It’s been a long road, Shenmue fans. Shenmue III was revealed in 2015 to delight of many, and to the enthusiastic jubilation of others. It’s been three years since the game broke Kickstarter records. And after a series of unfortunate delays, we can confirm that Shenmue III will be released April 27, 2019 on PC and PS4. Oh, what a glorious day!
The game reached its Kickstarter target of $2 million in less than eight hours. Soon after, it became the most successful video game Kickstarter campaign in history, earning three times its initial goal at $6.3 million. Shenmue III is more than just a game to some; it is a passion project shared by millions, alongside its creator Yu Suzuki. “From all of us here, we want to say how happy we are to be able to make this announcement,” the game’s blog post said. “Thank you again for your continued support!”
Home is where the heart is
The original Shenmue hit the Dreamcast back in 1999. It was revolutionary for its time. Never before had an open-world game so thoroughly capture the honest, day-to-day dealings with city and home life. Sure, the quest to find the murderer of Ryo Hazuki’s father always loomed like a shadow overhead. However, that didn’t stop the game from encouraging you to interact with characters, and engage in daily distractions such as the arcade or feeding a stranded kitten.
It was a game that allowed you to experience life in all its joys and quandaries, all the while keeping you eyeing the clock. Shops opened and closed at their preferred times; a curfew meant having to head home, lest you infer the worrisome nagging of dear Ine-san, the Hazuki family housekeeper. Some may find its slow-paced nature tedious, but to others, Shenmue was a game you lived.
When Shenmue II ended on a cliffhanger with no promise of a ending chapter, fans were heartbroken. However, the light of hope never faded. Now, the wait is almost over.
Watching the trailer, the game itself looks gorgeous. And as it should be, seeing how the game is using Unreal Engine 4. It’s not necessarily full of everyone doing Kung-Fu fighting, but that’s not all Shenmue ever was. The pacing and atmosphere are all very much Shenmue-y, combining city life with a flair of ancient mystery.
We’re willing to look past the awkward frame rate of the boat coming into the pier, or the characters’ faces flushed with what can be described as the opposite of emotion. Because despite some worrying issues, it’s still reminiscent of the game that took us on a journey almost 20 years ago — for good or ill.
If you’re looking to experience the world of Shenmue, or if you want a refresher course, Shenmue I & II remastered is now available for consoles and PC. For more on Shenmue III, check out its official page.
Cam has been shooting for high scores since his days playing on the Atari 2600. Writing about video games since 2005, Cam has also worked with GameSpot, GamesRadar, and PlayBoy.