS and along with it carry over certain items and access to certain features from the original game.
This game includes examples of:
- Actionized Sequel: While PSO2 gradually got more actionized as Successor Classes and balance updates were introduced, this game kicks it up a notch; in addition to removing the Perfect Attack feature, classes generally fight faster and more fluidly akin to PSO2's Scion Classes while retaining a level of weight and feel similar to standard Phantasy Star gameplay.
- Balance Buff:
- Trailers demonstrate that all six original classes now have Scion-style mechanics, such as having dedicated blocking/evasion Weapon Actions, a Counter-Attack, and the ability to block and counter attacks with Sidestep a la Luster, making combat significantly more fluid.
- Gunner skills have also undergone a significant rework, as Chain Trigger is no longer part-based and Stylish Roll can now be chained infinitely with itself.
- Character Customization: The game features a vastly-expanded character creator, compounding on the highly-flexible and expansive character creation options featured in PSO2. While many new options are limited to NGS cosmetics and are thus incompatible with some existing PSO2 outfits and items, NGS features new options such as:
- Expanded face customization options, including eyebrow angle/position/thinness, pupil position/size, and the ability to determine how open or closed an eye is by default.
- More specific body customization sliders, including sliders for thighs, calves, feet, hips/butt, hands, upper arms, and lower arms. Males also now have access to a bust slider like females.
- A heavily reworked accessory system. Accessories now run on a cost system, with different accessories having different costs. The maximum cost limit is 17, allowing players to equip far more than the previous limit of four accessories. Accessories now also allow players to choose the initial placement for the accessory and move sliders from there, instead of accessories being stuck to specific positions on the body.
- Most significantly, players now have the option of changing between male and female bodies of any race at will regardless of the player's initial settings. Race-specific traits can now also be toggled on and off regardless of the player's racial body, such as being able to equip Newman ears, Deuman horns, and heterochromatic eyes simultaneously. Certain NGS-specific cosmetics (primarily Setwear) also comes in both male and female variations in a single package and adjust themselves accordingly when the player swaps to an alternate gender body. Facial customization options also now allow players to select between male and female facial bases of any variety regardless of the body type or body gender.
- Co-Op Multiplayer: Still a core mechanic as per PSO standard; however, with the introduction of an open world, the game keeps to the spirit of the series' limited multiplayer by randomly matching players to 8-player rooms every time they enter a new area, similar to PSO2's Multi-Player Area feature.
- Counter-Attack: Taking cues from the Scion Classes from the original game, the basic classes are now outfitted with powerful counter attacks that can be activated by successfully evading attacks with Step, such as Sword delivering a powerful uppercut or Rifle chucking an explosive that deals heavy damage.
- Distant Sequel: 1000 years is quite a long time after Oracle's war, which helps justify the new setting, enemies and characters. This specific time skip is a tradition for the series as a whole, however, dating back to the original quadrilogy, where Dark Falz would revive every 1000 years.
- Double Jump: An inherent ability is the ability to double jump, making getting to high places and large enemies easier.
- Elite Mook: In the beta, you can occasionally find Dread Keeper enemies in specific areas of the map during poor weather conditions at certain times of day. Dread Keeper enemies are much more powerful than their normal counterparts, being of substantially higher level and sporting inflated stats. Similar conditions also allow you to encounter Gigantics, giant-sized enemies with similarly-increased difficulty. In both cases, successfully defeating them grants a chance at acquiring rare Augments exclusive to special enemy types.
- Later Installment Weirdness:
- This is the first Action RPG in the series to remove Perfect Attacks, a key mechanic introduced in the original PSO that rewards players for linking their attacks with good timing. While the concept was explored with the Summoner class in PSO2, this is the first time this has applied to all playable classes.
- This is also the first game to graduate from the usual three-step combos and introduce five-step combos. The Luster class from the original tried out extending the basic combo with the Extra Attack skill, and similarly to Extra Attack, your final combo hit deals high damage relative to your other normal attacks.
- Unlike previous games, where all the action and non-action happen in the same fields during Quests, NGS splits exploration and battle into two distinct zones, which can be entered and exited at the player's discretion.
- Pre-release footage shows that the way stats work have been radically overhauled compared to any other game in the series; as opposed to melee/ranged and Tech damage being split into different stats or the MEL/RNG/TEC split of the original PSO2 and Phantasy Star Nova, all offensive and defensive stats have been combined into a single "ATK" and "DEF" stat respectively. Furthermore, this is the first game to introduce Combat Power, an overall estimate of the player's strength that is also used to gate access to content.
- Limit Break: In pre-release footage, Photon Blasts have been reworked into more conventional "super moves" usable by the players that have devastating coverage and power, such as Swords being able to rend foes with a powerful slash or Assault Rifles calling down an orbital strike.
- In-Universe Game Clock: While day-night cycles were in PSO2, they were strictly limited to a few fields (Coast and Floating Facility). New Genesis expands the concept to the entire game world, with the entire environment adjusting to the effects of daytime and nighttime. A class of enemy known as ALTERS even sports different behavior depending on whether it's night or day.
- Mascot Mook: Rappies are always around, just like in every other post-tetralogy game.
- Mysterious Past: Dubbed "Meteorn" and completely absent of their memories, no one knows what the deal is with the player characters, where they came from or if they at all have any relation to the DOLLS thanks to similarly descending from orbit. They're notably stronger than the average ARKS operatives on Halpha, however, so their recruitment was welcome nonetheless.
- Mythology Gag:
- Just like the original game, the demo characters are named Ash, Rupica, Sue, and Gilliam.
- In the opening movie, Ash does the same flipping jump that PSO2 Ash does in the first opening movie of the original game.
- The fast-travel devices are called Ryuker Devices, referencing the Ryuker Technique from the tetrology and Online that allows the party to warp back to the nearest town or Pioneer 2.
- Not Quite Flight: Players have the ability to use "Photon Glide" to more or less fly across the field and approach both terrain and enemies from above. Think of it more akin to Knuckles the Echidna's gliding skill.
- Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: The game still retains the "Phantasy Star Online 2" in the title despite being a sequel and tacks on a subtitle, just to ensure that players know that it's a direct sequel and not a "Phantasy Star Online 3".
- Officially Shortened Title: NGS for New Genesis.
- Old Save Bonus: As NGS is quite literally being built on top of PSO2 itself, the game allows players to use their existing characters in NGS, which allows them to carry over things like weapons, Units, all cosmetics and Emotes/Lobby Actions, storage expansions, Premium, Material Storage, Ex Storage, AC, Star Gems and so forth. Character progression and Meseta/FUN don't carry over, the latter for economy reasons.
- Red Sky, Take Warning: In the beta, the presence of an Urgent Quest is indicated by red waves covering the entire sky.
- Robot Buddy:
- Mags are still around. Unlike in previous games, where they are battle companions and are the main source of Photon Blasts, in New Genesis Mags primarily exist for their Active Sonar ability, allowing players to detect nearby points of interest on the field.
- There are also Region Mags, giant-sized Mags much larger than the players themselves that can be found out on the field. Region Mags are fed much in the same way that Mags are fed in PSO2, but the food gauge is shared across the entire server. In addition to granting temporary personal buffs when sufficiently fed, enough players feeding the Region Mag will eventually bestow buffs to the entire server within a given area of effect.
- Scenery Porn: Halpha is populated with gorgeous, vast landscapes where every single frame can be a wallpaper. And as if to show off, the entire opening movie is rendered in-engine, instead of the pre-rendered movies used by the original game.
- Sequel: The Original Title: Subverted; while the logos highlight the name "New Genesis" over the original title, the official naming order is Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis.
- Soft Reboot: Conceptually the game serves as an attempt to start semi-fresh, rewinding back to what seems to be the base classes of Hunter, Ranger and Force but with the improvements and overhauls of other classes and the Successors from PSO2 without the serial escalation of its predecessor. And while the story barely has any info yet, the massive time skip of a thousand years seems to imply the story at least trying to start off on its own pace, without totally divorcing itself from what came prior.
- Time Skip: NGS takes place one millennium after the end of PSO2.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: In addition to the DOLLS, the new world is also inhabited by a variety of docile wildlife called TAMES. You can proceed to kill said TAMES to harvest ingredients from them.
- Virtual Paper Doll: As much of a feature in the original game as it is in this one, and trailers tout that there's even more options than before.
- Wall Jump: A technique called the Wall Kick allows players to gain an additional third jump by pressing the jump button near a solid wall, although it can only be used once per jump.
- Wide Open Sandbox: NGS is the first Phantasy Star game to change over from instanced fields to a seamless open world (dubbed "open-field") where players can traverse from the lobby to the game area and between zones in real-time a la Monster Hunter: World.