It's five years to the day since Team Yu was founded but there's no time for sentiment, because fate has decided that today is the day we'll all be talking about an interesting pair of domain names.
ShenmueHD.com and ShenmueRemastered.com were registered by Sega Europe in the first week of September, as publicly viewable on any WHOIS website, though it's taken until now for news sites to pick up on the fact.
While undeniably a positive sign for the #SaveShenmueHD campaign, it's worth exploring the context of this news.
These domains were registered four months ago, at the same time that Sega Europe's COO Jurgen Post was coming forward to explain that while the idea of releasing new versions of Shenmue 1 & 2 had their "full attention," they were not yet able to greenlight the project due to complications with product licensing.
A third of a year later, there has been no further news apart from this belated discovery of two domain names registered within days of those particular comments.
(Some sites are mistakenly reporting that the domain records have been recently updated. The date they are reading is the last refresh date of the WHOIS database - basically the last time the record was checked for changes, not the last time there were any.)
So, we're left with two main possibilities: Either Jurgen Post was lying about the current state of the project in September (while raising the subject himself), or these domains were registered as a precaution against cybersquatting while the company worked out whether to proceed with the games or not.
It's natural to be excited whenever something like this hits the headlines, but as always we recommend caution before jumping to conclusions. Ask yourself how excited you'd still be in January if you'd spotted these domain records when they first became available.
We hope that Sega has since been working through its perceived obstacles to prioritize a chronological release for these original chapters in time for Shenmue III's arrival. But we'll believe it when it's officially confirmed and not a moment before.
Until then, we invite all fans to keep up the demand and take nothing for granted. It's encouraging that Sega considers the domains worth registering, but it's one step of many required to #SaveShenmueHD.
We all hope an announcement will come sooner rather than later, but for now, the next Tweetathon on February 3rd remains a necessary opportunity. We must urge Sega to confirm their commitment and finish the job.
Preferably before Team Yu turns six.