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Shenmue 3: Everything we know so far

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For years, gamers all over the globe were convinced that Shenmue 3 was a distant pipedream. The first two games are iconic cult classics, but were so expensive to produce that developer Yu Suzuki hadn’t a chance of fulfilling his original vision of a trilogy. But now, thanks to a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, the development of Shenmue 3 is finally underway.

It’s still a long way off, but we’ve compiled every we know and would love to see from Shenmue 3.

Shenmue 3 – No show at E3 this year

YS Net confirmed in its latest earnings report that Shenmue 3 will not be shown at E3 2017.

"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," the studio explained. "On the other hand, we look forward to bringing you our monthly updates and hope you do too!

This will no doubt be a big dissapointment for fans hoping for another glimpse at Shenmue 3. With any luck, we'll see more of it before the end of 2017.

What is Shenmue 3?

Shenmue 3 is an open world action-adventure title developed by Neilo and Ys Net. This third and potentially final installment will conclude Ryo Hazuki’s tale of redemption as he seeks to avenge his father’s death. We’re hoping for a vast open-world to explore with all the charm and innovation previous games dealt in spades. No pressure, then.

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The 2013 Kickstarter campaign managed to raise a grand total of $6,333,295, with Sony providing marketing, publishing support and further funding. Whether Yu Suzuki and friends can pull off a fresh and engrossing adventure with such a budget remains to be seen, but we cannot wait to see them try. After all, the original Shenmue was the most expensive game ever produced at the time at around $70 million.

Shenmue 3 release date – When is it coming out?

YS Net and Yu Suzuki have announced that Shenmue 3 has been delayed to the 2nd half of 2018. The reason for the delay is explained in a recent kickstarter video which you can view here. Emerging immediately after confirmation the game wouldn't be at E3, it seems we won't be seeing Shenmue 3 for a while.

See also: The Surge Review

According to a blog post on the official site, Shenmue 3 has now entered full production:

"R&D for various game elements is on course as the development team shifts its focus towards production. Main game scenarios are nearing completion, motion capture tests are well under way, and voicing tests with the cast have begun. Yu-san and the production staff are happy to say they are enjoying the work as they continue to diligently make progress on the mini-games, events, and battles."

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Shenmue 3 story – What’s it about?

Shenmue 3 seeks to conclude a story that began way back in December 1999 on the Sega Dreamcast, so there might be a bit of catching up to do.

Following the events of Shenmue 2, the year is 1987 and our hero Ryo Hazuki has journeyed from the bustling suburbs of Yokosuka to the mountains of Guilin, China in search of his father’s killer. Here he encounters Ling Shenhua, a beautiful, mysterious girl who previously appeared in his dreams. She tells Ryo that they are united by fate, and he must seek out his destiny and defeat Lan Di, his father’s murderer.

Shenmue 3 begins in Guilin’s Bailu Village, a rural riverside town filled with shops, minigames and characters to encounter. The true drive of Shenmue 3’s plot beyond the obvious tale of redemption remains a mystery, but will no doubt surprise passionate fans.

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Shenmue 3 gameplay – How does it play?

We’ve yet to see any proper gameplay of Shenmue’s third outing, but series creator Yu Suzuki has provided us with plenty of tantalising details since the dream project’s surprise announcement. Ryo’s next adventure will once again be open-world, dropping him in the riverside town of Bailu. This humble little abode is packed with distinctive shops, temples and minigames for the player to enjoy, many of which may reward you with special items and bonuses.

Related: Nintendo Switch Review

Ryo will be able to make phone calls to his friends back in Japan, building upon relationships founded in past games through optional conversations. It is unclear whether this will impact Ryo’s stats, but it’d be a nice bonus for venturing off the beaten path. As far as combat is concerned, we’ve only seen a few small glimpses through pre-rendered screenshots and small minute development diaries.

Shenmue 3 trailers – How does it look?

At the moment Shenmue 3 resembles an incredibly polished fan project, with recently released screenshots showing Ryo Hazuki in ridiculous detail. The finished product is still a while off, but here's the latest trailer.

Lake of the Lantern Bugs trailer:

Shenmue 3 wishlist – What we’d like to see

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Bring us back up to speed

Shenmue has a long and complicated history, with its story now 17 years old. It’s natural to assume that some players will be coming to the franchise for the very first time. We’d love to see some playable flashbacks implemented into the experience, giving us a taster of previous games through the perspective of modern mechanics. Either that, or the ability to watch key cutscenes from older games via an in-game viewer would be excellent. The Yakuza franchise allows players to “reminisce” the plot of each game, meaning it’s always easy to jump in at any point.

Branching narrative

Shenmue is a series famed for its dramatic, ground-breaking narrative, evolving our perception of videogame storytelling back in 1999. Imagine if Shenmue 3 made similar innovations, having player choice influence not only the open world, but the core story of Ryo Hazuki’s long sought after redemption. The addition of a multi-faceted dialogue tree would be welcome, giving us ample opportunity to shape our own interpretation of Ryo by spitting hot fire or lovely compliments. It’s kinda like Mass Effect without aliens and in 1980’s China.

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Pet Simulator!

Remember the stray cat in the original Shenmue? Adorable wasn’t it? Shenmue 3 should give Ryo the option to adopt a pet of his own, having it follow him throughout town or wait for him back at home. It doesn’t have to be a cat, either. It could be a dog, parrot or even a lizard. Caring for a pet would add an extra layer of amusing depth to the open-world, providing you can find objects and gifts for your resident companion lying about. Just make sure he can’t own a tarantula or something.

What would you like to see from Shenmue 3? Let us know in the comments below!

Fail Bot

January 6, 2017, 10:29 pm

I certainly didn't want a game that set itself apart by having relatively large open worlds to come to conclusion in a tiny remote village. But I guess it can be done right. Having played and loved Life is Strange, if Shenmue were like that, but with more choices affecting outcomes that could be very interesting. If it's really the last game I would like it to end in Yokosuka though, like have Bailu lead Ryo right back to where it began.
What Shenmue really needs is a corporate backer to hand over another $100 million and do it right.

The kickstarter campaign was absolute garbage btw. The rewards were crap. They didn't seem to put any effort into it. There was so much potential and I think Shenmue lost out on a lot of donations for not coming up with better rewards. Just as an example, how stupid do the fundraisers have to be to not have made Ryo's jacket something most people could donate to get (It required a $2400 donation for a replica)? Do you not know what free advertising is?

4 toy capsules? That's it? Why not something creative like 10-20 toy capsules and every $15 you donate, you get one random capsule, it would be just like playing the game, it would entice more donations plus trading after market which would increase discussion and awareness.

The technique scroll being an in-game item is a nice idea, but it starts at $120. That's the biggest problem, you should prefer 1 million $10 backers, not 100 $1,000 backers. The rewards were all skewed way too expensive with little pay out. The scrolls are cool and a great piece of game memorbilia, should have come up with a dozen of the original moves Ryo learns in the game and make cool wall-worthy scrolls that look like ancient Japanese/Chinese scrolls. Then ask for a $20 donation for one of the scrolls, which would again entice multiple purchases and trading.

Skyline

March 13, 2017, 4:12 pm

You think most fans really gave a shit about the incentives?! We want the fucking game man, we need to finish this story once and for all, and it would have almost never happened if not for the kickstarter. I am sure more than 95% of the people who paid just wanted the game and probably would have still donated regardless incentives or not, even I did.

I just want the game and that is what the campaign is all about. Originally, developers make games and you get NOTHING but the game. Sega, which is not financially stable, is trying to bring you the game PLUS incentives, and you're bitching about how many toys you can get? Are you even fucking reading what you're writing or thinking about what you're writing before you write? You're the problem that game companies have. Want so much for so little and/or just being greedy when you don't even have to purchase anything.

Nobody asked you to care.

Jason Clarke

March 14, 2017, 12:56 pm

Cant wait to finish this story, shenmue hit me hard when it came out i was i think 13 years old, it left me after number 2 with the distinct impression its the best game ever. To this day i think its the best experience i ever had.

my fear is the budget is simply not there to match up anywhere near modern open world titles, so what i would like to see is the graphics take a hit, i couldnt care less if it was dreamcast graphics all over again, spend the money on developing that story, getting a great cast in for voicework, develop that soundtrack thats absolutely shenmue, this is the only way it can succeed imo. If they try to compete with modern titles in graphics and open world quality its going to fail and get rediculously low review scores.

Christian Palmer

March 14, 2017, 8:24 pm

I'd like to have a Virtua Fighter-style fighting game as a bonus feature. Hell, I'd even pay for it as a separate game. Imagine being able to play as Chai, Ren, Xiuying, Iwao Hazuki, Dou Niu, Master Baihu, Fukuhara, Lan Di, Tom, Greg More, Chunyan, Enjiang Zhou, Goro, Terry, Shozo Mizuki (the homeless guy), Pedro Warren, Ren Yan, Joy, Jianmin, Guixiang Lee and of course, Ryo. Add in a few of the characters from Shenmue 3 and you've got a hell of a good title with minimal extra work! A list of characters from the Shenmue series so far can be found here: http://shenmue.wikia.com/wi...

Locations could be in front of Ryo's house, the dojo, in front of a Tomato store, on the docks, in Master Chen's warehouse, in front of Nozomi's shop, in Sakura Park, in front of Tom's hot dog truck, Guang Martial Arts School, You Arcade... well, you get the picture.

I may have overthought this comment, but I'd love to see something like that with the Shenmue property.

JoeRedRog

April 23, 2017, 6:21 am

I would like to see capsule toys return. I would definitely buy this game for capsule toy collecting alone.

bthanhawk022

May 3, 2017, 10:24 pm

Damn. The guy made a decent point about how the kickstarter would've gotten more $$$ with a better incentive setup. The point wasn't about getting toys. If this game fails I'm looking right at the budget. And Sega is not funding the game. They licensed the game to Yu Suzukis Y's Net and they're making it independent. Your attitude of "We only want the game" scares me for this title. Only the "hardcore" Shenmue fans are gonna be yelling "We just wanted the game!!!" if it bombs. Most trash games fail for 1 of 3 reasons: 1. Time constraints. 2. Not enough budget. 3. Popularity(cult status isn't gonna save this game) and Shenmue 3 is facing all 3. I want this game as bad as anyone. I mean c'mon, I was in high school when this game came out. I now have 3 kids with my oldest one turning 12 in Nov. and been asking me about Shenmue 3 since she's been 5 watching me play the 2nd game years ago. Long story short. I think the budget is good enough for the game to be mediocre at best. I pray I'm wrong though....

MT Skeptic

May 5, 2017, 8:48 am

"We are balancing our ambitions for a grand sequel with the pragmatic realities of developing a game of this scale," Yuzuki wrote. "It will not be easy, but I have dreamed of making this sequel for 14 years - it is time to bring Shenmue back! And to make it come true, it will need the love and support from each and every one of you!"

My biggest fear is I keep hearing the bit about how Shenmue should be 4-5 games. I understand that may be case, but we need to be more realistic and even assume that 3 might be the last one especially facing these challenges. I know its a random comparison. But I think it needs to go the route of Divergent 3 (movie). Technically they needed a 4th movie to tie everything together like the books, but knowing that it might not happen they made the ending both cliffhanger / good enough ending. Its hard to do right and will piss off fans but its better than another cliffhanger for 17 years. Most of the original fans will be half a century at that point! Lol.

Skyline

May 5, 2017, 4:20 pm

This isn't 1999 when you had to spend millions for a game engine. He can just use Unreal Engine which is free and call it a day. I just want the story completed, I don't give two fucks what the incentives are. The only incentive really to me is to complete the Shenmue saga, it shouldn't fail.

Ramón Guzmán

June 1, 2017, 3:47 pm

3 won't conclude the saga. The Shenmue story is comprised of 11 chapters. Shenmue 3 will encompass chapters 5-6 and thereafter possibly Shenmue 4 will include data from chapters 3-4. It is a non aleatory story and the Dev Team is working to adapt what is in full novel format to fit in a cohesive game.

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