"It's only because of those crazy Shenmue fans - the ones with weird Twitter handles and incessant pestering messages - that a third game is happening. If Shenmue fans weren't so outspoken, constantly bugging [Sony's Adam] Boyes on Twitter and reminding [Yu] Suzuki that, yes, there are people still waiting to see the end of Ryo Hazuki's story, there's no way any of this could've occurred. Shenmue would've just been another casualty of the Japanese game industry."

- Jason Schreier, Kotaku news editor, July 2015

Campaign Timeline: Shenmue's road to revival has been a long one! Let's retrace our steps, as best we can...

Jun 1998:

A "Virtua Fighter RPG" in secret development since 1994 by Yu Suzuki and Sega's AM2 division is confirmed to exist, now codenamed Project Berkley. Development has shifted from the Saturn onto the Dreamcast, with the Virtua Fighter characters and connection officially dropped.

Nov 1998:

A disc containing Project Berkley preview footage is supplied free with Japanese copies of Dreamcast launch title Virtua Fighter 3tb, revealing the game's official name to be Shenmue and unveiling its innovative gameplay systems.

Dec 1998:

Japanese fans begin interacting with the development team on the official Shenmue BBS, suggesting ideas that would go on to be implemented within the game.

Jun 1999:

A playable "What's Shenmue?" demo is supplied free with new Dreamcast consoles in Japan.

Dec 1999:

Shenmue launches in Japan.

Nov 2000:

Shenmue launches in North America.

 

Fan site Ryo's Place launches, later becoming Shenmue Dojo.

Poster for Shenmue: The Movie

Dec 2000:

Shenmue launches in Europe.

Jan 2001:

Shenmue: The Movie is released in select theaters in Japan, enabling audiences to catch up on the story of the first game through a collection of cutscene and gameplay footage ahead of the sequel's release later in the year.

Sega announces the Dreamcast will be discontinued from the end of March.

Sep 2001:

Shenmue II launches in Japan.

Nov 2001:

Shenmue II launches in Europe.

Fan site Shenmue Master launches for the French-speaking community.

    Peter Moore   

 

Shenmue II is cancelled on Dreamcast in North America, following a regional exclusivity deal signed with Microsoft to bring the game to Xbox a year later. Addressing Sega's exit from the hardware business into becoming a third party software company, Peter Moore, President and COO of Sega America, assures fans that "any difficult choices that are made during this transition time are based on one bottom line: ensuring the longevity of beloved Sega franchises, including Shenmue." Before leaving Sega for Microsoft, Moore is told by an airport security agent, "I don't need to see your passport. You're the asshole that gave away Shenmue to Xbox."

Oct 2002:

Shenmue II launches in North America, with an English copy of Shenmue: The Movie included on DVD.

Shenmue 1 & 2 on Dreamcast

Post-2002:

Fans continue paying tribute to the series with music, fan games and more, while exploring the assets and code of the first two games, unearthing storyline snippets and creating videos of ad hoc modifications.

Feb 2003:

Yu Suzuki is inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame at the DICE Summit.

Mar 2003:

The Xbox version of Shenmue II launches in Europe.

Oct 2003:

A Shenmue convention is organized in Japan by fans, featuring activities such as cosplay, a quiz, and a darts tournament.

Aug 2005:

A report quoting anonymous sources excites and then ultimately disappoints fans with claims that Shenmue III has been close to completion for some time, awaiting the right deal to be struck.

Nov 2006:

BBC gaming show videoGaiden launches a Shenmue 3 appeal, urging fans to in some way display their support for a sequel.

Jul 2007:

It is surmised that Sega has quietly cancelled Shenmue Online, an MMORPG in development for the Chinese and Korean markets. Preview footage from the game is repurposed by Ali Novin in a fan-made trailer for a hopeful Shenmue III, attracting over a million views when reuploaded on YouTube.

Jun 2008:

Sega states that Shenmue III is "definitely one of the most requested fanboy games" but it has no plans to release it.

The Shenmue MySpace Campaign launches a project asking fans to create and display posters requesting Shenmue III, so that photos can be sent to Sega.

Aug 2008:

A petition for Shenmue III approaches 55,000 signatures, eventually going on to reach over 66,000 before the hosting website is closed down.

Nov 2008:

A mass mailing organized by the Shenmue MySpace Campaign sees fans sending letters and toy capsules to Sega headquarters in Japan, urging a Shenmue III release.

Toy capsules

Mar 2009:

The Shenmue MySpace Campaign launches the Shenmue in Blossom project, inviting fans to plant cherry blossom trees in honor of Shenmue on their own country's Arbor Day.

Jan 2010:

The ShenmueFans page tries the blanket spamming approach, promoting a blitz of Facebook groups and Sega's official page with pleas for the company to continue the series.

Sega tells Famitsu that resurrecting Shenmue III is doubtful but they would like to make it if somebody else pays for it.

Feb 2010:

Sumo Digital includes Shenmue protagonist Ryo Hazuki as a playable character in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, and says it would love to work on Shenmue III if Sega was to ask.

Nov 2010:

Sega repeats that it has no plans for the Shenmue franchise.

Dec 2010:

Yu Suzuki's new studio Ys Net launches Shenmue City, a social game for the Japanese mobile market, hoping its success will eventually allow him to provide the remainder of the Shenmue story that fans have requested. The game however is closed down after a year, with a planned browser version for PCs being cancelled.

Mar 2011:

Suzuki receives a Pioneer Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards, presented by former Sega colleague Mark Cerny.

Jun 2011:

Sega assures fans that requests for Shenmue III are taken "very seriously indeed" while reiterating that it has no plans to grant them.

Sep 2011:

Suzuki's involvement with Sega is reduced to a consultancy role.

Nov 2011:

Suzuki appears at the Toulouse Game Show to discuss Shenmue with an audience of fans. Taken aback by a rapturous standing ovation, he answers questions about the series and affirms his desire for the opportunity to make Shenmue III.

Current version of the Shenmue 500K Facebook group launches under new management.

Keep friends close
Other Fan Sites

Some of the most active Shenmue fan sites are included in the main timeline, but for neatness and posterity others are listed below.

We also spoke with representatives from a broad range of sites, past and present, to get their thoughts and memories of the long road to Shenmue III, and we invite you to read their comments here.

We want to thank each and every one of these sites for their voluntary efforts to enthuse and support their fellow fans. If you have links to any others (whether live or archived), please get in touch and we'll add them here!

Apr 1999:Shenmue.net
Sep 1999:The Shenmue Fan Site
Dec 1999:Maverick's Shenmue Page
Jan 2000:Shenmue.Koolhost.com
 ShenmueFan
Jul 2000:Scream's Shenmue Domain
Nov 2000:Shenmue: The Epic Journey
Dec 2000:The Dragon Mirror
Jan 2001:Hazuki.de
Feb 2001:Shenmue Online
Mar 2001:Tori Gardens
May 2001:Shenmue's Chen Gui Zhang
 Shenmue - Yokosuka
 Old Warehouse District
Jun 2001:Shenmue On-Line
 The Shenmue Legend
Sep 2001:Shenmue: The Dragon & The Phoenix
 Dokudami No Kimochi
 Shenmue Eye
Nov 2001:Shenmue Network
 Shenmue Dreams
 Hazukiboy's Shenmue Fansite
 Hazuki Land
Dec 2001:Shenmue Domain
 Shenmue Style
Jan 2002:Shenmue Gamer
Apr 2002:Orange Capsules
May 2002:Ren's Hideout
Sep 2002:Got Shenmue
Nov 2002:Shenmue Archive
Jul 2003:Shenmue-UK
Oct 2003:Woai Kisho
Nov 2003Shenmue Bulletin Board
Apr 2004:Ryo's Place [v2]
Nov 2005:Hazuki Dojo
Jul 2006:Shenmue III: One day, it will come
Mar 2007:Shenmue Heart Neo-Blog
 The Shenmue MySpace Campaign
Jun 2007:Shenmue Campaign
Aug 2007:Shenmue Kampanj
Oct 2007:Shenmue Wikidot wiki
Mar 2008:ShenmueFans
Jun 2008:Shenmue NeoSeeker wiki
May 2009:Shenmue Stare
Oct 2009:Shenmue Wikia wiki
Feb 2012:Shenmue Brasil
Mar 2012:A Far Northern Land
Jun 2013:Shenmue.de
 Shenmue Legacy
Sep 2013:Awkward Ryo Moments
Dec 2013:Shenmue Creatives
May 2014:Shenmue Monks
Jul 2015:Shenmue Antics
Nov 2015:Shenmue Forever
Aug 2016:Shenmue Guide
 Phantom River Stone
Shenmue Orange

Launch dates for the following sites are unknown:
 
??? ????:Alan's Shenmue Site
??? ????:Jim's Shenmue Site
??? ????:Lightning Dragon
??? ????:Orchard Slope
??? ????:Ren's Hideout
??? ????:Shenmue bar on Baidu Tieba
??? ????:Shenmue Centre
??? ????:Shenmue Harbour
??? ????:Shenmue Kingdom
??? ????:Shenmue-Net
??? ????:Shenmue Planet
??? ????:Shenmue Sweden
??? ????:What's Shenmue
??? ????:Yokosuka Side Story
??? ????:(title unknown)
??? ????:(title unknown)

Jan 2012:

Inspired by a recent interview with French fan site Shenmue Master at the Toulouse Game Show, the Team Yu project is founded with the aim of educating gamers on the distinction between Sega's unwillingness to publish Shenmue III, and Suzuki's own desire to continue the series for its fans.

Fans complete a French translation of Shenmue II.

Feb 2012:

Sega sets the tone on how it intends to handle the new feedback for the next three and a half years.

Mar 2012:

Building on partnerships with fan communities Shenmue-UK and Shenmue 500K, the first Shenmue Tweetathon is held on March 3rd, inviting fans to converge on Twitter for a day's activity around the hashtag #GiveYuTheShenmueLicense - expressing that if Sega is not committed to the future of the franchise, then the company may as well give up the rights to someone who is.

    Ben Harbourne   

 

Days after the inaugural Tweetathon, tenuous interpretations of a GameReactor interview with then-Sega brand manager Ben Harbourne lead to widespread hysteria in anticipation of Shenmue HD re-releases. A questionably sourced report on the unknown GamerZines website then fuels speculation (and advertising revenue) with a supposed leak that HD remakes have been completed for over a year. Despite the story being dismissed by another then-Sega employee the wider media still runs with it and continues to reference the rumor for years to come.

Apr 2012:

Cédric Biscay's Shibuya International, a company built around business links between France and Japan and which helped organize Suzuki's appearances at the Toulouse Game Show the previous November, launches Shibuya Productions, a subsidiary specializing in the production of video games and animations.

    Yosuke Okunari & Steve Lycett   

May 2012:

Steve Lycett, head of Sumo Digital, expresses his desire in an interview with the UK's Official Xbox Magazine to see Yu Suzuki put Shenmue III on Kickstarter. Cédric Biscay tells the Shenmue Master fan site that Suzuki is aware of crowdfunding operations but Sega is not considering this option and will not release the Shenmue license without compensation.

Jun 2012:

Fans complete a Spanish translation of Shenmue.

Jul 2012:

Yu Suzuki receives an award from the ACMI Game Masters exhibition in Australia.

    Yu Suzuki & Ryan Payton   

Aug 2012:

On the day of the fifth monthly Tweetathon, 1UP.com publishes an article about the campaign, approaching various friends for comment. One of whom - Camouflaj founder and recently successful crowdfunder of République, Ryan Payton - espouses the virtues of crowdfunding for Shenmue III, noting "somebody's got to mobilize this rabid community - they will help make this game a reality." Some months later, Payton approaches Suzuki with this idea and begins selling him on the concept of Kickstarter.

Meanwhile, UK magazine gamesTM also lends its support to the campaign, along with comedian Matt Walker. The snowballing publicity leads to a significant boost in participation for the Tweetathon going forward.

Sep 2012:

A fan recreates Ryo Hazuki's bedroom using CryEngine 3.

    Cédric Biscay & Yu Suzuki   

Oct 2012:

GBR gamebytesradio begins supporting the Tweetathon each month with a 24-hour playlist of Shenmue tunes streaming throughout the event.

Comedian Imran Yusuf joins the campaign, later compiling video clips of his pilgrimage to Shenmue locations in Japan to promote the hashtag, and appearing on the SEGA Nerds podcast.

Jan 2013:

Shenmue Dojo gets involved in the Tweetathon for the first time.

Mar 2013:

Yu Suzuki appears at the Monaco Anime Game Show, promoted by Shibuya International. Reports from fans in attendance help us clear up numerous cases of mistranslation and misreporting of the on-stage Q&A session. Most noteable amongst the genuine news that did emerge from the event is Suzuki being unaware of any plans by Sega to re-release Shenmue 1 & 2.

In his second interview with Shenmue Master (not published until July), Suzuki states that by obtaining the Shenmue license from Sega, he would be able to use existing Shenmue III materials already stored in Sega's vaults.

    Yu Suzuki & Mark Cerny   

 

Having barely unpacked his bags after the trip to MAGS, Suzuki jets off to San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference. Whilst there, a photograph taken with former Sega colleague (and architect of the PlayStation 4) Mark Cerny creates a stir when GDC's general manager claims they are "talking strategy for Shenmue III," declining requests to confirm whether she was joking. MAGS promoter and future Shenmue III co-producer Cédric Biscay dismisses the tweet as "a simple publicity shot for the GDC," reiterating this sentiment in a later interview with Shenmue Master.

Also at GDC, indy developer and former Gamasutra senior editor Brandon Sheffield speaks with Suzuki about Kickstarter, and then asks fans to help him prove the viability of this option. Despite relative lack of exposure, within 24 hours campaign followers respond in their hundreds.

Apr 2013:

One month after the Tweetathon's first anniversary, the event is continuing to grow and makes its first use of Thunderclap to simultaneously release a batch of tweets pre-loaded by fans leading up to the deadline. This is later replaced by a custom AutoTweet tool on the Team Yu website, coded by David Brown of Mooncalf Studios.

Critical comments on a Sega fan site prompt a detailed defense of the #GiveYuTheShenmueLicense hashtag and the aims of the campaign, which is then retweeted by the fan site.

    Kavinsky   

May 2013:

Shenmue Dojo holds a 70 Man Battle contest, assisted by Team Yu, inviting fans to film themselves completing this climactic section of the first game in the fastest time to win an Exclusive edition Ryo Hazuki statue supplied by First 4 Figures.

Electro/house music star Kavinsky participates in the Tweetathon after seeing Yu Suzuki photographed with his album OutRun (named for Yu's arcade classic).

Shenmue villain Lan Di tops a poll of Sega characters to be made into a statue by First 4 Figures, after pre-orders for the high-end Ryo Hazuki statue sell out.

    Corey Marshall's autograph   

 

Voice actor Corey Marshall dispels rumors of new studio work on Shenmue III, stemming purely from a change to his Facebook profile.

Jun 2013:

Virtua Fighter composer and Streets of Rage sound programmer Takayuki Nakamura tweets his support of the campaign and begins adding regular mentions in his newsletter.

Jul 2013:

Corey offers signed photos to participants in the Tweetathon.

Aug 2013:

Jordan Mechner, creator of Prince of Persia, lends his support to the campaign.

Members of the international Shenmue 500K community spell out the campaign hashtag #GiveYuTheShenmueLicense in a photo collage.

    Art by Jonathan Neasham   

Sep 2013:

The campaign begins targeting Sony's #BuildingTheList survey, run by Gio Corsi's Third Party Productions team in search of requests for titles to bring to PlayStation platforms.

Following several rounds of voting spread over months, Shenmue is crowned the best game of all time in a mammoth poll held by leading German magazine M! Games.

Oct 2013:

Sega's CS Research and Development producer Yosuke Okunari claims that their next line-up of HD re-releases "will depend on all of your voices, so please continue to support us." When approached by fans on Twitter, he clarifies that although he would like to play more Shenmue, requests should be directed to Sega West - the most common addressee during 20 monthly Tweetathons thus far.

Nov 2013:

Overlapping the Tweetathon, gamers raise money for the SickKids charity by playing Shenmue 1 & 2 on Twitch for 25 straight hours.

Sony's Adam Boyes acknowledges Shenmue as one of the most requested games in their ongoing #BuildingTheList survey, prompting much speculation. Meanwhile Shenmue dominates a separate survey by the UK's Official PlayStation Magazine on most wanted franchises to appear on PS4, although an unannounced deadline of only a few hours prevents this from being reflected in the magazine itself.

Dec 2013:

Answering a tweet, Microsoft's Phil Spencer makes his first public comments on the prospect of Shenmue III on Xbox One: "I like Shenmue as well but it's a Sega IP. MS Studios doesn't have much pull at Sega. I'll recommend to our 3rd party team."

 

The campaign replaces its old hashtag #GiveYuTheShenmueLicense with the newly announced #SaveShenmue.

Ryo Hazuki is revealed as DLC for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, following success in the character poll endorsed by Sumo Digital a year prior. Fans send the developers a photo collage thanking them for their persistence.

Jan 2014:

Fan-made smartphone app Shenmue Cassette Player is released for Android.

With another photo collage the Shenmue 500K community reaches out to Sony and attracts industry and media attention.

Ryo DLC for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is released for PC, with the Shenmue protagonist also included as an unlockable character for iOS and Android.

The UK's largest videogame retail chain Game voices its support for the campaign.

The first attempt is made to get Shenmue's soundtrack voted into the Classic FM Hall of Fame, against claims from an influential source of withheld support that it's not worth trying as it will never happen.

Collage by members of Shenmue 500K

Feb 2014:

A Team Yu Twibbon is introduced to help Twitter and Facebook users raise awareness of the campaign in their profile pictures.

Phil Spencer speaks against the idea of funding Shenmue III for Xbox One as Microsoft doesn't own the IP.

Shenmue III captures 47% of all votes to lead an X-One Magazine poll for games most wanted on Xbox One.

A fan-made screensaver is released for Windows, emulating the Shenmue loading screens and including a built-in Tweetathon reminder on the 3rd of each month.

Issues surrounding Shenmue-related trademarks spark a flurry of misleading reports.

Mar 2014:

Fan-made browser game Excite QTT (Quick Time Typing) is launched online.

Team Yu is interviewed by the crew behind the G.E.E.K Podcast.

Yu Suzuki attends the Game Developers Conference to present a Shenmue Postmortem and seek partnerships for Shenmue III, including secret talks with Sony. He also states that he is researching Kickstarter as a method of funding the game.

    Yu Suzuki   

 

Ys Net reveals a new browser-based Virtua Fighter spin-off, and Suzuki continues to debate Kickstarter for Shenmue III.

Phil Spencer, recently promoted by Microsoft to Head of Xbox, further acknowledges Shenmue as the most requested game.

Apr 2014:

Spencer follows up by using the #SaveShenmue hashtag on Twitter.

Sony's Adam Boyes remarks on the continued frequency of Shenmue requests on Twitter.

A fan remix of Shenhua's theme is used to raise money for a charity battling the effects of children's cancer.

Edge magazine runs a feature on Team Yu and the positive behavior of Shenmue fans campaigning for a sequel.

    Phil Spencer   

 

Rumors continue over Shenmue III being "as close to being announced as it has ever been over the past decade," according to a reporter following a "small private audience with Yu Suzuki" at GDC in March.

Sony's Gio Corsi comments at PAX East on the relentless tweeting of Shenmue fans since the beginning of his #BuildingTheList survey.

May 2014:

Phil Spencer encourages gamers to lobby for the return of their favorite games from the original Xbox. Fans waste no time in reminding him which console was required to play Shenmue II in North America.

Jun 2014:

Team Yu gets a discreet message to Yu Suzuki via Ali Novin, encouraging the view that if neither private investment nor crowdfunding is shaping up to be wholly workable for Shenmue III on its own, then both methods could be used to offset each other, with any risk-averse investors possibly agreeing to support the project on the condition that measurable demand for the game is proven by fans pledging a minimum target amount.

    Yu Suzuki & Gamelab guests   

 

Another E3 comes and goes without a Shenmue III announcement, but Yu Suzuki remains active and reassuring words are offered by Sony's Adam Boyes, while fans continue to petition Microsoft through an official Xbox poll.

Yu Suzuki is presented with a Legend Award at Gamelab Barcelona, where he has the chance to mingle with Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida and discuss crowdfunded game development with two of its most high profile advocates, Tim Schafer (Broken Age) and Keiji Inafune (Mighty No. 9). Amidst proceedings, the Internet goes nuts over photos showing a Shenmue-style "III" symbol on a screen behind Suzuki, before delayed translations reveal it to be nothing serious.

Jul 2014:

Voice actress Lisle Wilkerson offers signed photos to participants in the Tweetathon.

    Lisle Wilkerson's autographs   

Aug 2014:

Team Yu's founder appears on the Chipped Podcast to promote the campaign.

NoconKid, a graphic designer from South Korea, begins releasing videos of his homemade HD recreation of Shenmue's environments, dropping jaws around the world.

One of several detailed efforts by fans to recreate Shenmue locations within Minecraft is released for download.

Following a long delay after voting, Empire lists Shenmue as one of the greatest video games of all time, jumping to 7th place from a previous ranking of 42nd.

Sep 2014:

Fans complete English, Spanish, and German translations of the "What's Shenmue?" demo.

Insert Coin Clothing offers discounts on their official Ryo Hazuki replica jacket to participants in the Tweetathon.

Sega of Japan receives a deluge of requests for Shenmue during its promotion on Facebook of the Tokyo Game Show. In an interview from the event not published until November, Yu Suzuki tries to take the heat off Sega.

Oct 2014:

Corey Marshall and other performers restate their support for the #SaveShenmue campaign.

Reiterating previous advice, Team Yu continues to urge fans to avoid unofficial crowdfunding schemes for Shenmue III.

Scott Rohde, PlayStation Software Product Development Head for Sony Worldwide Studios America, draws international media coverage by acknowledging the campaign's persistence.

Nov 2014:

Team Yu interviews NoconKid about his fan-made Shenmue HD project.

Almost 15 years after Shenmue's release, tweets from Fangamer, GameTrailers' Michael Huber, and other passionate supporters are collated in a small snapshot of the latest Tweetathon.

    Michael Huber   

 

A documentary is announced, later to be titled A Gamer's Journey: The Definitive History of Shenmue. The project receives publicity from IGN while supporting the campaign.

Not even the IGN Convention in Dubai is safe from the campaign to #SaveShenmue.

Dec 2014:

On the 20th anniversary of PlayStation, only one game appears on every wishlist for Christmas.

Sony succeeds in bringing Yakuza 5 to the West following its popularity in the #BuildingTheList survey, leaving fans to wonder if fellow frontrunner Shenmue III will be next.

RETRO magazine promotes the campaign in a feature listing franchises that need a sequel.

Russian news outlet GameMAG promotes the campaign while covering a fan-made version of Lucky Hit.

Jan 2015:

Organizers of the ACMI Game Masters exhibition featuring Yu Suzuki titles promote the Tweetathon.

    Ali Novin & Takeyuki Ogura   

 

A second attempt is made to vote Shenmue's soundtrack into the Classic FM Hall of Fame.

Feb 2015:

The campaign passes a milestone of three years of monthly Tweetathons.

Lisle Wilkerson praises the dedication of those campaigning for Shenmue III, stating, "I think that Sega should do this, just out of, kind of a respect for the loyalty of fans."

Mar 2015:

With Yu Suzuki attending another GDC, a former colleague who worked on Shenmue's dynamic weather system comments on the importance of fans actively campaigning to save Shenmue.

A Toonami poll asking for people's favorite video game is dominated by Shenmue, earning it a mention on their Pre-Flight show.

Gamers begin voting in their thousands in support of a proposal to make Lego versions of classic Sega arcade machines and Yu Suzuki himself.

Suzuki-san speaks at a seminar in Tokyo about the role of game creators.

Apr 2015:

A fan mod by Espirral allowing versions of Ryo Hazuki and Lan Di to finally battle in Dead or Alive 5 receives media coverage from around the world.

May 2015:

Tweetathon participants continue to influence their fellow gamers into showing solidarity for the cause.

Fan-made smartphone game Excite QTA (Quick Time App) is released for Android.

Yet another Shenmue hoax claims a joint announcement by Sega and Square Enix concerning a Shenmue I-III collection is imminent. After the games media and blogosphere obligingly whips fans into an expectant frenzy, the culprit confesses to forging the "leaked" image.

 

Yu Suzuki resumes activity on his long-dormant Twitter account.

Jun 2015:

Data Discs offers a limited edition copy of its official Shenmue soundtrack LP to participants in the Tweetathon.

Suzuki-san begins homing in on #SaveShenmue tweets.

Fans collaborate for a photo collage wishing Suzuki a happy 57th birthday.

Suzuki arrives at E3 and tweets a picture of a forklift, sending fans into a frenzy of speculation and almost giving Sony's Adam Boyes a nervous breakdown...

    Yu Suzuki & Adam Boyes   

 

Suzuki-san is introduced by Adam Boyes onto Sony's stage at E3 and, to a reaction like no other, announces a Kickstarter for Shenmue III that crashes the site and reaches its $2 million target in record time. Ys Net, PlayStation, and the main Sony account all tweet the campaign hashtag.

Team Yu begins focusing on promoting the Kickstarter and fighting back against a mountain of misinformation reported by the media.

Yu Suzuki issues a statement correcting some of the hysterical clickbait being peddled by the scaremongering press.

Jul 2015:

Co-producer Cédric Biscay of Shibuya Productions comments on the manufactured drama: "I think that the media's desire to create buzz around this issue will strain our campaign by at least $2m. I don't have any words for the minority of journalists who seem to sometimes forget their duty to provide information by writing about their interpretations rather than facts."

Corey Marshall is announced as returning to voice Ryo Hazuki in Shenmue III, just as his Japanese counterpart Masaya Matsukaze will also return.

Yu Suzuki joins the biggest ever #SaveShenmue Tweetathon to answer questions from fans. An independently organized fan campaign urges Kickstarter backers to each donate an extra $30 during the event.

Ys Net publicly names Ali Novin as Executive Shenmue Ambassador while publishing links to community websites and social media pages, including a photograph of Suzuki-san holding a book prepared by Team Yu containing messages posted by fans during a previous Tweetathon.

 Tweets by Yu Suzuki, Sony, PlayStation, and Ys Net

 

The first ever #SaveShenmue QTE is announced by Team Yu and retweeted by Suzuki-san, introducing a new campaign concept requiring fans to converge online at the exact same time for a chance to win two names in the credits of Shenmue III by spreading useful information about the game.

Spanish studio BlitWorks, having worked on several ports for the company, urges fans to continue requesting Shenmue HD from Sega, describing a previous proposal: "We thought it would be a good idea to showcase Sonic CD, Jet Set Radio and Shenmue working on the emulators to Sega, with the prospect of a commercial release for the consoles of that time. They showed interest in Sonic CD and Jet Set Radio."

 

Fundraising on Kickstarter comes to a close with a record total of $6,333,295 pledged by 69,320 backers, and Yu Suzuki confirming on Twitch that due to strong demand, a PayPal option will be put in place for those who were unable to back the game through Kickstarter. Industry figures to have personally donated via Kickstarter include Peter Moore (now of EA) and Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida.

Team Yu thanks supporters with a video titled #ShenmueSaved.

Yu Suzuki issues his own message of thanks to supporters.

A speed run of Shenmue II raises money for Médecins Sans Frontières.

Work officially begins on Shenmue III.

Aug 2015:

The campaign rebrands as #SaveShenmueHD to push for re-releases of Shenmue 1 & 2 on current formats, thus increasing potential sales of Shenmue III and securing the future of the series.

The first Tweetathon using the new hashtag is utilized to gather questions for an interview with Yu Suzuki.

Shenmue III tops a poll on GameFAQs for most anticipated Kickstarted game.

Phil Spencer explains that he had spoken with Yu Suzuki about bringing Shenmue III to Xbox One, but did not pursue a deal because he preferred to focus on first party titles. Cédric Biscay later states that Microsoft "woke up a little late" and "had no arguments that would have made it possible."

Team Yu's founder is interviewed by gamesTM magazine along with Yu Suzuki and Cédric Biscay.

    Gio Corsi, Adam Boyes & Yu Suzuki   

 

NoconKid uses his latest video to promote the #SaveShenmueHD campaign.

Gio Corsi reveals that Shenmue was always #1 in the #BuildingTheList survey, and describes the precautions taken to keep the project under wraps until E3.

Yu Suzuki tells the story of hiring a fan he met in a restaurant to work on Shenmue III.

Sep 2015:

Coinciding with the Tokyo Game Show, the long awaited Slacker Backer page opens, allowing fans who missed out on the Shenmue III Kickstarter to donate for rewards via PayPal.

Fans complete Spanish translations of Dreamcast and Xbox versions of Shenmue II.

    NoconKid & Yu Suzuki   

Oct 2015:

During the #SaveShenmueHD Tweetathon, Ys Net announces the hiring of NoconKid to apply the skills demonstrated in his homemade Shenmue HD videos to Shenmue III.

Ryo Hazuki is announced as a character in Namco Bandai's IP crossover game with Sega, Project X Zone 2.

Team Yu launches a Shenmue III quiz and profile header images to help promote the game's continued crowdfunding across social media.

Yet more inaccurate news coverage, this time by a reporter twisting someone else's interview to create rumors of Shenmue III on Xbox One against the interviewer's own advice, requires new efforts to clear up confusion amongst misled fans.

Team Yu's founder is interviewed by SEGA Nerds to address the yellow journalism continuing to plague Shenmue III since the moment it was announced.

    Jon Rooke   

 

Sega Europe marketing director Jon Rooke appears to suggest the company is exploring the possibility of Shenmue 1 & 2 remakes, though paraphrasing of his precise words causes confusion amongst fans and reporters.

In the company's first direct voluntary acknowledgment of the series since Shenmue III's announcement in June, Sega Europe's social media team tweets about playing the original Dreamcast title at Paris Games Week.

Questions from Team Yu and other Shenmue fan sites and community pages are put to Yu Suzuki in an update delivered to Kickstarter backers. Suzuki describes the fans' continued support as one of the most moving experiences of his life.

    Corey Marshall signing an LP  

Nov 2015:

Team Yu launches the Winning Can Raffle, providing Shenmue III's PayPal backers the chance to win coveted prizes donated by generous fans along with First 4 Figures, who offer their new exclusive edition Lan Di statue to one of the winning ticket holders, and Corey Marshall, who offers to sign and personalize some of the items up for grabs.

Sony's Gio Corsi and Adam Boyes share a photo taken while catching up with Yu Suzuki and the Shenmue III team in Tokyo.

Suzuki visits Shanghai for the CHUAPPX Expo to promote Shenmue III, showcasing new prototype footage and receiving gifts from local fans.

A Shenmue meet-up is organized in the UK by fans, featuring activities such as a real Lucky Hit board, an exclusive teaser for the documentary A Gamer's Journey, and a live stream with Corey Marshall.

Dec 2015:

Shenmue III co-producer Cédric Biscay addresses the #SaveShenmueHD campaign and speaks of the importance of re-releasing Shenmue 1 & 2 in HD before the new sequel's release.

The first set of results in the Winning Can Raffle are announced, following the interim deadline at the end of the Tweetathon.

New Shenmue action figures are announced by Chinese company WorldBox.

Chinese members of the Shenmue community on Baidu Tieba donate 200 books to a primary school for underprivileged children in Guilin, after two teachers there had personally donated large sums to Shenmue III via Kickstarter to draw wider attention to the school and its needs.

A new stretch goal is unlocked for Shenmue III by PayPal backers, as the crowdfunding total passes $6.5 million shortly after the deadline is extended until further notice.

    Yu Suzuki   

 

Shenmue Dojo's webmaster is interviewed by Retro Gamer magazine.

Jan 2016:

A decision not to add Kickstarter-exclusive rewards to those already available on the PayPal crowdfunding site is misreported by journalists implying PayPal backers will receive no rewards at all. Once again it's left to those paying attention to fight against the tide and show other sites how to research a story.

Team Yu's founder writes on the website of the UK's Metro newspaper about the origins of the campaign.

A third attempt is made to vote Shenmue's soundtrack into the Classic FM Hall of Fame.

Yu Suzuki is officially presented with two Guinness World Records for Shenmue III being the most funded video game on Kickstarter and the fastest to raise $1 million.

Feb 2016:

The final set of results in the Winning Can Raffle are announced, with tickets received for the contest representing over $2.5K spent on the Shenmue III PayPal campaign.

Yu Suzuki appears at MAGIC Monaco for a Shenmue III conference hosted by David De ville, and unveils new content and footage from the game's ongoing development. Later that day, Shenmue Master records its third interview with Suzuki-san, published the following month.

    Yu Suzuki & David De ville   

 

Fans make the most of an official survey from Sega to express demand for Shenmue 1 & 2 HD.

Mar 2016:

Fans complete a Brazilian Portuguese translation of the "What's Shenmue?" demo.

Shenmue's soundtrack is finally inducted as the highest new entry into the Classic FM Hall of Fame.

Apr 2016:

To mark the 50th consecutive monthly Tweetathon, contests are held throughout the day and a teaser video is revealed to announce an interview with Yu Suzuki secretly held by Team Yu and the Shenmue Dojo fan site at MAGIC Monaco. The full video and written report are published the following day.

The media misconstrues another project update from Ys Net, with journalists this time falsely reporting that Shenmue III's dialog might only be recorded in one language. The source material instead explains that it's the ability for players in all markets to select between English and Japanese when loading up their copy of the game that may come down to budgeting later in development.

    Dan Sheridan & TheSkillJim  

May 2016:

Responding to a deluge of fan questions about the whereabouts of Shenmue 1 & 2 HD, Sega Europe states the company "would love to release these tomorrow" and is "currently investigating how to make it a reality," but cites "complications from licensed products that were included in the original games." Most of the games media reports this as a step in the right direction with possible cause for concern over the licensing issues, while a minority of reporters exaggerate the story as confirmation of the games being greenlit.

Luke Crane, head of games at Kickstarter, quashes criticisms of Shenmue III's use of their platform and Sony's involvement in the project.

Gio Corsi and Adam Boyes catch up with Yu Suzuki in Japan, sharing their last photo together before Boyes leaves Sony a few weeks later.

Chinese fans on Baidu Tieba follow up their previous book donation by donating a projector to the remote primary school in Guilin.

    Chibi  

Jun 2016:

In partnership with Japan Cat Network, Team Yu launches the Shenmue Heart of Gold campaign to raise funding for shelter animals in Japan, inspired by Ryo's compassion for an orphaned kitten in the game. Lisle Wilkerson's own rescue cat Princess Genki acts as feline ambassador, with Shenmue III music composer Ryuji Iuchi and co-producer Shibuya Productions also helping to raise awareness.

Jul 2016:

Now known as a Shenmue III advisor, Ryan Payton encourages campaigners to continue requesting Shenmue HD from Sega.

Aug 2016:

Without direct prompting, Sega Europe COO Jurgen Post acknowledges that Shenmue has been "pretty much at the top of every list of titles that people wanted to see revived."

    Jurgen Post  

Sep 2016:

Jurgen Post speaks in more detail about Shenmue, stating that Sega is "looking into" remakes of the first two games and that they have the company's "full attention," while reiterating his colleague's earlier comments from May about licensing contracts that Sega "will need to renegotiate" before the games can be greenlit. Meanwhile, Sega Europe registers several website domain names suggesting an active interest in Shenmue HD remasters.

In an unofficial poll conducted for Sega's attention during the Tweetathon, fans vote overwhelmingly against keeping licensed products in Shenmue HD if negotiating those contracts will prevent the first two games from being released ahead of Shenmue III.

Oct 2016:

Seventeen years after its release, hidden animation data is discovered by a fan within the code of the playable "What's Shenmue?" demo matching the victory pose of Virtua Fighter's Akira, formerly the lead character of the game during development.

    Cédric Biscay  

Cédric Biscay restates the need for Sega to release new versions of Shenmue 1 & 2 on modern platforms.

Nov 2016:

On the 30th anniversary of the start date in Shenmue's story, a live playthrough on Twitch raises money for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dec 2016:

Fan-made Mini Shenmue RPG is released for the Saturn platform, playable via emulator.

Jan 2017:

Cédric Biscay tweets his own direct plea to Sega to #SaveShenmueHD following the first Tweetathon of the year.

News sites discover the domain names registered by Sega Europe in September 2016.

Cédric Biscay urges fans to stay vocal in the quest to #SaveShenmueHD.

Feb 2017:

The proposed Lego set featuring Yu Suzuki and some of his creations receives the required 10,000 votes to be formally considered for official release.

A rumor citing an unnamed source at Atlus USA claims Shenmue 1 & 2 remasters will be released in 2017.

Mar 2017:

Fans use an official Sega Japan survey to highlight interest in the campaign for Shenmue 1 & 2 remasters.

Apr 2017:

Cédric Biscay reiterates his desire for Shenmue 1 & 2 remasters to be released by Sega ahead of Shenmue III.

Fans respond to an invitation from Tekken 7 director Katsuhiro Harada with requests for Ryo Hazuki to become a guest character in upcoming DLC.

May 2017:

Sony's Gio Corsi catches up with Yu Suzuki during a visit to Japan.

Jun 2017:

Fans vote Shenmue 1 & 2 in 2nd and 6th place respectively in a Famitsu magazine action-adventure games poll.

Fans react warmly to Yu Suzuki's announcement of an extension to Shenmue III's development period.

Aug 2017:

Sega Europe's Executive Vice President of Publishing, John Clark, makes familiar comments about Shenmue on new platforms being something they "would love to make happen" and are "actively pursuing."

The Italian branch of IGN recalls the monthly Tweetathons that led up to Shenmue 3's shock revival.

Ys Net releases a new teaser video to celebrate a new publishing deal with Deep Silver, with interviews at Gamescom allowing Yu Suzuki to address misconceptions about the game's incomplete assets.

Voice actor Corey Marshall pays tribute to the teamwork of fans around the world making Shenmue III happen.