More than just a simple localization project
It was more than three years ago now that Sega of America announced they would be bringing Phantasy Star Online 2 to North American audiences. Since then, we’ve heard absolute and complete silence on the matter. Occasionally we’ll see a vague Twitter message — “It’s just delayed.” The website Sega opened for the game remains in a state of suspended animation, with but a single update mentioning the game being playable at the 2012 Penny-Arcade Expo.
It’s not hard to feel more than a little frustrated at how long the wait has been for any news regarding an English version of PSO2. But rather than lash out at the game’s vaporware localization, Kotaku tells us the story of how some fans are doing something a little more constructive.
If you’re a Phantasy Star Online fan, there’s a good chance you know about Schtack. Schtack is a Phantasy Star Online private server, started by some fans after Sega began taking down the official servers. Today, Schtack is the only way to play the original Phantasy Star Online with other people, and if you can figure out how it works, the server accepts players from the Dreamcast, Gamecube, and PC versions of PSO. Schtack was created by reverse-engineering PSO’s server software — the technology that lets you connect to and interact with other players.
In lieu of Sonic Team’s policy of banning English-speaking players trying to play the Japanese version of Phantasy Star Online 2, some North American fans are taking matters in to their own hands by reverse-engineering PSO2’s server software:
If you follow the PSO2 scene, you’ve probably heard of Cyberkitsune and AIDA. Together, the pair are responsible for keeping US players in the game. Following a crippling DDOS attack last June that resulted in Sega closing the game off from foreign players, they set up a now widely-used proxy that enables players to connect without need of a VPN. Now, however, it seems the pair have their sights set on a larger goal.
While the PSO2 Tweaker can get players in, “… client English patches can only go so far.” Cyberkitsune told me during a Skype conversation a few weeks ago. Talks of modding the game, and even introducing English customer support—something foreign players can’t enjoy right now, as the act of playing the game itself is now against the TOS—are going around. The only way to do this, however, is to build it yourself. Enter Polaris, the private PSO2 server project.
From the sound of it, this “Polaris” PSO2 server project is still in its early days, but this could be the most promising development in being able to play a fully-english version of Phantasy Star Online 2. You can read the rest of the article, including Sega’s rather tepid response to the project, over at Kotaku.