Phantasy Star Zero does not have voice chat, but Sega thought of an intuitive way for players to communicate in Nintendo Wi-Fi games. You write what you want your character to say on the touch screen with a handful of brushes. After you hit send the scribbled message is displayed in a text bubble above your character’s head. If the other players don’t speak the same language you can draw a picture requesting a heal spell. I’m sure this feature will be used to draw other things like a certain body part that tends to be popular at video game conventions.
The brilliant chat system is the good news. The bad news is the art is skewed for a younger audience. Instead of a hardened HUmarl warrior you have get a spunky kid with glasses on his forehead or a third tier pop idol. Art and lack of classic single player Phantasy Star aside Phantasy Star Zero looks sweet.
Japan is scheduled to get Phantasy Star Zero this winter, probably winter 09 since the year wasn’t stated. A US release has not been announced at this time, but this has a good chance of being picked up. Phantasy Star Zero is being developed for a popular console and positive branding internationally.
Images courtesy of Sega / Famitsu.