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source: Kikizo games

Amazing revelations as Sega's mythical sequel prepares for reality on next-gen platforms. It's nothing to do with the newly announced Ryu ga Goto Ku from Toshihiro Nagoshi. It's AM2 - and it's back, with Shenmue 3.

For years, fans of one of Sega's most celebrated series, Shenmue, have waited and prayed for news of a sequel - a third instalment that would supposedly conclude the epic story, avenging the death of Ryo's father with the demise of arch villain Lan Di. Today, we have good news for them - Shenmue 3 DOES exist, and IS planned for release.


Under conditions of strict anonymity, sources close to the development of Shenmue 3 revealed to Kikizo that the project has essentially been close to finished and 'ready' for some time - but in hibernation, pending a deal for the entire series on at least one next-gen console. Kikizo's source is authentic and reliable.

And it may come as a surprise that Yu Suzuki, father of Shenmue and perhaps Sega's most famed game creator, has had very little involvement with the project, bar the original story, which remains in tact. Those are the facts - now let's take a look at everything in more detail.

Most devoted followers of the Shenmue series will remember that the first Shenmue, released on Sega's Dreamcast console in Japan at the turn of the millennium, contained the first "chapter" of Yu Suzuki's opus, while sequel Shenmue 2, first released on Dreamcast and later ported to Xbox, contained chapters 3-6. The second chapter supposedly consisted of Ryo's boat journey to Hong Kong, and was unceremoniously skipped.


AM2 had previously gone on record in 2003 to say that the remaining chapters 7-16 chapters would be included in a current-generation Shenmue 3 - but we can reveal that last year, that ceased to be the plan. Our source confirmed that there was very nearly an announcement for an Xbox Shenmue 3 at last year's E3 show in May - which makes sense considering AM2's Shin Ishikawa (who was in charge of Xbox Shenmue 2) had promised at the start of 2003 more Shenmue for Xbox, back when it seemed the system's popularity could still come back in Japan. But, because of poor sales of Xbox Shenmue 2, the deal behind that announcement with Microsoft fell through, and for a while, Shenmue 3 was indefinitely shelved.

Since then, the new plan for Shenmue has been to include the whole series - chapters 1-16 - on at least one next-generation console, although whether or not that would be in one standalone game is not yet clear, and therefore neither is the title "Shenmue 3", ultimately. However, what is certain is that the game, or games, are theoretically complete and ready to be ported to Xbox 360, PS3 or Revolution, depending on a deal with one of the hardware manufacturers - although it could just as easily end up as a multiformat next-gen release. Our source explained, "it will depend on a hardware manufacturer deal - if they get a profitable deal it will be exclusive to one format, but, if it makes more sense, it might be worthwhile [to release] on multi platform. The options are still open."


But why "all chapters"? Why go over what we already know from Shenmue 1 and 2? Says the source, "it is considered that many players will not have played the first two games, so this would be a complete product." We'll admit to being a little confused about how that's going to work. But nonetheless, that appears to be the current plan.

Yu Suzuki has very little involvement in the Shenmue 3 project, and that's something that may come as a surprise to many Sega followers. What we learned in relation to Suzuki-san is pretty interesting, but all that could be confirmed was that, "since Suzuki left AM2, he is off the core Shenmue series, which remained at AM2" - and despite the fact that Shenmue.com is still linked from the website of Suzuki's would-be Sega studio, Digital Rex, it seems all that is now irrelevant and, presumably, simply out of date. Our source clarified, "the series is under the AM2 portfolio. Shenmue remains at AM2 while [Suzuki] pursues other things."


Interestingly, more insight into the "Suzuki era" of the Shenmue series became apparent in a Kikizo interview conducted with Yuzo Koshiro last week. Yuzo Koshiro is a god-like videogame music producer, with as much respect for his work at Sega as any other development executive at the company, having worked on the legendary beats in titles such as the Streets of Rage series, Revenge of Shinobi and of course, Shenmue. In the exclusive interview to be published very soon, Koshiro-san told us, "we had a meeting once a week, just about the music, and [Suzuki] said, 'this scene needs this kind of music and that scene needs that kind of music' - it was difficult; he was very strict, he judged everything and ruled on everything." We should point out that Koshiro-san is most certainly not the source of the rest of this report however!

So who exactly is working on Shenmue 3? Frustratingly, we have learned answers in that regard, but can't name names. We know that Hiroshi Kataoka, the highly respected development talent and president of AM2 since Suzuki-san left, is not involved in any hands-on way with Shenmue 3, and is currently concentrating on the arcade side of output on titles like Virtua Fighter 5. There are however some key, familiar AM2 faces looking after Shenmue 3, including some relatively new talent from within the studio - but unfortunately we can't be more specific, to protect the sources of this report. Knowing a bit about the backgrounds of some of the key staff however, we'll say we're both relieved and, well, intrigued. Meanwhile, a final producer has yet to be internally named, but AM2 Development Director Makoto Osaki seems a likely candidate...


"Likely candidate" for producer? Didn't we already say that Shenmue 3 is near-complete? What precisely is the status of development completion? First our source confirms what most fans already knew, "the story is entirely done", (we're pretty sure the story had been finished since before the release of Shenmue 2) before elaborating, "the texture and modelling work is ready, they know what their characters look like and there's hundreds of gigabytes of [uncompressed] textures. Game designs are done. There is no more research to be done. It's a matter of 'porting' to whatever [console]."

As we touched on earlier, a final platform, or platforms, for Shenmue 3 are yet to be finalised. Indeed, we weren't able to clarify whether the exclusivity discussions with the firstparties have actually started yet. But from a purely speculative point of view, it seems most likely to us that Xbox 360 will be the initial host for the future of Shenmue; Microsoft has been absolutely determined to sign up exclusive Japanese-developed content for its new console, yet Sega signings are largely conspicuous by absence.


If Microsoft recognises and accepts that an all-new, sequel-based Shenmue consisting of original content could, quite inevitably, perform better than a rehashed Shenmue 2, then combined with the imminency of the platform, and the global appeal of the franchise (as opposed to certain other Japanese signings which focus on the local market), it's surely a question of when, not if, Shenmue 3 turns up exclusively on Xbox 360. Of course, console exclusivity these days can mean for a period as brief as six months, so when PS3 is released next year maybe it will also see its share of Shenmue; it certainly makes sense for the title to reach as broad an audience as possible.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. All that has yet to be determined. But what is "extremely unlikely", according to the source, is that the project could surface on current-gen consoles: "it would be too much work", cites the source. Interestingly, the source explained that it is cheaper to finalise production for next-gen machines than for current-gen, because of the nature of development work that is already complete. "It would be a struggle to get everything in [on current-gen]." It seems to make sense. Our source offered, "360 looks most likely, but we shall see what the future brings."


It's probably worth re-clarifying that Shenmue 3 has nothing to do with Ryu ga Goto Ku, announced earlier today by much-loved Sega development guru Toshihiro Nagoshi. The game looks and feels similar to Shenmue in many respects, and looks absolutely incredible for a PS2 title. And just to be sure, it should also be made clear that the Shenmue 3 project is, and always has been, absolutely separate from the recently canned PC project, Shenmue Online.

While the bloated, initial costs of Shenmue were offset by former Sega President Isao Okawa and parent company CSK, the project now seems to exist as a more manageable, practical and affordable entity, for which most of the background work has always been complete since the original games. And while the future of many previously unprofitable Sega franchises remains uncertain, Shenmue - the title most frequently associated with big Sega losses - is getting another chance.

Unfortunately, we can't elaborate on the sources of this information, to protect certain people close to the project. And let's face it, if their jobs were risked, we could end up back at square one in the seemingly endless drama that is Shenmue 3. Nobody can say for sure that Shenmue 3 will 100% definitely see the light of day, but Kikizo can guarantee the integrity of the source; this is the current status of Shenmue 3, plain and simple. Which means it's likely you'll be seeing off Lan Di once and for all sometime soon. Now, we just have to hope it doesn't turn out to be disappointing. After all, the rest of the RPG genre has done quite a lot of innovating in the last five years.

Of course, the official Sega line on Shenmue 3 is "no comment". But when this story is dissected all over the web and quite possibly ruled "bogus" from certain quarters, all that means is that the official Sega line is "no comment". If you push Sega a little harder, it will possibly even make official noises about how it all seems "unlikely" - but nonetheless, this is factual information.

With titles like Virtua Fighter 5, Afterburner III and now Shenmue 3 to look forward to, it seems difficult to remember why we were all so worried after last year's Sammy takeover. And from what we hear, there's more to look forward to just on the horizon.

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Hmm... Shenmue 2 dissapointed me a little. It was to much of the same from the first one. Probobly has to do with the fact they were both supposed to be part of the same game originally. Still, I'd love to see the series completed, and having next-gen graphics to go with it would be a definate plus. :)
 

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I agree, Shenmue 2 was the same as the first, and I think, IMHO, that the game's end was so stupid. Shenmue was getting too way realistic, looking really good, then they have broken it putting some weird magical stuff into the history,... I was so disappointed when I saw magical beams sparkling from those mirrors inside that weird room on the final... looks like we'll be able to defeat Lan Di using some summons or some spells :p
at overall, was a great game and I hope to get the shenmue 3 (with magic or not) in my hands. :)
 

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The Hunter
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QUICK: What emulator to emulate X360? TELLME! :p

J/K

Wow, I am surprised and so happy to read this news. Shenmue series is my fav gaming series, and I have really been waiting for this game! I will definately get a nextgen console if this game will see the light of day :D

I liked Shenmue 1 alot, as a kickoff for the series, but Shenmue 2 was better in all aspects. You could say it was more of the same, but to me it all felt alot better. Even the ending I liked, I really wanted to continue the story
which I prefer to call mystical instead of magical, it ain't Final Fantasy like :p
*puts on the Shenmue OST and wipes away emo tear ^^ *

Funny how I got to read this news on 9/9, exactly 6 years after DC's US release :D
 

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Oh this is good. Shenmue.....I consider it as a classic. I loved it and my only complain was that the fights sequences with the DC pad. That controller did its best to spoil the fun, but its a really cool game. I mean, when I first played Shenmue1 on the DC.....I just said to myself, "Now this is what I call a next-gen game" :p

Its good that its coming back. And yes, I won't mind AT ALL playing through the first chapters again. I mean, I still do that once in a while :p
 

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The Hunter
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I've recently played Shenmue 1 for a second time. And after reading this news something was itching, so I decided to grab my savegame and start Shenmue 2 :D

And KanedA, you might as well wait for a DC emulator for PoS2 :evil:
 

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Wow i missed alot since i havent been on the internet in few days. I played half way through the orginal Shenmue on the DC but stopped. I liked it just got busy in other stuff. I'll probably buy the game if its released the ps3 or something and if the other games are rereleased.
 

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This is quite relevant to the topic.

Supposedly, this recent article suggests there is no Shenmue 3 in the making. I can't read nor translate it. Looking at the website's tld, I suppose this is taiwanese? Anyone here able to give a good summary and confirm?
 

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The Hunter
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I'm curious about what's in the article, I'll check Shenmuedojo to see if anyone their knows more about it.

Let's hope they are wrong :(

edit:
This is what I found on Shenmuedojo's forums.

Part 1 Lindberg, Arcade, next gen

Yu says that he believes Lindberg is the most powerful arcade board in existence. Even though developing new games on a new hardware can be difficult, but it's something he has a very good handle of, so he believes he can do a good job.

Concerning Lindberg's PC design, Yu says that the development of hardware is the responsibility of the R&D team, and not his, so he can not says for sure the reasons for the decision. He adds that what he thinks are the reason, is that technically, PC from before weren't good enough to use in an arcade system. But now, since modern PC's have added processing capabilities in sound and gfx, it is becoming a suitable hardware for arcade use.

Yu says that he's not sure about the capabilities of PS3 and Xbox360, so he can't really compare Lindberg to those systems. On top of that, he hasn't had hand's on testing of either systems, so he can't say for sure how they compares. He adds that every game needs different kinds of processing and effects. There are hardwares that can evenly provide stable processing in every areas, but some hardwares when doing certain kinds of processing, the other areas decline in processing abilities. The Lindberg was designed to handle heavy demands in all areas while providing a stable perfomance overall.

He adds that the tools that the Sega Sammy team provided for Lindberg heavily affected the way they develops for Lindberg. He gave the example of how the PS2 graphics have advanced since it's debut, and attributes it to the more mature toolset that the developers now have to work with.

Part 2, Shenmue and Shenmue Online

*Shenmue*

About the home version of Shenmue, the whole story Yu planned is 16 chapters, but Shenmue only progressed through 6 chapters. Yu says that he personally really wants to finish the whole Shenmue saga. He further adds that a sequel is highly desired by many players around the world, and that he is aware of the 20,000 US players that expressed their demand for a sequel. Currently, however, there are no concrete plans for a sequel, but when the opportunity comes, he promises that he will head the project himself, so all the Shenmue fans can rest well.

*Shenmue Online*

Shenmue online will take place where Shenmue 2 took place, specifically, Hong Kong and China. Yu says that without the characters of Shenmue, then it won't be Shenmue, so he promises all the main characters will appear in Shenmue Online as NPC's. They will take part in the story and act as central figures of the game to progress the players of the game.

Players will join 1 of 3 clans lead by Sha Hua, XiuYing, and WuYing, and go through the story by completing tasks given by the leaders. Or course, during the course of the story, each clan will interact with one another in both friendly and hostile situations. LanDi and Ryo will definitely make appearances in those situations as well.

Yu states that even though the Korean company JCE had annouced their withdrawl from development, since Shenmue Online is a Sega venture, they will fulfill their duty of completing it. Yu says despite the internet rumors, development is well on its way and following their original goals and target. He adds that Sega Sammy will make an official announcement about it's progress in the future.

When asked about the various activities possible in Shenmue2 and whether they will make it into Shenmue Online, Yu says that the arcade games will definitely make it in, and 2/3rds of the things like working, collecting capsule toys, etc, from Shenmue2 will make it into Shenmue Online, along with much more contents exclusive to Shenmue Online. Yu adds that the game will take place not only in Hong Kong and China, but Macao as well, Yu smiled when he was asked what will the players be able to do in Macao. (Macao is Hong Kong's gambling and red light district.)

Yu says that QTE's will make it into Shenmue Online; but conceptually, it is impossible to implement the exact same kind of QTE into an online game. So in Shenmue Online, QTE's will be something geared towards an online MMO game, but since the implementation haven't been finalized yet, he can't go into specifics.

Yu states that Shenmue's world is very suitable for online play. Shenmue Online's world will be much bigger than the home versions thus far, including over 1200 buildings/locations, and it will be possible for each player to have his or her own house. Yu adds that he has always been very fond of Chinese culture, so he is very happy that Shenmue is liked by the Chinese gamers. This is why he is making this game for the Chinese market. But from a game perspective, Shenmue Online will include many things that all gamers will be able to enjoy.

The interview then talks about Yu's desire to bring Psy Phi to the Taiwan Sega locations. How he was injured by a drunken Bajichuan martial artist in China when he was doing research for VF4, and that he spent 6,000,000 yen to rent out Fuji Speedway for making Ferrari 355, etc.

Lastly the pictures provided by Sega Sammy are in real time, so the final game will be up to the quality of those pictures. Yu adds that he will try make an official announcement about the game's details as quickly as he can, to the Taiwanese gamers, and that Sega Sammy also have plans to make some announcements regarding Shenmue Online. So gamers interested in Shenmue should be on the lookout for more info soon.
source

I think Shenmue 3 might take a while before it will see the light of day -_-
 

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NextGenerationGaymulation
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Why are they making a MMORPG out of a game that has stood out because of it's single player elements?
 

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That game's been cancelled recently.. thank god.
 

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So there's not going to be a Shenmue 3?
Did Shenmue 2 even sell very well for the XBOX? I see it @ Electronic Boutique @ $7.99 used....
 

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Shenmue 1 and 2 were both pretty much flops...I was actually surprised Shenmue 2 even came out...considering 1 didn't sell all that well...I would doubt the publisher would want to go down that road again...
 
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