In an update for Kickstarter backers, Yu Suzuki announced that Shenmue 3 won’t be able to meet the planned release window of late 2017. Instead, the game is being pushed into late 2018, a full year past the devs’ former estimate. He explained their decision in a video.
After being successfully funded on Kickstarter almost two years ago, Shenmue 3 slowly went into production. The game more than trippled their initial goal of two million dollars, which obviously broadened the scope of the project somewhat. Suzuki also mentions new technologies, which lead to new possibilities, which lead to even bigger ambitions. Hopefully they don’t succumb to feature creep. For now, the game is slated for release during the second half of 2018, but there will be more info in the backer report later this month.
If you’re not familiar with the series, the amount of money and excitement the sequel generated might confuse you. The original Shenmue was published back in 1999 on the Sega Dreamcast. It was an open world action game set in Yokosuka, in which you took on the role of Ryo Hazuki, a teenager looking to avenge his father’s death. It offered unparalleled freedom at the time, and was planned to be the first of four games in the series.
It also looked and sounded amazing. It had the biggest budget a video game ever had at the time, and it showed. Sadly, it didn’t really fulfill publisher expectations – partly because of the (at the time) ludicrously large budget, partly because of the console’s low sales. A sequel was made, but it sold extremely poorly, putting the final nail in the coffin. However, the games resonated with a lot of people, so when the opportunity arose to put their money where their mouths were, 70 thousand people decided to do so.