Starting this Friday, February 1, PS Vita gamers in seven Asian territories will be able to download from the PlayStation store an English game client for the Sega’s free-to-play online title Samurai & Dragons, the games publisher announced yesterday at a fan meeting event in Tokyo.
Previously the free-to-play title’s release date was said to be sometime in Spring 2013. The seven Asian territories are Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
The February 1 Asian launch date for the English version of the game will coincide with the start of Samurai & Dragon‘s “third season” cycle in Japan, which will also see the release of the Segakko 13: Yume Kanaeshi Mono card pack in that region. Currently there is no information on if the same pack will be offered to English version players on day one.
In this online-only title, although players’ gameplay decisions are saved on Sega’s servers and reflected in a persistent world much like most MMORPGs, every couple of months Sega will end the current season of play and restart the game anew on a mostly clean slate, to ensure that the top leaderboard players do not hoard their position forever.
Not every single thing in the game is reset, however. Certain player possessions, such as their entire collection of item and monster cards, are carried forward from one season to another.
When the English Asian version launches on February 1, Japanese players and those from the seven Asian territories will be playing on separate servers.
But Sega is open to the idea of connecting the Japanese servers to the Asian ones, so that players from all territories will be able to play from one another. The development team is considering doing so for the next season of the game, and at the fan meeting event yesterday, Samurai & Dragons producer Riichirou Yamada performed an impromptu poll to get some feedback on the thought from Japanese players in attendance.
“Some of you may prefer to be able to compete with players from outside Japan to see who’s the best in the world, but there are also players who think that communication with non-Japanese players may be a problem [due to the language barrier and potential differences in game etiquette], so we’d like to find out what you think,” he asked.
The vast majority of the live audience at the fan meeting assented to the idea of worldwide servers.
However, viewers who were watching a livestream of the fan meeting at home mostly voted against the idea. One viewer commented that it might not be such a good idea, especially now that China-Japan relations are at an all-time low after Japan’s purchase of the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands.
Producer Yamada, noted that there was player interest in worldwide servers, but felt that Sega should probably err on the side of caution.
“What we’re going to do for the next season [after season three],” he said, “is to give players the choice of playing on worldwide or Japan-only servers.”
“There’s no reason why there has to be one or the other, so we’re thinking of offering both choices for the next season.”
There is no set date for when the upcoming season (season three in Japan) will end, but Sega will notify players at least one month in advance of the actual end date.