Suzuki-san was asked about if he’d consider making a prequel for Shenmue similar to Yakuza 0, which was released in 2017 and acted as a great starting point for newcomers and was responsible for giving the franchise proper attention in western regions.
In response, the former SEGA developer revealed that he’d been keen to recreate some of Shenmue’s iconic locations with modern technology, and confirmed that he has been thinking about such a project.
Yes, I have. I cannot go into detail at this point, but it is something I have been thinking about. I think recreating the streets of Dobuita with modern visuals on a new engine alone would make it worth doing. It also connects to the topic of not simply expanding in size. Making an even more detailed Dobuita than the original Shenmue is an interesting idea, especially if it’s not a remake but a prequel with a new story.
Elsewhere, Suzuki-san touched base on a possible Shenmue 4, saying that he’d like it be accessible to newcomers and seemed keen to incorporate playable flashbacks.
I want Shenmue 4 to be enjoyable for newcomers. To make that possible, the most important thing is to make it enjoyable without knowing previous events in the story. I don’t think that a new player wants to know 100% of the story. 20 or 30% could be enough. In Shenmue 3, we implemented a digest movie that teaches the player the main events of the previous games, but for Shenmue 4 I want to integrate that part into the main game.
It would be great if the player could naturally learn about previous events just by playing the game. For example, rather than watching a separate movie, having playable flashbacks could be a way to do it.
Shenmue was released for the Sega Dreamcast in 1999 in Japan and arrived in the US and UK the following year. The sequel turned up in 2001 in Japan and UK, but the US instead receive an Xbox port the following year due to the demise of the Dreamcast. Both games were remastered for modern platforms in 2018 as Shenmue I and II HD Remastered.
The crowd-funded Shenmue III launched for the PS4 and PC in November 2019, and you can read our verdict here.
[Source – IGN Japan]