Earlier today, Jeff went through all the hinting and rumors that suggest that maybe, just maybe, 2014 could be the year that Shenmue returns and we finally get Shenmue 3. Which would be an interesting prospect, and one that would thrill many gamers who have long since waited for any news about this classic series. The thing is, do we even want it anymore?
I mean, HD remakes of Shenmue and Shenmue 2 would undoubtedly be appealing. I’d buy and play them. But, 13 years after Shenmue 2 and 15 years after the original Shenmue, I think it’s okay if the series isn’t revived. We don’t really need Shenmue 3.
To start, there’s this. In case you don’t want to watch, for fear of spoilers, it’s Yu Suzuki telling us how Shenmue 3 would end.
Okay, I kid. But think of how long it got to us to get to the point of Shenmue and Shenmue 2. A resolution to the cliffhanger would be nice, but it could be accomplished in a book. Do we really need to work a part-time job, race more ducks, and guide more human-shaped tanks to get to that point? Well, assuming Shenmue 3 would have the original’s tank controls, but I’d like to think we’ve moved beyond that as a gaming society.
Then, there’s the fact that it has been 13-15 years. That’s a lot of buildup time, and if a Shenmue 3 project were announced, there would be a lot of hype. Hype can kill games. Especially open world ones like this, where there will be all kinds of expectations. If it is resurrected, perhaps for the PS4 or Xbox One, people are going to want it all. Everything they’ve been dreaming of for the last decade would have to be in that game to make most fanboys happy, and I just don’t think any developer is capable of delivering under that kind of pressure.
Finally, there’s Yakuza. Yakuza has always been the spiritual successor to the Shenmue series. It’s gained quite a bit of popularity, and has a vocal fanbase, but it isn’t one of the biggest open world series. It isn’t even close. The fact that Sega already has something so similar, and hasn’t even taken a chance on releasing the fifth game in that series outside of Japan yet, gives pause as to whether Shenmue 3 would even be popular and profitable enough to make the resurrection worth the effort.
It would be great to see a Shenmue game at E3 2014, be it an HD port of one of the original two games or a Shenmue 3 announcement. I just don’t think the third game needs to be played. Frankly, I’d be happy to go play Yakuza 4, or hear a Yakuza 5 announcement, instead.