They existed in PSO1 as well as currently existing in PSO2.
PSO1/PS developers of times past... Those are my people. I wouldn't mind having a word or two with some of the young 20 year old bucks over there at the current SEGA team for PSO2's narrative.. Though I digress. I still hold a lot of love for the development team despite the current state of "awkward situational content" before science fiction.
I still enjoy the series as I have, though I welcome what changes have been made as they all strike me as reasonable and sound so far.