Many gamers were excited when Japanese designer Yu Suzuki announced that he would be directing another sequel to his legendary video game series Shenmue. And no doubt there was plenty of interest all-round, as the game’s Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign has been one of the most successful to date, with Suzuki’s studio Ys Net raising more than $6 million (£4 million) in order to make Shenmue 3.
And proof that the game’s development is moving at a steady pace are the new screenshots that Suzuki’s studio has put out on the game’s Kickstarter page recently, showing gorgeous landscapes, lush green fields and villages. These screenshots will likely remind gamers of medieval fantasy games like the great Fable II or Bethesda’s classic The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, even if Shenmue 3 will actually be set in 1980’s China.
Suzuki’s studio Ys Net also showed some new footage at the Monaco Anime Game International Conferences event, which definitely looked stunning, although it remains to be seen whether the final game will offer the sort of graphical fidelity seen in the demo.
Perhaps the big question here is, though, whether Suzuki and his team will be able to deliver a great game or not. Because even if the game’s Kickstarter campaign raised a respectable $6 million US dollars, this is a paltry sum when we take into account that video game budgets these days are way above this amount. After all, games like GTA V cost hundreds of millions to make, and the original Shenmue game cost an unheard of $70 million (£46 million) back in 1999, making it one of the most expensive games made to date.
And speaking of the original Shenmue game and its sequel, even though these games are considered cult classics by many, we must bear in mind that they were also big-budget flops that failed to make money for publisher Sega.
So even though the original Shenmue was one of the first games to offer true open-world gameplay and a realistic world to explore, it remains to be seen whether Shenmue 3 can also deliver a great gameplay experience in an open-world setting. After all, designer Yu Suzuki has not made a game of this sort since Shenmue’s sequel hit the shelves back in 2001, which is a long time indeed, and could make some question whether the legendary Japanese designer may have lost his touch…
The video game market has also seen the release of many superb open-world games in recent times, games like Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which featured superb gameplay, stories and characters in an open-world setting, and gamers will likely demand the same level of quality from the upcoming Shenmue 3. And no doubt Shenmue 3 will face some stiff competition when it’s released in the future, as developers like CD Projekt are working on the eagerly awaited sci-fi open-world title Cyberpunk 2077, and there’s also Nintendo’s new Legend of Zelda coming, which will also be an open-world game.
But still, Suzuki’s studio has Sony’s backing and it is clear that Shenmue 3 is one open-world RPG that many want to play given the game’s enthusiastic backing on Kickstarter, so it would certainly be a great thing if this new Shenmue instalment turned out to be a great game when it’s released at a future date.
Note: Shenmue 3 is slated for release in late 2017. It will be available on PS4 and PC.