In a weird turn of events that not only saw the reemergence of The Last Guardian (now on PS4), and the existence of a Final Fantasy VII remake coming from Square Enix, the Sony E3 conference also had one especially weird and unexpected announcement. The return of Shenmue! The cult Sega Dreamcast series of games that blended fighting, role-playing, and simulation with cinematic continent-spanning storytelling. In the late '90s no less. What's even weirder is that Shenmue III isn't being published by Sony. Instead series creator Yu Suzuki used the Sony Conference to launch a crowd-funding Kickstarter campaign.
With it being over 14 years since the last Shenmue game, Shenmue III is still planned to be the third and final part of a trilogy. A trilogy that began development in the '90s for the Sega Dreamcast, but due to delays, spiraling development costs, and the lukewarm reception of the Dreamcast console itself, had its sequel ported to both the Xbox and PlayStation 2.
As of writing the Shenmue III campaign has already raised close to $1.5 million of the $2.0 million goal. With that in mind, funding for Shenmue III is clearly going to happen. And quickly too.
Fun fact, the original Shenmue was one of the most expensive games of all-time with development costs ranging from $50-$100 million, depending on who you speak to. Which I suppose, makes the $2.0 million asking price for the third game feel kinda low.
But even so this is excellent news for Shenmue fans, who have waited years for the sequel. And if you played and finished the first two games you'll understand why. The characters, setting, and story were not only ambitious for their time but few games today dare feature narratives that treat everyday life with the same sense of reverence and adventure.
Check out the campaign video below, and the Kickstarter page
for more details.