It’s E3 2015, the same old announcements every year are showcased, Call of Duty, FIFA, PES, Tomb Raider, Assassins Creed etc, etc. Every now and again a new IP is showcased to either Euryopia, or a mixed meh reaction – Basically, this game looks kinda shit or a returning franchise that has been in a slumber for several years.
That very same event caused shockwaves amongst the gaming world. When Yu Suzuki appeared on stage, and announced (much to the delight of the baying crowd), that Shenmue 3 was to be funded via Kickstarter. It’s understandable why, I mean Shenmue 1 + 2 had a supposedly combined development cost of around $70million (not officially confirmed). So Suzuki needed to show that a title, that had been dormant for 14 years, still had a strong support base.
The target was a modest $2million needed, smashing that target in less than a month with $6million, the fundraiser was an overwhelming success, and one which has given Ryo Hazuki and the Shenmue franchise, a very welcome return to the limelight.
It follows the story of Ryo Hazuki pursuing a Chinese badass who goes by the name of Lan Di, who murdered his father for an artefact known as the dragon mirror. Spanning across Japan in the first game, Ryo looks for leads about the where about’s of Lan Di and his associates. After a heartbreaking love story, some crazy forklift driving, and a huge battle royale, that puts the WWE royal rumble to shame. Ryo gets his intel which leads to him to Hong Kong and commences the second title in the series.For anyone that hasn’t played Shenmue or have any idea what the game is about (pfft, shame on you all) It was a title that launched on the Sega Dreamcast back in 1999, (I feel…old… all of a sudden) and was ported to the original Xbox (sold poorly).
It’s a true open world experience that was a truly revolutionary adventure. Shenmue was the first game to feature a real-time weather system and QTE’s. It boasted a fully interactive NPC world, where NPC’s went about life with a purpose. Such as jobs like driving a forklift, and even forklift racing!
Throw in amusement arcades, that featured classic mega-drive titles (like Hang on), mini-games, and a virtual fighter like mechanic in combat and you can see why it was a game ahead of its time.
Shenmue III picks up from a mystical place in the mountains known as Bailu Village, Guilin. Where Ryo and Shenhua (Ryo meets In Shenmue II) continue to follow their destiny, in tracking down Lan Di and discovering what events will unfold, regarding the chi-you-men and the magical mirrors.
I for one am HYPED, but this article, and likely no article will ever do Shenmue justice. It’s a unique, outstanding experience that any adventure/RPG fan should absolutely try. It’s got the charm, the narrative laugh out loud cheese, and a world full of wonder and exploration.
So, gaming geeks, get searching for Lan Di and those sailors, Ryo needs you!! Let me know what your thoughts are on Shenmue 3 in the comment section below.