One of the big E3 2015 surprises that had existed previously only in some of the wildest dreams of the gaming world was the revival of Shenmue.
There were whispers leading up to E3 that Shenmue might be back, originating from the same gaming wishlist that includes the likes of Half-Life 3. One day Gordon, one day…
During Sony’s lauded presentation at E3, Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki was invited onto the stage to gleefully announce that Shenmue 3 will be coming. However rather than backed by Sony, the gaming world was invited to be the financial saviour, through a Kickstarter campaign.
“Shenmue 3 will be the story you have waited for. The fate of Shenmue is in your hands now”.
This is no homebrew project, not just an HD remaster, but an official next-gen sequel to Shenmue 2, to continue and very likely conclude the story of protagonist Ryo Hazuki, over 14 years since he took that slow boat to China.
$2 million dollars was the basic target for the Kickstarter campaign, relatively low by modern gaming standards, so perhaps this campaign was to gauge interest for future backing by some of the larger publishers out there. Still it is not pocket change, and incredibly the total took merely 9 hours to be achieved.
Stretch goals have already been entered to expand language options and a key figure now is the $4 million mark to grow the game size exponentially.
At this time, Shenmue 3 is pencilled in for release on PC (Windows – digital and disc) and PS4 (digital only) for 2017. On the Kickstarter FAQs for Shenmue 3 there are comments that they have Sega’s permission to create Shenmue 3 however Sega own the licence to Shenmue 1 & 2. There is a hint that future formats could appear though development is currently only for PS4 & Windows PC.
Given the success of the Kickstarter campaign for Shenmue 3, it is likely the powers that be at Sega will take notice and start planning an HD remaster of the original two games.
The Kickstarter campaign at the time of writing has already broken through $2.5 million: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ysnet/shenmue-3
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