Bandai has today released new information on .hack (pronounced "dot hack") for the PlayStation 2. The game has been nearly four years in the making, and the first of its four chapters is now scheduled for release in the US in February--shortly after the animated series begins to air on television.
As we've previously reported, the series is set in the near future and revolves around a virtual reality network game called The World, which, it seems, is where the PS2 game comes in. Players will get to assume the role of an outlaw player named Kite, who is on a mission to uncover the truth about who or what is behind The World. Kite will journey deep into the virtual world, eliminating enemies in contaminated areas of cyberspace as he progresses by obtaining codes that grant him access to new areas.
Interestingly, .hack is described as a "simulated MMORPG," which, along with a reference made by Bandai to players being able to combine keywords to generate customized fields, suggests that players will be able to converse with characters in the game in the same way they would with other players in an online RPG. Because the conversations will be made up of preset phrases, the game is also able to incorporate a voice-over that, it's been revealed today, will be available both in Japanese and English.
The first chapter of .hack is scheduled for release in February and will come with a free 45-minute original anime movie intended to aid players in solving some of the mysteries in the game. For more information on .hack, check out our previous coverage of the game.