Shenmue 3: Judging by the amount of determination the developers are showing towards the third instalment in the celebrated Shenmue series, it is easy to assume that the game has always been on the cards. Despite the hiatus between Shenmue 3, expected to officially launch sometime in 2017, and its immediate predecessor spanning nearly 16 years, fans seemed to have been of the opinion that a third game will indeed happen. And considering the cliffhanger ending of Shenmue 2, it was quite justified. But the future of a cult favourite series cannot completely depend on hype. And this is exactly why when Shenmue 3 was announced back in 2015, many were taken aback, albeit pleasantly.
Will Shenmue 3 be at E3 2017?
Sadly, no. The new video update that the team behind Shenmue 3 has rolled out comes accompanied with a message that makes it clear that June will be a busy month for them, and hence there will be no Shenmue 3 at E3 this year. This is what they had to say: “While our schedule has yet to be finalized, we will be devoting June to game development and as a result, will unfortunately not be participating in any game shows.” We just hope this does not apply to all the other events that are coming up later this year.
The good news is that there will be no lack of updates for the game in the upcoming months, so we’ll keep our eyes peeled.
Shenmue 3: The Background
The history of the Shenmue series dates way back to 1999 when the first game came out, and as some sources will tell you, it was one of the most expensive games ever built during the time. Shenmue 2 followed shortly, and both games went on to achieve a kind of stalwart status among gaming fanatics. The story took place sometime in the 80s and followed a young boy trained in the martial arts on a quest to avenge his father’s death. Over the course of the previous two games, players followed protagonist Ryo across beautiful landscapes through Japan and China. Ryo’s search for his father’s murderer takes him to Hong Kong, where he meets and hooks up with several people before finally meeting Shenhua. Shenhua has a family legacy which ties her intimately with Ryo’s quest, but it is fair to say that the conclusion to Shenmue 2 left a lot of room for developing the story further. More specifically, it was clear that the makers had a lot more to tell.
But that was way back in 2001, and series creator Yu Suzuki has mentioned in the announcement video that fans have always asked him about the next part. The thing is, the Shenmue series was a favourite among many fans, and the games made it to the list of the most revered games of all time on a number of forums. Suzuki said he imagined the franchise to consist of more than ten different chapters, so many would argue that the new game has been coming for a long time now. However, the first two games were not exactly what one would call a commercial success, leading some to argue that a lack of financial interest would inevitably result in an untimely death of the franchise. However, it seems that the devs were not yet ready to give up on what they imagined to be an epic saga of revenge and mystery. And they did go to great lengths to achieve that, with striking success. Shenmue 3 was announced at E3 2015 as a Kickstarter campaign, where they expected to raise about $2 million. But within the stipulated time, the upcoming game managed to rope in more than triple the anticipated number. It was also the fastest campaign in the history of Kickstarter campaigns, showing that people still believed in the potential of the series.
Shenmue 3: Money Matters
The money flow, however, does not stop at the 6.3 million raised through Kickstarter. Ys Net has opened up preorders for the game’s PC version, part of which will be used to fund the development in progress. In addition to that, Gamesradar reports that fans willing to shell out $10,000 will be rewarded with a meeting with Suzuki and gain insight into his vision for Shenmue 3. The goal is to surpass $10 million, which will aid in making the game a truly open world experience. Going by the number of people supporting the game, we’d say this is far from being impossible, but the real question is, when will Shenmue 3 finally launch?
Shenmue 3: How Far Along Is It?
The truth is, despite Suzuki’s estimate of a 2017 launch, Kickstarter projects end up being delayed, several times even. This is because a lot of the ongoing planning has to be done with the amount of money raised, and that makes the process kind of impromptu, especially when fundraising continues well into the development phase. And since its 2015 announcement, fans have seen very few actual footages from the game. However, sometime last year, those at Suzuki’s studio did a much welcome progress video on Shenmue 3. They showed off some of the scenes they were working on, including a few techniques that we saw in the announcement trailer. Other than that, there have been some photos released by Ys Net, but considering that the work is still some time away from its completion, we may see some changes in the final game.
But coming back to the question plaguing most fans’ minds at the moment, it is wholly realistic to expect Shenmue 3 to be delayed by a few months. Despite many sources highlighting that the game’s development is almost over and the devs might move to marketing soon, there is no real basis to this particular conclusion of theirs. In truth, Shenmue 3 is currently in development, and there is still the full scale production part coming up (sometime soon, we hope). And based on the fact that Ys Net is still expecting to raise enough money to make Shenmue 3 a truly open world game, we may have reasons to think that there is a long way to go before marketing can commence on the upcoming project. Check out the video below by SegaScream to get a good idea about Shenmue 3’s progress.
Shenmue 3 Features and Gameplay: What to Expect
Very little is actually known about how Shenmue 3 will play out, but because there has been a lot of time in between, we hope to see a few significant upgrades. Ys Net is approaching the building of the game as a step by step goal towards achieving all that they envision based on the amount of funding they receive. We can see some of the Stretch Goals that have been met on the new Shenmue 3 campaign page, but what is notable is the fact that there are a lot of things that need to be done in order to make it the dream Shenmue iteration that all fans crave. So while many of the locations have been expanded and a lot of new features have been added, stuff like a more thorough battling system and two main locations are yet to be worked on. The good news is that hardcore fans still have a chance to back the project (follow the link above), so you can do your bit to help.
What’s Returning: Ys Net will finish the full game with the money collected on Kickstarter, so all the additional funding will go into “reaching the Stretch Goals to make the game even bigger and deeper.” But after all, the announcement of Shenmue 3 has been a very nostalgic event for those acquainted with the last games, so we expect to see some of the past flavours making it back into the game. And because Shenmue 3 is a title created for fans, by the fans themselves, some of their demands are most likely to be met. For instance, the English and Japanese voice cast for Ryo Hazuki will be provided by Corey Marshall and Masaya Matsukaze respectively. Currently, however, we are in the dark about what else will come back.
Shenmue 3 Story: In the new game, Ryo’s search for Lan Di continues and takes him across the different picturesque regions of China. As fans can already conclude from the ending of Shenmue 2, he will be accompanied by Shenhua on his epic journey. However, this time around, his quest for Lan Di will lead his way to another antagonist, Niao Sun.
Locations: Shenmue 3 will be set across three major areas spanning China, namely, Baisha Village, Choubu Area, and Bailu Village.
Gameplay: This is one of the most speculated areas relating to Shenmue 3. While we can expect the new game to retain some of the basic mechanics and aesthetics of the earlier titles, there will be some notable changes. The fate of the maps still remains a mystery, as Suzuki had pointed out that it would need the funding to reach $10 million in order to incorporate an open world structure. But at the end of the day, it is fair to conclude that Shenmue 3 will be a much larger game than its predecessors. There will be a number of different skills that the player can try out in course of the game, and Suzuki has also promised a number of mini-games to partake in.
Shenmue 3 Trailer
The Shenmue 3 announcement trailer was revealed in 2015, and while the trailer showcases very little of the game itself, a large chunk of it is dedicated to Yu Suzuki’s vision of what is to come and what to expect in the upcoming title. You can also get a tiny glimpse at the world of the game, but considering that it was a very early announcement, these may ultimately change when the game finally launches.
Shenmue 3 Release Date
The tentative release window set for Shenmue 3 by the officials is currently in December 2017. However, if GamesRadar’s detailed analysis of the release patterns of different Kickstarter-funded titles is anything to go by, then we may see a shift in that window. On Shenmue 3’s official website, the devs say that they wish to adhere to the scheduled plans to the utmost. But they have added that the final objective is to deliver a game that everyone would love to play, and working in that direction may result in changes. So with that said, and considering that the game is yet to enter full production, we definitely think that Shenmue 3 might be delayed. Watch this post for more info.
As for the platforms, Shenmue 3 is currently expected to launch on the Windows PC and PS4. There is no information about whether the creators are considering launching it on other platforms, but it is not impossible.
We know knowledge is scarce about Shenmue 3 right now, but we take consolation in the fact that the process is going well. Despite the possibility of a delay, fans respect Ys Net’s determination to revive an age old favourite and begin working on the project the way they did. We expect Suzuki and his studio to bring more detailed updates about the upcoming game, and we will keep posting them right here for our readers. In the meantime, check out all that we have to say about another upcoming gem currently in development, The Last of Us 2.
Let us know in the comments what you think about what’s going on with Shenmue 3 and why you’re excited about the game.