Shenmue 3, the long awaited third chapter of the classic (and somewhat controversial) Sega Dreamcast series is finally due to release at the end of this year. With the game very almost in the bag and ready to go, Yu Suzuki has said the game will be left open for a sequel which means we could be seeing a Shenmue 4 and even 5!
In an interview with GamersFlag, Suzuki was asked if the ending for Shenmue 3 would be open. He replied that yes it is and that it would not be possible to finish the story with a third chapter, adding that there are more episodes planned and finishing the story with number 3 would boil down to a rip off. Of course Shenmue 3 was announced in 2015 with a Kickstarter campaign to drum up support. It ended up breaking records and closed with $6.6m pledged toward the development of the game.
This is all good news for fans of the series, who have waited 17 years for the story to be concluded. Originally released for the Sega Dreamcast in 2000 it had the dubious honour of being the most expensive video game ever made at that point. Originally it was supposed to be a trilogy, however the death of the Dreamcast platform cut the series off after the second instalment. The original game was groundbreaking, however received criticism at the time for at times slow pacing and questionable voice acting.
Yu Suzuki of course is the former head of famed Sega AM2, an internal studio that brought the world Virtua Fighter, Daytona USA, Outrun and Shenmue (obviously) among many others and alongside Sonic Team were one of the premier studios at Sega. Yu Suzuki himself is a director, producer but also programmer and he designed arcade architecture and system architecture for Sega’s consoles.
The performance of Shenmue arguably ended his career at Sega; given essentially a blank cheque for development, he and AM2 produced a game clearly ahead of its time. The result of which, despite his long history of successful games, he was never given a big budget to run with again.
In some ways the realisation of the third chapter (not to mention possibility of HD remakes of the first two) and potential continuation of the series is a form of redemption for Yu Suzuki and has the ability to establish his new studio Ys Net as a major player. There is still a lack of substantial information about the game and who knows when a 4th chapter would appear (if at all) noting it took 17 years for the 3rd. Perhaps its better to wrap up the series, Yu. There can always be another Shenmue title, but I think we have waited long enough for closure.
Are you excited for Shenmue 3? (Yes, I backed it on Kickstarter and want it NOW – Ed).