Shenmue 3 is still going through the Kickstarter grind, amassing more than $3 million so far with just a little under a month to go for the final thing. Well, during a Reddit AMA creator of the Shenmue series, Yu Suzuki, took to answering questions and confirmed that he would love to do a Shenmue 4.
According to a Gamespot article, Suzuki wants to do the full 11 chapter series of the Shenmue saga. Combining the mangas and the first two games, five of the chapters have already been completed. If Shenmue 3 manages to hit its $5 million stretch goal Suzuki will be able to bring more of the game to life, including making many of his desired features a “reality” for the project. At the $10 million mark Shenmue 3 becomes an open-world experience with many of the side-activities and part-time jobs that helped define the first two games, including many of the part-time jobs you would find in real-life China. And yes, those annoying, slow-paced and tedious forklifting mini-games will return.
If Shenmue 3 can tackle a few more chapters then presumably Shenmue 4 might be the finale or at least come close to it.
But what if gamers don't like Shenmue 3? What happens to the series? And will it go missing again for another decade? Well, in the Reddit AMA, Yu Suzuki mentions...
If the fans are not happy with 3 there will not be a 4. So I please hope we can together make this game the best it can be.
Shenmue 3 came barreling onto the scene during Sony's E3 press conference. It was a complete surprise for most people even after years, and years, and years of fruitless speculation about Shenmue 3 becoming a reality.
Quite naturally, after the game was announced on Sony's stage as a Kickstarter title with a $2 million base goal – a goal that only sees the game being made but hardly any of the iconic features that many fans loved being implemented – the Kickstarter managed to hit its goal within a matter of hours.
One thing to keep in mind is that all of this is uncharted territory because Shenmue is a series known for flopping and flopping unbelievably hard on the market. It's not a financially viable series even though it does have a strong and dedicated niche following. In fact, Shenmue is the very definition of a niche game with its unorthodox job-centric mini-games, over-the-top quick-time events and deep fighting mechanics. It's easy to say that there really are no other games on the market like Shenmue, although I'll leave it to readers to decide whether or not that's a good or bad thing.
As for Shenmue 4... Suzuki will only be able to bring this game into existence if the third game sells extremely well. Of course, a Shenmue game selling well is in itself going to be a miracle because these games don't sell. I'm just fascinated to see how this all turns out because we're going to see if fandom can really make an unprofitable series a market force to be reckoned with on a small budget and a lot of community support.