Two-and-a-half years is a very long time. Whether it be for a relationship, a job, or even live support for an MMORPG, it is a major milestone that should create feelings of real accomplishment in anyone who achieves it. This month, Phantasy Star Online 2 NEW GENESIS (PSO2 NGS) turns two-and-a-half, and the team behind the game is releasing some seriously new content that is designed to lure back old players and initiate new ones into Planet Halpha in PSO2 NGS.
I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to conduct a SECOND (yes, SECOND!) email interview with Phantasy Star Online 2 New Genesis’ series producer, Yuya Kimura, where we talked about his career at SEGA, the upcoming Super Genesis Festival, and more.
Operation Rainfall: Could you please introduce yourself?
Yuya Kimura: My name is Yuya Kimura, and I’m the series producer of Phantasy Star Online 2 NEW GENESIS (NGS) at SEGA.
OR: You’ve been at SEGA for 21 years, per our last interview in June 2023. Can you tell us one or two of your favorite personal memories worked at such a historic video game company?
YK: I’ve had a pretty unique career over my 21 years here, focused entirely on the development of the Phantasy Star series.
Although there are people who have worked for the same game company for more than 20 years, it is rare in the industry for a creator to work continuously on the same series of titles over all that time. Being involved with the series for so long has given me a lot of happy memories. For example, I’ve heard several stories of people who met and got married because of the series, and I sometimes meet parents with children who play the series as a family. There have also been cases where new SEGA employees played a title I was involved in when they were young—and it was that title that inspired them to become a game developer, and now they’ve actually joined SEGA and are involved in the same title. That’s really a priceless joy that I couldn’t have experienced without having worked for SEGA for so long.
OR: Phantasy Star Online 2 NEW GENESIS ver.2’s December 2023 update is focused on new and returning players for the game’s two-and-a-half year anniversary. Why did you decide to focus this major year-end update about making the storyline more accessible to those types of gamers?
YK: In June 2023, the game was upgraded to Phantasy Star Online 2 NEW GENESIS ver. 2 and new elements such as Creative Space and Portable Holograms were implemented that attracted new players and brought back returning players. However, the battle content for core users released from August onwards had a high barrier to play. In addition, many people who played the content felt that the rewards were not commensurate with the difficulty level or playtime. For those reasons, some people gave up playing midway through.
In response, we made adjustments in October and November, including easing the Join Conditions to make them easier to meet, rebalancing rewards, and implementing a boost campaign. As a result, we believe that the game is stabilizing, still slowly but at a better clip than before. In addition, in December, we will be making NGS easier to play than ever before by further easing requirements and revamping rewards. We hope this will bring back inactive players and entice new users to try NGS.
OR: What kind of changes does The 2½ Year Anniversary Campaign: Super Genesis Festival have to make it so players can experience the storyline more easily?
YK: First, I would like to say that NGS has become really easy to play as of Dec 6, 2023, on a permanent basis, unrelated to the ongoing Super Genesis Festival campaign. To make it easier to catch up with the top players, there’s a permanent +300% boost to EXP Earned in Combat Sectors up to a certain level. Also, just by leveling up, you’ll get pre-enhanced equipment appropriate for your level. Until you reach the highest level, you’ll have no real problems with your equipment. Plus, in NGS, you can set up a Sub-Class in addition to your Main Class. Previously only 50% of the EXP you earned with your Main Class was applied to your Sub-Class, but now that’s been bumped up to 90%.
The latest chapter of the story is Chapter 6. We’ve eased back on the overall difficulty of progressing through the story—as a reward for completing Chapter 5, for example, you get a huge amount of the in-game currency, N-Meseta, as well as tons of avatar items. This lets you quickly push ahead with your adventures while enjoying fashion and other aspects of the game.
Regarding fashion, the period during which you can edit your body shape and other elements of your character’s appearance at the Salon for free after creating a new character has been extended to 72 hours of log in time, a significant increase from the previous 5-hour total. We also have a convenient feature where 15 days of Material Storage is automatically granted after finishing the tutorial.
During the Super Genesis Festival campaign period, we’re running a Use the Salon to your heart’s content! Campaign, and distributing a free Color-Change Pass (x15), Material Storage Use (15 Days) (x1), and more, making it even easier to jump in and play. It’s really the perfect time for new players and ARKS who have been away to come and play NGS.
OR: Also, what new content can veteran players expect in The 2½ Year Anniversary Campaign: Super Genesis Festival?
YK: First of all, overall, there will be more opportunities to obtain the 10-star Flugelgard weapon series. These will be added to some quests that did not previously drop them and drop rates will increase in quests where they already drop.
In early December, the popular Standing Quest: Leciel Exploration will be expanded with new elements and upgraded rewards. Then in mid-December, Dark Falz Aegis, previously only available as an Urgent Quest or Trigger Quest, will make its debut as a Standing Quest in an enhanced, powered-up version.
All of these are challenging, but since a 10-star weapon is included in the drop rewards, we encourage you to give them a try.
“Being involved with the series for so long has given me a lot of happy memories.”
OR: During this timed event from December 6, 2023 through January 24, 2024, there are rewards players can earn. Can you tell us a bit more about what kind of rewards gamers can expect when they participate in it?
YK: In addition to what I just mentioned about the Super Genesis Festival Campaign, from Dec 6-19, 2023 we will be running a Super Treasure Scratch campaign, where twice the usual amount of Treasure Scratch tickets can be earned in Daily Tasks and Treasure Scratch tickets will be added as drops in all Urgent Quests. Plus, during this period, you’ll be able to complete Urgent Quests twice.
In addition, starting on Dec 20, 2023, a new feature called the Reward Box will be added where, by completing the target Daily Tasks, you’ll be able to earn lots of popular past Weapon Camo and avatar items. It works like a Scratch Ticket, but in box format—that means items are never duplicated after being obtained, and, if you take the time, you can be sure to get all of the items.
There will be more campaigns and other ways to get your hands on a variety of rewards from Dec 27, 2023. Details will be announced in the NGS Headline broadcast on Dec 26, 2023.
OR: One of the biggest surprises for me in this announcement is that there will be an increase in drops for the 10★ Flugelgard series that was released as part of the November 15, 2023, patch. What kind of increase are we talking about? Do you mean that it will be spread across more events, or are drop percentage rates increasing? If we are talking percentage drop rate, can you give us an idea of how significant of an increase it is?
YK: The upward revision of the drop rate is permanent from Dec 6, 2023 and is not limited to the event period.
Regarding the increase in the drop rate, we’ve made it even higher than the Drop Rate +100% boost campaign that we had in November for a variety of content.
OR: Along those lines: How do you determine what the drop-rate percentage for items should be when you’re releasing new content?
YK: The number of drops and number of equipment for the newest weapons are checked daily, and if the actual numbers of drops and equipment are lower than the number of drops and equipment that the development staff had expected before the release, the number is revised upward, as is happening in this case.
OR: At the start of November, a new anti-cheat tool by Wellbia was implemented into Phantasy Star Online 2 NEW GENESIS ver.2. Can you talk a bit about your efforts to combat cheating in Phantasy Star Online 2 NEW GENESIS ver.2, and how does SEGA and your team handles people who are caught cheating in the game?
YK: Since the game launched, we have always devoted a lot of time and money to anti-cheat measures. However, while I do apologize, I am unable to give you any specifics about our countermeasures, because that information may aid rogue users in creating new cheat methods. If you are found to be cheating or otherwise violating our Terms of Service, we will ban your account for either a certain amount of time or permanently, depending on the severity of the offense.
OR: When we last talked in June 2023, Creative Space was going to be released as part of Phantasy Star Online 2 New Genesis ver.2. What has player feedback been like since it was released, and do you have any plans to enhance it as part of the future roadmap?
YK: We have received a great deal of positive feedback since we first announced our plans to implement Creative Space, and we feel that we have exceeded our own expectations with the very positive response we have received. We’ve also had lots of requests for things to be added, and [we] are working to respond to these as soon as possible.
OR: As we wrap up this interview, do you have any last words for people looking forward to The 2½ Year Anniversary Campaign: Super Genesis Festival?
YK: I would like to thank all the ARKS out there for playing NGS.
To express our gratitude, for the first time ever for the PSO2 series, we are currently holding a half-anniversary celebration called the Super Genesis Festival. As I mentioned earlier as well, we are running extensive, fabulous campaigns over the year-end and New Year’s holidays. These campaigns will offer tons of advantages not only to current players, but also to new players and those returning after a break, so we hope everyone will take this opportunity to play NGS.
I want to thank Yuya Kimura for participating in a second interview with us here at oprainfall about PSO2 NGS!
Are you excited about the Super Genesis Festival? What kind of fashion do you hope to wear in the game?
Let us know in the comments below!