Everyone has those games that they look back on with fond memories, even if the game itself isn’t as polished as remembered. For many, one such series of games is the original Shenmue I and Shenmue II. At the time, these games were revolutionary and offered a level of immersion unseen before then. The first Shenmue came out almost a full two years before Grand Theft Auto III after all. The series is so beloved that a Kickstarter for the long awaited Shenmue III shattered records for crowd funded games. The love doesn’t stop there though, as two Unreal Engine 4 Shenmue mods are in the works by a group of dedicated fans.
The news comes from a Shenmue fansite called Shenmue Dojo and goes into detail about what these mods will entail. There will actually be two versions of this mod, the “Dragon” version and the “Phoenix” version. Both versions will use a legally obtained version of the original two games to extract assets and animations directly into Unreal Engine 4. This lets these remakes avoid some of the legal pitfalls that similar remake attempts ran into. These new versions will feature huge graphical upgrades with modern tech like ray tracing and rendering features like PBR materials.
Some small adjustments had to be made to make these changes stick, but the team emphasizes that none of the core gameplay elements of Shenmue will be altered. The Dragon version of the mod will be as close to a one-to-one version of the original two games as possible, but with the huge Unreal Engine 4 graphics updates. The Phoenix version, however, will offer some changes to different elements of the game to modernize them and improve the general user experience. For example, the stamina system will be adjusted to be more aligned with the one used in Shenmue III. Thankfully, not exactly like it though.
The graphical Phoenix rises
Both versions of the mod are currently in development and there is no tentative release date for it yet. The team simply said it will be available “when it’s done”. Considering how great some of these changes look from the screenshots shown, they are more than welcome to take their time. check out the modding team’s Discord if you want to keep up to date with all the info on these Unreal Engine 4 Shenmue mods.