Shenmue 3 may sacrifice shiny graphics for the sake of story

4 min read


I loved Shenmue on SEGA’s ill-fated Dreamcast. The series was a forerunner of open world games like Yakuza and Grand Theft Auto, and introduced fresh new gameplay mechanics like Quick Time Events before they became overused and trite.

The series unfortunately ended before its story did – which is why so many gamers were taken aback, shocked and awed by the news that Shenmue 3 was being made, even if it is being partially crowdfunded.

And I should be excited. I really should. I’ve been waiting for closure on the story for nearly fifteen years. Yes PC gamers, even longer than you’ve been waiting for Half-Life 3. The game is finally coming, and I have this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that it’s going to end up as a miserable pile of malformed, broken promises that could never live up to their hype.

It’s such a precarious position. Modernise it too much, and for old fans, it’ll no longer feel like Shenmue. Modernise it too little, and new players will think it’s a relic from the past.

Until recent games like Grand Theft Auto V and Star Citizen, Shenmue held the dubious record of being one of the most expensive games ever made. Including marketing, the first two games are frequently reported to have cost $70 million.

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It raised $6 million through crowdfunded, and has a little more external funding from Sony and other partners – but Shenmue creator and game director Yu Suzuki says he could do with a little more. Especially if Shenmue III is going to look good.

“I could do with a bit more money!” Suzuki told Eurogamer in an interview. “The game itself doesn’t have to be gorgeous visually – a lot of the money these days goes into the graphics. If we perhaps compromise on the graphics and put more into the story, we can make a good game. The most important thing, to me, is that the game’s interesting, and that it’s something people want to play.”

The quote’s being taken out of context and thrown all over the internet as a misleading catchy title, but that’s par for the course.

“Kickstarter’s not the only source of money,” says Suzuki. “There’s also funding from Sony and Shibuya Productions. Before we started Kickstarter, we had goals set around the budget – so if we only got $6 million, we’d create Shenmue 3 based upon what we could do with that $6 million. We’re still trying to gather funds. Obviously, the more money we have the more we can do. Even if we don’t get as much budget as the previous games, we’ll still make this game.”

I really do want Shenmue 3 to be good, and I’m ok with Suzuki skimping on graphics to give us a better game if that’s what happens.

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Last Updated: October 5, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Grand Admiral Chief

    Story >>> shiny gfx

    • oVg

      Or, you can have Intelligent story with better graphics than The Order 1886.

      Until Dawn


      Its on my GOTY list. The game blew my brain out. After 30 years of gaming I have never experienced anything like it. Probably because I grew up with The Shining, IT and B grade teen horror flicks.

      Its so under the radar. I have no idea why SONY did not market it properly.

      • Grand Admiral Chief

        IT? Oh you mean the movie with the NopeClown

        • oVg

          Ya, this game borrows more from Stephen King than Alan Wake did and its not ashamed of itself. I thought it would be a half arsed attempt as its still experimental and very new to the market but the production values are high and it works. Nothing made me cringe.

      • Hammersteyn

        Stahp mentioning Until Dawn. (Holding thumbs for a Rage special)

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    You’re going to end up with ShenMukem Forever.

    • HairyEwok

      BOOOM! Headshot all of us with the truth XD

    • VampyreSquirrel

      They gonna love it as much as RNG loved you and Yahtzee yesterday.

      • I was in ODD till freaking midnight !!!!!

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          lol – how many did you play after I left? Because we went through 4, or 5?

          • I did 15…

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Wow. And I thought I was persistent with my T3 captures, those only take 2/3 minutes haha. Get any BPs?

          • Nope, blew through 150 nav coordinates for the keys…gonna have to mooch of other people tonight xD

            I did get a Soma P part that I was missing at least.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Btw, I heard Orlando Pirates won last night bwhahahahahaha

          • O boy, that poor random we gave hope for xD

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        I think he’s the problem. We both got something we wanted in only two missions. 😀

        • VampyreSquirrel

          Yeah, I’ve decided he hates on RNG too much… I got 2 rare drops yesterday in about 5 runs.

          • Tonight I will change my mind set, maybe just MAYBE! we will have some luck. I do in fact have more T1 Capture keys than any Warframe player should have.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            I got a Kubrow egg just randomly running a silly mission to see how Mesa had changed. Playing ODD with him & ended up with so many T1 & 2 keys. 😉

          • VampyreSquirrel

            Intensify and Split Caliber dropped yesterday… so yeah, I think it’s him 😛

    • oVg

      Too soon

    • Hammersteyn

      Apply water please

  • oVg

    The game lives off of nostalgia. Just make it Dreamcast graphics and they will please the fans even more. WIN WIN

  • Hammersteyn

    I’m fine with that, if it’s a decent story

  • For a sp title.

    #1 Story
    #2 Gameplay
    #3 Voice Acting
    #4 Graphics

    • WitWolfy

      Looks like Koj Productions had it backwards with MGS V…

      Voice Acting

  • Pieter Kruger

    This is the biggest bullshit Sony has ever pulled off by paying for exclusivity but not helping directly with or funding development they are creating a very crappy president indeed…..

    • WitWolfy

      Agreed… This is shitty, I dont see why they even brought the dude on stage if they dont intend non helping the dude to begin with. He might as well go multiplat at this rate.

  • WitWolfy

    Never saw the hype behind this game. What made it so … “nostalgic”?

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