Shenmue has one of the largest cult followings in video game history. Despite disappointing sells with both games, the games have remained incredibly popular throughout the gaming world. A decade has passed since Shenmue II was released for the Sega Dreamcast (in Japan and Europe), and the 10th anniversary approaches of the XBOX release of Shenmue II in North America. Shenmue III is one of the most common requests from Sega fans- a quick look at some comments on Sega’s Facebook page reveals many people commenting and begging for a continuation of the Shenmue franchise- with no word from Sega and only small glimmers of hope from Shenmue Creator- Yu Suzuki who left Sega and now claims he could get the rights to the franchise to make Shenmue III.
With the announcement of Jet Set Radio HD releasing this summer a Sega employee teased the possibility of Shenmue HD– saying it was the most requested but that he couldn’t confirm or deny if they were in fact working on it. Shortly after that the internet exploded with rumors of a key Sega insider who claims that Shenmue HD as well as Shenmue II HD have both already been completed for about a year and Sega has been merely biding their time to release the games onto modern platforms. However if you look at comments for the aforementioned articles fans are not happy- and this I don’t understand.
A quick look has some fans angry with Sega essentially saying “We don’t care about I and II just make III!!” and “I already have I and II why should I buy them again?” or “I can just play them on my Dreamcast.” It seems to me people simply don’t understand what Sega’s plan is. Look at it from Sega’s point of view- they spent a lot of money on Shenmue already- and both were financial (though not critical) failures. To make a completely new game with no correct gauge of interest- could possibly create another major financial loss for the still unstable Sega.
It doesn’t matter how many thousands of people say they will buy Shenmue III. At the end of the day actions do in fact speak louder than words- for Sega- putting in only a small amount of money to port and upgrade the first two Shenmue games is a much small financial risk and will also be a great way to gauge fan interest. So essentially the more fans who purchase HD releases of Shenmue I and II who be helping Sega put funds together for Shenmue III making the dream more alive than ever before. If these re-releases sell poorly, Sega would see that there is no interest in Shenmue III and would essentially kill it forever.
Personally, I would purchase Shenmue HD in a heartbeat from the Playstation Network. The two games combined could be a massive download (potentially upwards of over 10GB) and I would love a physical release. If Europe would get a physical release of Shenmue HD I would import that as well. Perhaps with the explosion of the internet since Shenmue’s downfall and the massive cult status the games have amassed- these possible HD releases will propel Shenmue to the financial success it ultimately and should be. I look forward to the day of continuing Ryo Hazuki’s journey for revenge it is one of the greatest game stories to have existed- if you haven’t played it- you’re missing out.