Crowdfunding has provided the video game development community with a whole new way to reach financial backing. Websites such as Kickstarter have allowed creators to reach out to gamers directly, asking for funding in return for a number of rewards. This has led to several successfully-backed titles hitting the market, including Obsidian’s CRPG Pillars of Eternity, with highly anticipated games such as Bloodstained: Symphony of the Night and Yooka-Laylee waiting patiently in the wings.
There is, however, one recent crowdfunding campaign that has managed to wow the gaming community. During Sony’s E3 2015 press conference, it was revealed that the cult smash Shenmue was finally going to get a third instalment, with funding coming directly from players themselves. The Kickstarter campaign for Shenmue 3 was a huge success, breaking Guinness world records and reaching its backing goal within only 9 hours.
Given the success of the campaign, it looks like Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki is casting his eye even further afield than simply bringing Shenmue 3 to life. Indeed, it seems as though there may well be more games in the Shenmue series coming up. Suzuki revealed during a Reddit AMA that he would like to develop the entirety of the Shenmue story – and there is apparently much more of the tale to tell.
Suzuki stated that the Shenmue narrative is actually made up of 11 chapters, with only a portion of those chapters told so far. “There are a total of 11 chapters that make up the whole story,” said Suzuki. The developer originally envisioned releasing the full story over the course of 4 or 5 video games. At the moment, Shenmue has only been told up to chapter 5, with the upcoming Shenmue 3 set to take a few more sections of the full narrative.
Given the success of the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter, there is clearly enough support in the gaming community for the series – so much so that Suzuki is already thinking about Shenmue 4 and beyond. “If at all possible, I would still like to realize the full story of 11 chapters,” said Suzuki. If Shenmue 3 manages to keep fans happy, it’s likely that Suzuki could get his wish – at least for one further instalment. After all, Shenmue 3 already looks likely to be a commercial success before the title even comes close to launch.
That said, the completed development of Shenmue 3 is still a long way away. The game is still in the early stages of creation, with the game’s scope seemingly dependent on further financial backing from fans. Given that the game has already received additional stretch goals such as a skill tree and rapport system, it seems likely that the title will have plenty of content to keep fans of the well-remembered Dreamcast titles happy. Let’s hope that Shenmue 3 lives up to expectations when it does finally release – giving Suzuki the chance to finish the series he has been so devoted to.