If there is one game Sega fans have been harping for over the years, it’s a new entry in the open-world Shenmue franchise. However, Sega is hardly in the financial position to fund such an ambitious project, and as such, a project of this scale just hasn’t been in the cards. However, if a series of tweets are to be believed, Yu Suzuki, the creator of the franchise, may be considering using something along the lines of Kickstarter to fund it.
The tweets come from a journalist by the name of Sebastien-Abdelhamid, who was conducting an interview with Suzuki-san at the Monaco Anime Game Show. One of the responses from the interview reads:
The translation, thanks to NeoGAF user, shuri: “Yu Suzuki declares to be thinking about a kickstarter-like model to fund Shenmue 3!”
The tweets didn’t stop there. A post later on in Sebastien-Abdelhamid’s feed reads:
Again, thanks go to NeoGAF user, shuri, for the translation: “Yu Suzuki would like to continue the Shenmue adventure in Anime or Manga form.”
This is pretty indicative that Suzuki-san would like to continue the Shenmue franchise in some way, shape, or form, with either an anime or manga being possibilities, not just a new game title. One also needs to consider the fact that Sega owns the license to the Shenmue franchise, and as such, would have to agree to the crowdfunding endeavor On top of that, the amount of funding a project the scale of something like Shenmue 3 would need and whether it would be attainable in a crowdfunding endeavor would need to be taken into consideration.
Team Yu, a group campaigning for Shenmue 3, had taken to Facebook with similar comments last month about the possibility of using something like Kickstarter to get it into development.
“The recent talk about Kickstarter has been interesting, with Psychonauts developer Double Fine Productions managing to raise over $1,000,000 in under 24 hours to make a new adventure game. Naturally this has a lot of Shenmue fans very excited at the prospect of Sega using a similar approach to overcome their financial wariness toward making Shenmue 3 [III],” the group posted back on February 11th. They continued, stating, “However, Sega and Double Fine are in very different positions. Chances are, most gamers were unfamiliar with the name Double Fine before their fundraising story went viral. Asking fans to pledge money for a game the company otherwise couldn’t afford to make is how this underdog developer has made its name. Sega, on the other hand, has a reputation as one of the most established and prolific brands in the industry. Resorting to Kickstarter is likely to seem beneath them, even if it’s what the consumer wants. Their corporate ego won’t allow it.” The team would then go on to state, “Team Yu maintains that the only way we’ll ever see Shenmue 3 [III] become a reality is if Yu Suzuki can obtain the license from Sega. He may then see the benefit in crowdsourcing the capital required to make the game, and we can all put our money where our collective mouth is. But until he has the rights to Shenmue, there’ll be no project to fund.”
Fast forward to today, where Team Yu caught wind of the interview and made their own comments, again, via Facebook: “A thrilling prospect for sure, but before we get carried away let’s acknowledge a few things. First of all, while it still inspires hope, it says he’s only thinking about it. But most importantly, we don’t yet know the context of these comments. We don’t even have a direct quote. Did Yu volunteer this statement, or was he coaxed into politely going along with an idea presented to him on the spot? We simply don’t know at this stage, so we hope to see a video or at least a full transcription of the interview before deciding how seriously to take this tweet.”
Team Yu’s words have merit. Yu Suzuki would have to obtain the license in order to launch a Kickstarter himself for the project, unless Sega were to agree with it, making this possibility all the more unlikely. Any sort of video or recording of the interview has yet to surface, as well, so there is nothing to quote Suzuki from directly. As Team Yu has also stated, I suggest taking this with a grain of salt, folks. It at least gives some sense of hope, but the possibility of Shenmue 3 is still a ways off, being very much dependent on whether or not Sega is willing to hand over the reins to Yu Suzuki for a Kickstarter. There’s also the possibility that it would not be a new game, as well, with both manga and anime continuations being hinted in the second tweet. Regardless, it appears the Shenmue 3 rumor mill continues to roll onward.
Have you been anticipating Shenmue 3? Would you help fund the title if a Kickstarter-esque campaign was launched? Would an anime or manga suffice to continue the story? Let us know in the comments below and stay tuned here on oprainfall as this story develops.