Shenmue 3 to Prioritize Story Over Graphics

Yu Suzuki is one of the most influential and beloved figures throughout video gaming history and responsible for creating the Shenmue series. Shenmue’s bizarre gameplay, beautiful music score and stunning world creates a joyous experience which feels so unique. While perceived as a cult classic, Shenmue I and II hold up remarkably well in 2015 and look fantastic using a VGA cable on the SEGA Dreamcast. For many years, fans implored SEGA to produce a sequel, but the publisher probably felt it was too niche or overly expensive.

Thanks to crowdfunding, Shenmue’s emotionally-charging story can finally continue after years of disappointment regarding SEGA’s inactivity. Although, there has been some concerns about Shenmue 3’s budget and lack of funds to create a proper sequel. Yu Suzuki addressed these reservations in an interview with Eurogamer and said:

“The game itself doesn’t have to be gorgeous visually – a lot of the money these days goes into the graphics. If we perhaps compromise on the graphics and put more into the story, we can make a good game.”

“Kickstarter’s not the only source of money,” says Suzuki. “There’s also funding from Sony and Shibuya Productions. Before we started Kickstarter, we had goals set around the budget – so if we only got $6 million, we’d create Shenmue 3 based upon what we could do with that $6 million.”

Firstly, Shenmue’s narrative has to take priority as the game’s theme is story-driven and doesn’t really depend on graphical quality. However, comments like this makes me think the game is being developed on a shoe-string budget. At least, Suzuki has clarified Sony’s involvement in the project and the source of additional funding. This is vital as the current PayPal donations are not amounting to a large amount of money.

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information.

$6 Million Kickstarted Shenmue 3 Wants More Money

The developers of Shenmue 3, the most funded video game on Kickstarter ever after raising over $6 million, have been sending out e-mails prospective backers in an attempt to raise more money to make the game. Yu Suzuki and Ys Net have sent out a batch of e-mails regarding its new “slacker backer” campaign, allowing those interested in funding the development of Shenmue 3, but missed the Kickstarter, to donate money to the game via PayPal.

The “slacker backer e-mail reads:

“Hello Everyone, Thanks to your support, Shenmue III became the most funded video game on Kickstarter with 69,320 people helping to bring back the Shenmue series back to life. However, there are so many people told us they could not pledge on Kickstarter, or could not make the deadline, and have asked for a PayPal page for another opportunity to contribute to Shenmue III. So here we go! The Slacker Backer period will continue through December 31st. While the full game will be completed as promised with the use of the funding collected on Kickstarter, any additional funding collected here will go towards reaching the Stretch Goals to make the game even bigger and deeper.

The three month window was set to allow a long enough time to for everyone who wants to support Shenmue III to do so, but short enough to keep the release date on track. The PayPal page will feature a selection of rewards from the Kickstarter campaign including the Trial Version and the Collector’s Edition. If you missed out on the Kickstarter, you still have a chance to be part of the Shenmue legacy! Surveys, add-ons and upgrades Surveys are not quite ready yet, but they will be going out during this Slacker Backer campaign. Once the survey system is up and running, add-ons and upgrades will be available for existing Kickstarter backers. We will of course keep you posted here on the Updates page with all the developments.” – Ys Net 

While the developers’ drive to raise further funds to make Shenmue 3 is understandable – the game was initially budgeted at $10 million – the method by which they are going about it, being independent of its Kickstarter campaign, offers no consumer protections or guarantees whatsoever, leaving backers adrift if anything were to go wrong. Add to that the undisclosed backing that Sony is giving the game and Suzuki’s previous problems keeping a game’s development in budget, it seems that the project would benefit from a little more transparency regarding its status and progress.

Shenmue 3 is expected on PC and PlayStation 4 in 2017.

Thank you TGG for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Polygon.

Shenmue 3 Will Be Open-World if Kickstarter Hits $10 Million

Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki has revealed that Shenmue 3 will be open-world if it hits $10 million funding on Kickstarter. Speaking during a reddit AMA, Suzuki spoke about a series of stretch goals should the latest sequel to the legendary Shenmue games, hinting that a secret feature that Suzuki himself has developed will be incorporated into the game:

“I will say this: if we reach the $5 mil mark, one of the things I really want to do with Shenmue 3 will become a reality.”

“At $10 million, it will truly have the features of an open world.”

The game seems likely to reach $10 million on Kickstarter, if not surpass it, having already raised $3,478,264 (at time of writing) in just under five days.

The AMA also gave some information regarding the game’s creation, with Suzuki divulging that Shenmue 3 will be powered by Unreal Engine 4 and will re-use assets from Shenmue and Shenmue 2:

“The assets from 1 & 2 will get a lot of use.”

Later, humility reared its head, with Suzuki conceding that if Shenmue 3 turns out to be a failure, that he will draw a line under the franchise for good:

“If the fans are not happy with 3 there will not be a 4. So I please hope we can together make this game the best it can be.”

Shenmue 3 is set for release on PlayStation 4 and PC some time in 2017.

Thank you Dark Side of Gaming for providing us with this information.