Initially revealed at E3 2015 during a surprise segment in the Sony presentation, Shenmue III was announced to the world by creator Yu Suzuki. That was now a month ago and the project immediately exploded.
The Kickstarter had an initial goal of $2m, which was almost immediately broken, as the gaming community clamoured for a game that was almost 15 years in the making. Since then, it has gone on to beat Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night’s recent record of over $5.5m, before the campaign ended last Friday, breaking $6m, as gamers around the world get their chance to finally buy the third installment of the series.
However, for all the positives that Shenmue gave the gaming community, it had its negatives. These negatives were mainly to do with the cost of the game, and combining that with the amount of copies sold. At the time of release, Shenmue was the most expensive video game ever produced, with the rumoured cost varying from anywhere between $45m and $70m, and as the game only sold just over a million copies, it was hardly a groundbreaking financial success for Sega. After a similarly poor performance with the second game in the series, Sega simply cancelled all future Shenmue projects. It took until 2015 for Suzuki to purchase the rights to the game he created from Sega, and he could finally give his brainchild to the world once more.
The Kickstarter has been a huge success for the creators of Shenmue III, and has offered the backers a wide variety of things in order to obtain more funding; for example, five people have backed the project with $10,000 each, in order to have their face on characters that Ryo Hazuki will do battle with. There have been others who have backed the project whose names will feature in the credits of the game, whereas another has managed to get the jacket that the voice of Ryo wore to all the press conferences while promoting the initial game. It has been all about the immersion that the fans feel with this Kickstarter project.
However, there has been a lot of commotion with this Kickstarter project. Suzuki and his cohorts obviously had his doubts that the game would be as well received as it was, and saw the initial mark of $2m break in eight hours. However, after the initial barrier was broken, Suzuki revealed that Sony would indeed be funding the project, although nobody is 100% sure how much they are giving the team. After that, everybody was told that the title then needed $10m from the funding project to be able to realise a dream of a truly open world, which would make it the fourth highest-funded campaign in Kickstarter history – a little bit on the ambitious side from Suzuki, but he knows the kind of expectations he is dealing with.
Shenmue III has the whole world watching, and with many gamers left wondering how the next part of the trilogy will turn out, Suzuki will have to pull out all the stops. Don’t expect any reviews any time soon though, as Shenmue III is slated for a Q4 2017 release.