SEGA Could Re-Release Shenmue I And II

SEGA has been sorely neglecting the Shenmue franchise for over a decade despite the passionate pleas of its fanbase. One could argue it was down the soaring costs of Shenmue and financial risk. However, the series desperately deserved a final chapter to finish the story and remaster of the original classics. The term genius can be applied too loosely in modern society, but Yu Suzuki is a genius of game design.

Thankfully, the advent of crowdfunding helped Suzuki find a platform to produce Shenmue 3 and ask fans for help with the development costs. Initially, the project was a resounding success but the rate of financial payment reduced quite rapidly. This caused some concerns as critics believed the raised amount wouldn’t cover the costs to produce an authentic Shenmue experience.

Whatever the case, it seems Shenmue 3 has multiple sources of revenue and it’s finally happening after all these years! Up to this point, SEGA has remained fairly distant but it seems like they are more open to revisiting the series and possibly releasing a HD remaster. SEGA Europe’s marketing director Jon Rooke told Marketing Week:

“Yes, we want to innovate and back smarthphones and virtual reality but our key purpose is to go back to what the brand used to stand for,” 

“I think the buzz around Shenmue 3 shows that people love our legacy,”

“Over the next few years, we want to use engaging content and marketing to remind the public why they fell in love with Sega in the first place.”

Would you buy Shenmue I and II if a remaster came to PC?

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.

Shenmue 3 Expands Stretch Goals to a Whopping $11 Million

The Shenmue series is one of the most unique and imaginative creations the gaming industry has ever seen. Yu Suzuki’s vision paved the way forward for dynamic 3D open-world games and even though Shenmue was a niche franchise, it created a very passionate following. However, the tense cliffhanger at the end of Shenmue II left fans yearning for a finishing ensemble to this beautiful trilogy. SEGA’s demise and exit from the console market dealt the final blow and it seemed the hopes of a Shenmue revival were very optimistic. Why? Well, it’s important to recognize that Shenmue I cost $47 million to make back in 1999 on the Dreamcast. As a result, it’s difficult to fathom how anything less than $10 million could come close to becoming a faithful recreation. Yu Suzuki himself clarified that $10 million is the base figure to construct a true open world environment.

Shenmue 3’s funding has been a rollercoaster ride and already set a world record by receiving the initial $2 million target in 24 hours. Since then, the rate of financial support has curtailed off and it looks set to miss the $10 million figure. Of course, there could be a sudden surge with 21 days to go, but things aren’t looking too promising. Recently, the stretch goals expanded to $11 million which indicates the game might actually need $15 million+ to faithfully honor Yu Suzuki’s concept. There’s still some doubt if a 3rd party such as Sony will contribute the existing funds but it seems unlikely. I think this is a little shortsighted given the brand recognition Shenmue has and it could pave the way to a wealth of successful sequels.

How do you feel about the Shenmue kickstarter? Are the funding objectives too unrealistic?

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.

Crowd Funded Shenmue III Revealed at E3

I’m absolutely amazed at how well this years E3 is going, we’ve had the reveal that Xbox One is getting backwards compatibility, Final Fantasy VII is getting a remake and now… Shenmue III is happening!

OK There’s a minor technicality on Shenmue III, but one that will have likely been overcome by the time you read this. The game was revealed by Sony during their press conference, stating that the game would be crowd funded. Why crowd funded? The team behind the game wanted the community to have more control over the development, while the team also wanted more freedom to develop the game, something they likely wouldn’t get is Sony, Microsoft, EA, etc, put the funds up for them.

By the end of the 1 hour presentation, the game had already raised over $500,000 and at time of writing, the game is at $1,688,572 of its $2 million target and it is climbing fast, with 31 days still remaining, it’ll smash that target in a big way!

It’s no secret that the Shenmue series has a loyal fan base. I had the original on the Dreamcast and it was absolutely fantastic, a real benchmark for modern RPG gaming. The second entry in the series was great too, finding a welcome home on the original Xbox, but the series quickly trailed off, leaving many fans heartbroken about the unresolved story and trilogy… until now.

Update: The game has now raised $2,333,192 before the end of day 1!

Check out the official Kickstarter page here.

Shenmue Fan Attempts To Make Shenmue HD

One talented Shenmue fan is clearly tired of waiting for Sega to make Shenmue III, in fact, I think it is now pretty safe to say that Shenmue III simple isn’t going to happen, it has been too long and less than favorable software sale of the first two aren’t exactly good motivation to complete the trilogy.

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Shenmue was an awesome game, but you’ve already started reading this article, so you likely already know this fact. Koreanfan NaconKid has recreated a couple of scenes from the game in HD, keeping with the original art style, but buffing textures and resolutions to look better than ever before. Everything from the leather jackets to the arcade machines have been tweaked to perfection and best of all the arcade machines have had new games added to them.

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This project is a long way from playable and Nacon admits that completing the rest would take a long time. However, as far a fan project goes I’m thoroughly impressed and this could be the spark some developers at Sega need to show them there is potential and interest in a HD re-release of the first two games, something that could pave the way for a third entry in the series.

Thank you Pushsquare for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Pushsquare.