TOKYO - At Sega's Game Jam 2 event in Japan, Sonic Team has announced Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II as the official title for its network online RPG for the Nintendo GameCube. The subtitle stems from the addition of a new scenario, which takes place after the storyline introduced in the Dreamcast version.
The GameCube version will feature new character classes HUcaseal, RAmarl, and FOmar. There will also be new levels in the Episode II scenario. While the deep forest and seashore levels were previously revealed at last autumn's Tokyo Game Show, the high mountain level was shown for the first time here at the Game Jam 2 event. New weapons were shown and rare ones from the original were also given newly revamped graphics.
Players will be able to create and save up to four characters in the game. Since the GameCube console only has two memory card slots and the game supports four players, the character save data menu will feature a temporary character slot. This way, players can swap memory cards after they have transferred their characters into the temporary slot.
In related news, goods and merchandise based on the series were also announced. One of the more interesting items is the trading card game called "PSO Card Battle." Sample cards were on display at the booth, and the label also indicated "compatible platform: not yet decided." It is possible guess this may be related to the e-Card system used for the Game Boy Advance, but nothing has been confirmed. We'll keep you posted when additional announcements are made.
Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II for the GameCube is scheduled for a release sometime during summer in Japan.