After fourteen years of uncertainty, Shenmue III was finally announced at E3 2015 with a Kickstarter campaign that would break two Guinness World Records. Further crowdfunding via much-requested PayPal and Alipay options continues to add features and polish to this long awaited sequel ahead of its release on PC and PlayStation 4, planned for December 2017:
Legendary designer Yu Suzuki is back at the helm and joined by many of the original crew from the first two games, including music composer Ryuji Iuchi and both the English and Japanese voice actors for lead character Ryo Hazuki.
The new game is being developed using Unreal Engine 4, and is set to feature an all-new fighting system with interactive environments and context-based animation, along with the detailed, open world adventure gameplay that the series is known for revolutionizing. Suzuki will also revive the cutscene-enhancing, intuitive QTE system that remains unequalled a decade and a half later!
In addition to these core dynamics, Shenmue III will see the return of side activities such as minigames and capsule toy collecting, while introducing a unique Rapport System affecting the friendships between characters, and a Character Perspective System allowing the player for the first time to experience parts of the story as Ren of Heavens and the mystical Shenhua.
Much has been written about the shock return of Shenmue to the modern gaming landscape it helped define. For many fans it was an impossible dream, a desperate yet seemingly futile hope. But the passion for Yu Suzuki's magnum opus has proven that where there's a will, there's a way.
Making the previous chapters in the Shenmue series available on current systems will greatly increase the chances of Shenmue III being the kind of hit that attracts a publishing deal for Shenmue IV, allowing Yu Suzuki to bring closure to the story. Shenmue has never been redistributed by Sega since its release on the Dreamcast in 1999.
The #SaveShenmue fan campaign, officially recognized during the revival of Shenmue III, has now evolved into #SaveShenmueHD, applying a sharper focus on the task of making Shenmue 1 & 2 available to purchase in time for Shenmue III's release.
The new campaign continues the traditional Tweetathon every 3rd of the month, inviting gamers to converge on Twitter in a 24-hour display of concentrated support for the vital restoration of these classics:
Shenmue 3 director Yu Suzuki: "I personally would like to see remastered versions come out before Shenmue 3, so fans can really get to know the story and enjoy 3 even more. I really hope this could happen. The rights to Shenmue 1 & 2 belong to Sega, so I am not in a position to comment on it. However I would like to talk to them about it."
Shenmue 3 co-producer Cédric Biscay: "Dear Shenmue fans, please continue to make some noise (in a gentle way as usual) in order to #SaveShenmueHD. Fans have power!" "I think it's very important for the series to have Shenmue 1 & 2 in HD before the Shenmue 3 release."
Shenmue 3 advisor Ryan Payton: "The best approach is to (nicely) bombard Sega with requests for it. Good luck!"