is an upcoming open-worldaction-adventure game developed by Neilo and Ys Net, scheduled for release in December 2017 for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4. The third... read more
is an upcoming open-worldaction-adventure game developed by Neilo and Ys Net, scheduled for release in December 2017 for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4. The third game in the main Shenmue series, Shenmue III follows teenage martial artist Ryo Hazuki in his quest to find his father's killer in 1980s China.
At the June 2015 E3 conference, following years of speculation, Shenmue director Yu Suzuki launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfundShenmue III, with Sega having licensed Shenmue to Suzuki's company Ys Net. The campaign met its initial target of $2 million USD in under eight hours, making it the fastest Kickstarter campaign to reach that amount. It ended in July having raised over $6 million, making it the highest-funded video game and the sixth highest-funded campaign in Kickstarter history. Crowdfunding resumed via the online payment system PayPal and the Chinese crowdfunding platform Alipay.
In 1987, following the events of Shenmue II, teenage martial artist Ryo Hazuki has journeyed from Yokosuka, Japan to the mountains of Guilin, China in search of his father's killer, Lan Di. There he met Ling Shenhua, a mysterious girl who previously appeared in his dreams. After learning the legend of her village which foretells a united path between them, Ryo and Shenhua embark on a new journey which will reveal their shared destiny. Lan Di will return, with a new antagonist Niao Sun.
Shenmue III begins in Bailu Village in Guilin. According to the game's Kickstarter page, the second area, Choubu, is "a riverside village with lots of shops, souvenir stores, hotels and temples", and the third area, Baisha, will feature a "siege game reminiscent of the Warring Kingdoms." Ryo can make phone calls to Japan to catch up with the lives of characters from previous games.
The first two Shenmue games were created by Yu Suzuki, developed by Sega AM2, and published by Sega for the Dreamcast in 1999 and 2001 respectively. Described by IGN as a "revenge epic in the tradition of Chinese cinema", Suzuki plans the series to cover at least four games. With a level of detail then considered unprecedented, the original Shenmue was the most expensive video game ever developed at the time, reported to have cost between $47 and 70 million USD. This development also covered some of Shenmue II and groundwork for future Shenmue games; Shenmue II was "completed for a much more reasonable sum". Despite attracting a cult following, the games were commercial failures and Shenmue III entered a period of development hell lasting over a decade.
Fans petitioned for the game, including a 2005 campaign by the BBC series VideoGaiden. In 2008, Sega of America president Simon Jefferystated that it was "one of the most requested fanboy games." In 2010, Suzuki said that "the concept for Shenmue III already exists" and that the game would expand "not outward, but inward", focusing on the relationship between Ryo and Shenhua. In January that year, Sega said that though sales were a concern, they would "love" to develop Shenmue III given the opportunity. In November, Sega West president Mike Hayes said: "While at present we have no plans for the franchise ... the Shenmue legacy ignites a lot of passion among fans. Never say never." On March 2, 2011, Suzuki spoke at the Game Developers Conference and said about Shenmue III: "I think Sega will let me make it ... it's a matter of budget …we have to make it in an affordable way." On January 4, 2012, he suggested that Sega could license Shenmue to his company Ys Net to develop the game independently.
In March 2013, news arose that Suzuki was considering crowdfunding or console exclusivity to fund Shenmue III. During a presentation on the franchise at the 2014 Game Developers Conference, Suzuki said he would like to make Shenmue III with the "right opportunity", and in an interview the following day said he was researching the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.During the conference, Sony Computer Entertainment approached Suzuki about Shenmue III as it was one of the most requested titles in their Twitter campaign asking fans what games they want to see on PlayStation. In May 2014, Sega renewed the Shenmue trademark. On September 28, 2014, Suzuki said: "Sega is not a problem at all. For Shenmue III, we need to define a specific budget and if I can gather enough for it, Sega will allow me to do it."
On June 14, 2015, the day before the Los Angeles E3 press conference, Suzuki tweeted "E3" with a photo of a forklift, a reference to a minigame in the original Shenmue, sparking speculation that an announcement was imminent. During Sony's E3 conference the next day, Suzuki announced a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to develop Shenmue III for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4 with a tentative release date of December 2017. The surprise announcement drew considerable publicity, winning the "Best Debut" award from GameTrailers and generating a surge in sales of pre-owned Dreamcast consoles.
The initial Kickstarter funding goal, the amount necessary for the campaign to succeed and development to begin, was $2 million USD. "Stretch goals", additional goals to encourage further donations, included a "rapport system" at $3.2 million, which governs changes in character behavior depending on the player's actions, and a "character perspective system" at $5 million, which "highlights character personalities". Suzuki said that for Shenmue III to be a "true" open-world game, the campaign would need to raise at least $10 million; nonetheless, he said he would not be disappointed by a smaller figure and would "make what [he] can within the budget."
The campaign raised $1 million USD in an hour and 44 minutes, making it the fastest game to raise that amount through crowdfunding, and met its initial goal of $2 million in eight hours and 43 minutes, making it the fastest Kickstarter campaign to reach that amount. It ended on July 17 having raised $6.3 million USD from over 69,000 backers, becoming the most funded Kickstarter video game campaign and the sixth most funded Kickstarter campaign of all time. On September 17, 2015, crowdfunding resumed using the online payment system PayPal, and on March 15 the project began accepting pledges through the Chinese crowdfunding platform Alipay. By May 2016, Shenmue III had raised a total of over $6.6 million USD from over 72,000 backers across multiple crowdfunding platforms.
Shenmue III is under development by Suzuki's development team, Ys Net, with several key members of the original Shenmue development team, including writer Masahiro Yoshimoto, character designer Kenji Miyawaki, composer Ryuji Iuchi, programmer Tak Hirai, and sub-director Keiji Okayasu. Masaya Matsukaze and Corey Marshall will reprise their roles as the Japanese and English voices of Ryo respectively. Sony and Shibuya Productions are providing production, marketing and publishing support. The game uses Unreal Engine 4.
In November 2015, Suzuki visited China to promote the project and research the locations, traditional clothes and martial arts of Guilin. In a presentation at China's Chuapp conference that month, he stated that Shenmue III's story and "composition" were complete and that "baseline research" with Unreal Engine 4 had begun. In late 2015, the team began using Shenmue IIcharacters to run simple battle and conversation tests. In February 2016, Suzuki demonstrated the game's weather effects, lighting, and music at the Monaco Anime Game International Conference.