Our hobby is full of forgotten worlds. Cities whose streets and structures were once as familiar to us as New York to a Brooklyn cabbie, in time become as slippery to recollection as last month's dreams. Hills and valleys and forests previously understood as pieces of geography, defining landmarks en route to Rabanastre or the Imperial City, soon become no more than context-less clumps of polygon and texture. It is almost every game-world's fate to be forgotten, sunk as archaeological remains in the overburdened memory of the seasoned, universe-hopping gamer.
For many explorers, however, Phantasy Star Online, the Dreamcast's electric blue blueprint for all console-based multiplayer RPG space quests, is gone but never forgotten. The memories of fighting with friends and strangers for the first time through its purplish corridors and crimson caves remain so vivid we could retrace our virtual steps blindfolded. SEGA may have switched off the servers, but this world will always have its players, those Hunters and Rangers and Force who roam its turf by memory alone. As such it seemed certain that PSO's next-gen follow up, Phantasy Star Universe, would be a surefire hit.
Perhaps it was World of Warcraft's fault. Perhaps it was the sheer petrifying range of choice for the contemporary MMORPG player, or perhaps we mistook the fact PSO was the first and only console-based game of its sort for the illusion that it was the best. Either way, PSU failed to ignite the passions of gamers, its labyrinthine corridors walked by just a hardcore few after the first influx of prospective immigrants left unconvinced of its merits.