Phantasy Star Online (PSO) [Beta – Dreamcast]

Phantasy Star Online (PSO) [Beta – Dreamcast]

In one of the first PSO videos, which showed the forest stage, there were four characters in front of a kind of locomotive on rails. A similar object, activated  by using the usual  pressure pads, could be found in a PSO Vr2 challenge, but in the PSO beta this was far more interesting, because the characters moved it themselves. It’s a pity that these puzzles were removed from the final version.

You can select the FOmar class from the beginning in PSO Ep. I&II, but with the gameshark you can unlock it in PSO vr2 for the Dreamcast too . Maybe it is just a leftover from the planned unified servers for PSP Ep. I&II and PSO vr2, because they were required to have the same features.

In these screenshots, we can see the beta central zone of the Pioneer 2. On the left we can see some kind of palace, which in the final version became the entering point of the ships and the meeting place for the Quests. There were many advertisement signs, but the holograms with the various sentences were still absent. In one of the screenshots we can see, other than the three main characters, some hunters in the background, gathered at what looks like a fire. In the original design of the Pioneer 2, it seems that there was another path under the city, maybe for other sections of the mothership.

In these screenshots of the beta Forest we can see many features that were removed from the final game, like wood stairs, fences and underpasses. In another video, we can see that the dragon originally made his entering through the rock wall. Another series of screenshots shows the beta version of the ships, even if on the left side of screen it is possible to see, to the contrary of the released version, the other character’s bars. Moreover, some warps are different in the Online Lobby.

In the concept arts of the Book of Hunters : PSO Settei, there are drawings of many classes (HUmarl, HUnewmn..) and mags not found in the final version of game. Some of these later resurfaced in PSO for Xbox and Gamecube, like HUcaseal, FOmar e RAmarl. Also, the beta mags could be equipped even on arms and feets.

386 Wren is a unused character, so described in the Book Of Hunters: “The character called Searren is a battle robot who was introduced in Phantasy Star III: Successors of Time (Megadrive/released 4/21/1990). According to comments made by a member of Sonic Team, “This got drawn for me when I said, ‘What if Searren appeared in PSO?’. We couldn’t use him due to time constraints. It’s a pity for it go to waste, so we’ll publish it.” Searren is a robot, borne of an ancient culture possessing extremely advanced science; as such, he differs from androids in that he lacks emotions. Programmed to obey orders only from Orakio’s people, he assists the human heroes across all three generations.”

Some more details regarding the beta video shown below were noticed by Leonkh:

  • The title screen of the game indicates “Auto Demo”, which implies that, much like the found Sonic Adventure “Auto Demo”, the game is on auto play with various areas being loaded after a set amount of time.
  • Also on the title screen, we can see a sort of opening FMV prior to the title screen of which the final game has no such thing. In particular, the final game simply fades from the opening splash screens to the the static image title screen whereas this demo has the FMV’s final shot be that of what the title screen’s static background is (albeit with a strange “water transition” effect from the final shot to the static title screen).
  • This “Auto Demo” contains the beta town location / hub “Pioneer 2” shown in some of the screenshots in the Unseen64 article.
  • As the games are Online Multiplayer games, the video shows four screens each showing the game from another players’ perspective. This is a fact that I bring up as this prototype has a completely different loading screen from the final game which also shows the artwork of the character used on that particular screen.
Furthermore a known public beta for PSO named “Network Trial Edition” was released some months before the final game. A forum post detailing some of the differences can be found here.

[Original intro in italian by monokoma, english translation by Yota]



Phantasy Star Online Gameplay Phantasy Star Online Gameplay (02)

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7 thoughts on “Phantasy Star Online (PSO) [Beta – Dreamcast]

  1. Darksidehearts

    Okay I’ll agree that the Sharks don’t belong in the forest but come on, why not the Grass Assassin? Let’s put the creatures where they belong….if only it were still in the forest, how that thing got into the caves we will never know.

  2. Takashi Nakiya

    Why do most games look better as betas? I assume in the commercial they were showing Pioneer 2. it looked completely 3-D and not just scenery. Like a real town, that would have been more realistic.

    1. monokoma Post author

      Maybe the original Phantasy Star Online project was meant to be much more ambitious, but they had to cut many features because of lack of time or limited online support

      1. ikagura

        I’m also thinking that the PSO V1 was a beta because the V2 added so much content it is mostly the definitive version of the Dreamcast game, the episode 1&2 is much like an add-on

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