Square Enix has confirmed at a Tokyo presentation last night that the Phantasy Star Online Alpha test will take place in August.
If that raises your heart beat a few notches, unfortunately it also said testers for the invite-only phase have already been chosen. Thanks for the heads-up, Square.
There is another chance to play the game before its launch - it'll be playable at the Tokyo Game Show later this year. Best get those flights to Japan booked then.
It also spilled some gameplay details for the much anticipated MMO. According to Andriasang translations of the 4Gamers report from the presser, the game will feature 12-player online play, with players forming parties of four. According to the site "The basic gameplay system, 'Hybrid Custom Action,' promises a great evolution for the franchise's action-oriented play, with things like TPS (third-person-shooter) style shooting, jumping, and original combos."
Players will chose from three classes; Hunters (a close-combat specialist), Rangers (good at Mid-range), and Force (guess what range they'll be handy for...). All three will learn new skills as they progress through a new 'Class Level' system.
Fans of the Dreamcast original will have been frothing at the mouth over this four-minute video of direct-feed gameplay. Yum!