At E3 2002 Sega , in conjunction with Nintendo, showed a new exclusive Phantasy Star Online game which had a focus on card based battles, named PSO Card Battle. In the end the game evolved and was released as Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution for Gamecube. However what is little known is that when unveiled for the first time at that trade show, the game was a premiere title for a new Nintendo pheriperal: a small LCD screen attached to the system.
At its developer roundtable that year Nintendo revealed Sega new project with a brief trailer and Yuji Naka explained how the idea for the game sprung from Nintendo’s idea to develop a portable screen for the GameCube and create the ability to link four GameCubes together for portable multiplayer gameplay. GameCube linkup feature and portability weren’t the only reasons to use the quirky device in fact Nintendo kept secret the most amusing feature behind the screen that is the ability to display stereoscopic images without requiring special glasses.
Only many years later, when the company was ready to launch its new autostereoscopic handheld system, Iwata confirmed the true nature of the the portable screen showed at E3 2002. So it’s more than likely that PSO Card Battle was one of the first 3D games for Gamecube, the genre is ideal to show off popup graphics, along with Luigi’s Mansion and probably Metroid Prime ( another game displayed on the little LCD screen in that faithful event ).
PS0 is the new chapter in the Phantasy Star Online series of games, that was released for the Nintendo DS the 25 december 2008 (Japanese version). When SEGA started to work on the game, various prototypes and different character designs were tried before to choose the final one. In the earliest stage of development, they recreated the Forest area from the original PSO Dreamcast on the DS, with Boomas and the famous Dragon. It seems that initially items / mesetas were dropped on the field when an enemy was killed, instead of coming out from the final-box that appears only after all the enemies are died, as it is in the final version of the game. Probably SEGA decided to remove the single-enemy drops because of the limited graphic capabilities of the portable console (with too many 3D obejets on the screen, the game could have slow down too much). In other concept arts and screens, we can see a “more stylish” design for the characters, that looked more like the one from the original PSO. In one of the artworks there are even some “flamed-head” enemies with guns, but there are no enemies like that in the final game. All these images were show at the Phantasy Star Zero Christmas Party that sega organized to promote the game on the 25 December 2008.
Originally, Phantasy Star IV was to have been designed for the Sega CD system, and would have been vastly different from its final incarnation. Features like 3-D dungeons (such as those featured in the first Phantasy Star), full motion video cutscenes, voice acting, and much more were planned. Unfortunately, poor sales and lack of support for the Sega CD platform caused a change of plans midway through development. Most of these features were scrapped from the final design, and the end result was a cartridge game that bore little resemblance to the original plans. [info from Wikipedia]
Some unused items and techniques can still be found in the game’s code: we can read more info about these at PS Algo!
Feeve was used during the debugging or the making of Phantasy Star IV, as a test to see if techniques worked properly. There is really no evidence to support this, save that the technique cannot be gained by playing the game normally.
The Blood Axe, the Spiral Slasher are strange items that were made inaccessible as part of normal game play, but never actually removed.
Two planet maps, one for Motavia and one for Dezoris, are coded into the game, and can be viewed using an edited saved game. Sega simply chose to not allow players to have access to the maps.
Thanks to Klinger Bea Arthur and Robert Seddon for the contributions!
The scan that you can see in the gallery below is from on an old gaming magazine, in which it was assumed that the screenshot published in the page was from a new game in the Phantasy Star series of RPG. This “New Phantasy Star” for the Genesis / Mega Drive was never released.. because it was never a Phantasy Star game to begin with. Thanks to Oath we found out that this image is probably from another Genesis RPG, called “Sorcerer’s Kingdom”, developed by Treco Corporation and released in 1992. If you compare the original scan with the other 2 Sorcerer’s Kingdom screens, you can notice that the main character sprite is almost the same and the trees are identical.
Thanks to Oath and Klinger Bea Arthur for the contribution!