Sega have announced that the long awaited HD re release of Shenmue I and II will drop on the 21st of August via both digital and physical formats, they have also detailed the extra features and released a brand new trailer. In the announcement they describe the series as having a dedicated following, definitely true considering the record breaking crowd funding of III, and being revered as one of the greatest series of all time. Although some may argue influential yes, one of the greatest may be a bit of a reach.
The re releases will feature a number of features including a choice between Japanese or English speech, saves to carry between the games, save anywhere and a choice between modern or classic controls. By modern they mean being able to use the analogue stick or the d pad. Interestingly the games are locked at 30fps due to the engine having hard coded 30fps assumptions, which is fine—after all this ain’t street fighter turbo is it.
Somewhat grandiose claims aside, the original Shenmue games were almost certainly a ahead of their time, influential and notable in a few ways. Costing an estimated $70 Million at the time, it set a record for most expensive game produced for its time, taking the mantle from FFVII, making it essentially impossible for the game to profit. Producer Yu Suzuki, head of famed AM2, was given a blank cheque for a passion project and it ended up being his last for Sega. Nowadays big budgets, years of development, famed directors going too far then leaving after commercial failure are all common place.
There is certainly a section of the community looking to play again and there are others that may want to check out what the fuss is about for the firs time. The trailer describes the series as an epic masterpiece that defined modern gaming. Perhaps Sega, perhaps.
But maybe not in the way they think it did.