What We Know About Shenmue III So Far

What We Know About Shenmue III So Far

This year's E3 seems to be all about making fans' dreams come true. Released in 1999, the original Shenmue was the originator for both the open world game genre and the Quick-Time Event, or QTE. Originally conceived as a massive, 11 chapter series, the series only managed to release up to its sixth chapter in 2001 with Shenmue II before the project was halted.

Now the project is back with the Shenmue III Kickstarter that was announced at Sony's press conference at this year's E3. Series creator Yu Suzuki revealed more about the project in an interview in this week's Weekly Famitsu. Here's what he said along with what we know about the game so far.

  • For development, Suzuki has turned to the company neilo as the main developer. Takeshi Hirai of neilo was the chief programmer for the original Shenmue.

  • Asked by Weekly Famitsu why he didn't consider partnering with a Western developer, Suzuki noted, "There was that option, yes. But the biggest characteristic of Shenmue is culture." Suzuki has been vocal of his intent to preserve the cultural aspects of the game.

  • For the development of Shenmue III, Suzuki is gathering other key members of the development team for the original game.

  • Suzuki is currently looking at the Unreal Engine 4 for Shenmue III. "I've been looking at a several different engines over the past three years for Shenmue III, and Unreal Engine 4's colours fit the colour of the world I envision for Shenmue." Suzuki remarked.

  • While Shenmue II offered a bigger map compared to the original Shenmue, Suzuki has said that for Shenmue III he is looking to make a smaller, more detailed world. "Ever since [Shenmue II] I always had decided that 'for the next game, I'm going to go much deeper.'" Suzuki said. Suzuki has said that he is looking to focus on giving the characters far more depth in how they act as they inhabit the world of Shenmue III and how they react to the player's decisions.

  • The story of Shenmue III will start directly after the end of Shenmue II where *spoilers!* Ryo Hazuki met Ling Shenhua and went to her home *end spoilers!* Suzuki has confirmed that several familiar characters will be returning in the game. Fortunately, for those who have never played the previous games, the Kickstarter stretch goal of 2.5 million — cinema shorts for Shenmue and Shenmue II — has been reached.

  • While the game's release date is still not set in stone, Suzuki is hoping to have the game available by the end of 2017.

  • As the game is a direct sequel in the series, it is not a spin-off, side story, remake, or reboot.

  • The initial asking goal was for two million dollars. It hit that goal in less than 24 hours, making it the fastest Kickstarter project to hit both a million and two million dollars.

  • Sega, which published the previous Shenmue games kindly handed the rights for a sequel over to series creator Yu Suzuki without any sort of fuss. Nice of you, Sega.

  • Sony has a hand in the project, probably shouldering what will the bulk of developments costs.

While much of it may be formed in Suzuki's head, Shenmue III is still very much in the drawing board phase. While the partnership with Sony and the massive support from fans will probably keep the game from being a Kickstarter horror story, it still has an uphill battle to climb from here.

Even so, after 14 years, it's nice to see what was once a dream slowly becoming a reality.

Shenmue III will hopefully be released in 2017 for the PC and PlayStation platform.


    Everyone get behind it!

    Sony have said that they are treating it as an 'indie game' and as such, Yu Suzuki needs your Kickstarter support to be able to implement more into the game.

    From a meagre US$29 - about $37 Aussie bucks (digital download for PS4 or PC version) you can support this game to reach it's stretch goals and have far more implemented.

    This will make the game a truly immersive world we know and love of the last two Shenmue games.

    If you've never played Shenmue (14 years is a long time since Shenmue 2) - don't be too worried - I have a good feeling that SEGA will release HD version of the last two games before Shenmue 3 releases.

    New to Shenmue..? There is a reason why it's going gangbusters just check out Gamerankings averages are 89.34% for Shenmue (48 critic reviews) and 89.63% for Shenmue 2 (19 critic reviews).



    Last edited 19/06/15 9:23 am

    Shenmue was the originator for both the open world game genre and the Quick-Time Event, or QTE.

    I disagree heavily with both these statements. Shenmue was neither the originator of either. Kings Quest VI had an 'open world' allowing you to do quests in any order that you liked. Elite had an 'open world'. Daggerfall was gigantic in its open world approach and is still yet to be beaten (procedurally generated sure, but still open world). Ocarina of Time predates Shenmue and had an open world, and even games like Fallout 1 and 2 supplied an open world as did many RPG's. But specifically, if we want to go with 3d, Ocarina of Time beat Shenmue to the punch as did Daggerfall.

    As for QTE, we can go all the way back and say Dragons Lair and Space Ace have been doing this since the early, early 1980s. Granted they were Laserdisc games. If we wanted to move it up a bit we can look at DIE HARD ARCADE/DYNAMITE COP 1 and 2 in the Arcade and on the Dreamcast. This had an abundance of QTE's and beat Shenmue by a year.

    This is a good article, but you shouldn't retcon history just to try to make it sound good...

    Last edited 19/06/15 9:37 am

      I don’t know what’s “good” about being called the inventor of the QTE!

      Realistically we could spent all day nitpicking over where any individual game concept was started (anything that prompts you to press a button quickly could be called a QTE, anytime you can move around an open space is an "open world"), but I think it would be fair to say that Shenmue was an innovative milestone and a benchmark for both the QTE and the open world.

      Shenmue was such a revelation when it was launched. A bit like GTA V but without as many iterations leading up to it, which made the sense of adventure even more amazing.
      So many “I can’t believe I can do/see that!” moments. When you first jump on an arcade machine and it plays, or you pick up a candy bar in the store and can look at it in your hand, or open up the cupboard in your lounge room and there’s’ (a very non-80’s) Sega Saturn in there… just crazy detail for the time.

        In Shenmue, they were actually called "Quick Timer Events".

        Also, some of Shenmue's handling of them was better than a lot of games these days. I recall branching paths during a chase (pick left or right), and most of them weren't instant fails if you missed the button presses.

        I remember screwing up too many things during a chase, and then the game simply continued on and I had to look for different leads.

      Sounds like splitting hairs though. Not to say you're wrong, just that when most people refer to Shenmue this way (as they have since Shenmue's creation), we know what they're referring to.

      'Open World' has inaccurately been specifically about a non-generated world where the scope of actions within it generally outmatch the basic requirements for beating the main quest.
      So a non-linear game doesn't automatically qualify, because that's just a re-shuffle of a 'closed world' and randomly generated somehow doesn't count (I imagine it's because 'world' in that case means: 'random set of variables repeating a closed set of actions).
      Zelda is really a poor example, and barely scrapes by with a sentiment of 'open world'. Even the biggest spaces to explore in Zelda games are essentially glorified corridors that funnel the player from one dungeon to the next.

      QTEs did indeed exist previously, but it's funny because they weren't really the same in the way they exist now and Shenmue is to blame. Firstly: Shenmue literally told you they invented them. The effort this game goes to teach players what they are and how to react is hilarious by today's standards. The importance of Shenmue's implementation is through integration of the QTEs in larger adventure gameplay. Secondly: players had to temporarily change their mode of thinking from regular gameplay to reflex button-pressing during cutscenes, and then back again. That was new.

      Dragon's Lair was almost entirely QTEs, so it wasn't really a mechanic by itself, but instead replaced the standard input of the game (pressing buttons at certain moments just like always.) Dynamite Cop (and many arcade games) were the same, QTEs and similar where expected gameplay in arcade and made pure 'sense' when the simplistic controls on the arcade machines needed every excuse to be pressed. Not only that, but pressing a button quickly at a certain moment is now very distinct from the long chains of commands modern QTEs require (see Resident Evil 4, God o f War). At the time, nobody was really interested in 'copying' what arcade games were doing because home console style adventures spoke a whole different language.

        I disagree there. Splitting hairs is when you're being technical. An absolute claim was made about the origins of something and those claims are incorrect, that's not splitting hairs, it's being factual. As for QTE's, no Dynamite Cop/Die Hard Arcade had these prior to Shenmue as well. If you failed them you got Outcome B instead of Outcome A and both let you play on in the game, not resulting in death generally, infact some even had a branching path or two. So I'm sorry but again, it's being factual, not splitting hairs. Did Shenmue do it better? By all means yes. Did it do it first like the article claims? No.

        Last edited 19/06/15 11:18 am

          Then it's semantics, because while physically what Dynamite Cop does is the same as a QTE (press button when prompted) it's just not the same in a gameplay mechanic. Choosing outcome A or B on a time limit isn't the same as accurately following prompts without failure. Rhythm games like DDR or Space Channel 5 have more in common with QTEs then.

          Yes I've used the wrong wording, you weren't splitting hairs... but you were making incorrect correlations. If you boil down 'open world' to 'theres a world and you can navigate it freely' then we can go waaaaay back. Same with QTEs if QTEs are only 'press button when told'. By that rhetoric, Pac-Man is the first survival horror.

            Again, not semantics or splitting hairs. The article made a claim, I stated how the claim was not correct, it's correcting a mistake. That's not splitting hairs. Infact, you're doing that in a vain hope of.... I have no idea of what. Have a good one man.

            Last edited 19/06/15 1:56 pm

              This might the be the most unbearable back and forth on kotaku in years

    I remember trying to catch leaves in Shenmue 2. Gahhhh

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