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One of the most shocking announcements from Sony's E3 press conference was Shenmue 3, the long-awaited continuation of the action RPG series. Fans were so excited by the news that they've already donated the $2 million needed for the Kickstarter campaign.
The rush of funders to the Kickstarter page last night temporarily broke the site. However, since then they've been able to nearly $2.5 million. That's great news because Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki said S3 wouldn't happen if the project didn't hit $2 million.
"If we do not reach our funding goal, Shenmue 3 will not go forward. I know that the goal of making Shenmue 3 with the fans, and seeing Shenmue in the hands of gamers all around the world is a lofty one. We are balancing our ambitions for a grand sequel with the pragmatic realities of developing a game of this scale. It will not be easy, but I have dreamed of making this sequel for 14 years – it is time to bring Shenmue back! And to make it come true, it will need the love and support from each and every one of you!"
Thus far the development team has announced stretch goals that lead up to $4 million. They include support for extra languages and a kill system. At this rate, however, they may need to announce goals for even higher levels of funding. There are still 31 days left in the campaign, after all.
Shenmue 3 is a "true sequel" to the series built with Unreal Engine 4. It continues the adventure of Ryo Hazuki, a young man seeking justice for his murdered father.
"Ryo Hazuki has made his way to China in search of his father’s killer," the Kickstarter page says. "There he meets a new travelling companion, Shenhua, and learns of a legend from her village that has foretold their path together. The story continues as Ryo and Shenhua start off on a new journey that will take them farther into enemy territory, deeper into mystery, and ever closer to their destiny. Will the mystery of the mirrors be revealed? How is Ryo’s father connected to all of this? Will Ryo track down the Chi You Men cartel and face Lan Di in a final showdown?"
While the project is raising plenty of money, I wonder how much more they'll need to make it happen. The first Shenmue cost $47 million ($67 million today) to develop. Either the developers have figured out a way to make Shenmue 3 far cheaper or they plan on relying on a publisher to pitch in the rest. I would imagine Sony's contributing to the project if the game's coming to PS4 along with PC. Sega, the publisher of the first two games, might not be involved due to their retreat from console development.