Simply put, Shenmue 3 is a game that fans of the franchise thought they’d never see. Due to the insane budget demands of the previous games in the series, with little financial return, Sega outright abandoned Shenmue, and all hope to ever see a conclusion to the story diminished.
Then, at E3 2015, hell froze over. Shenmue 3 received an official announcement during Sony’s press conference, unveiled as a Kickstarter project from series creator Yu Suzuki, to be developed by his studio Ys Net. Finally, fans had an opportunity to make their dream come become a reality, but they had to put their money where their mouths were first. Fans stepped up to the plate, and the Kickstarter has concluded at $5,553,470 in funds raised.
This staggering amount of money has allowed Shenmue 3 to not only meet and far exceed its own funding goals, but it has also made Shenmue 3 the most crowdfunded video game of all time. This record was just recently obtained by Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a Castlevania spiritual successor from Koji Igarashi, but now the title belongs to Shenmue 3.
Shenmue 3 blazed past its Kickstarter goals right out of the gate, meeting and surpassing its minimum funding goal in less than 12 hours after its initial announcement. Funding continued at a steady pace throughout the rest of the month, with Shenmue 3 completing many of its stretch goals, allowing the developers to use the extra cash to incorporate more elements into the game and simply be more ambitious with the project.
These stretch goals included additional areas being added to the game, as well as more mini-games, the latter of which are a key element to the Shenmue franchise. Another stretch goal that was met allowed the original voice actor of Ryo to return to lend his vocal talents to Shenmue yet again.
With the successful funding of Shenmue 3, a game that many thought never would be made is finally being given a chance to see the light of day. Many fans are hoping that Shenmue 3 brings a proper ending to the franchise, but as it turns out, Yu Suzuki is already considering Shenmue 4. Considering the immense success that Shenmue 3 has seen on Kickstarter, it’s likely that Yu Suzuki and Ys Net would pursue the option of using Kickstarter to fund the possible Shenmue 4, but the third one will have to deliver first.
Fans still have a while to wait until they will have a chance to see if Shenmue 3 actually lives up to the hype. After all, the game was just announced at E3 one month ago, and game development is often a long and difficult process. However, Ys Net has released a teaser trailer to help tide fans over until they finally have the opportunity to play it themselves.
Shenmue 3 is scheduled to release by the end of 2017 on PC and PS4.