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Re: What's happened in your life in the past 14 years?

I think it was around 2004/2005 when I played Shenmue for the first time. I'm one of those who played Shenmue2 first because I owned an Xbox back then. I remember I was amazed by the Shenmue2 demo that I found on a magazine.. :D So then I bought Shenmue2 and a Dreamcast on ebay to play the first one. I was at high school at the time. Now I've got a degree in Japanese language and culture and I'm doing a master's degree, and I hope to find a good job soon, either here in Italy or in Japan. :) I'm 25 now and I'm still a gamer as I was in my childhood.. :lol: During this time I''ve also been playin a lot of instruments and gigs in small venues and music remains one of my biggest passions. The 3 months I've spent in Japan (mainly Kyoto) last year were awesome as well. I'll be back in Japan next month but just for a couple of weeks, as a tourist this time.. 8)

Auguri, signore.

As for me, first played 'mue in January, 2006, as I got my DC in October, '05.

I was so cheesed that the game ended with Chai as I didn't know the backstory behind Shenmue (which is VERY unlike me; I research things to death before getting into them). Then got 'mue II in 2008 (a story I like to tell a lot) and have never looked back!

In the past 14 years (I was 12 when it 'mue II came out), a ton has happened. High School was great and despite graduating a semester before everyone (Summer school FTW!), I stayed an extra full year because a lot of my grade 12 marks were shitty.

Went to University and got kicked out of one of my majors (Communications, the reason I went to Uni in the first place) and got a job at the supermarket by my house. Loved both Uni and my job and after 2 years, got back into Comm and graduated a year later, like high school, I left a year after my peers, with more credits than necessary to graduate lol. Uni was awesome, but I had a lot of hardship to go with the highs; I got cancer, a chick I was seriously pursuing chose another guy over me when I was in hospital during that time (which is fine by me now, but at the time I took it super hard), travelled to Italy which was lovely but then got treated like crap at my job when I got back, for about 6-7 months and my sister got divorced (after we dealt with the loser for almost 11 years), which was hard on the family.

Did a post-grad certificate for Social Media and just finished that, plus I quit the supermarket job after 7 years, 6 months (I DID have future prospects there, but things went sour the last 2 months I was there), as I was approached for my current job right now, at the HO of a bank.

Met my future wife in 2009, at said job and started dating her in 2012. I'm going to propose to her next year, when we go to Japan (in July). Life has been interesting and a MASSIVE learning experience, these past 14 years!
by Truck_1_0_1_
Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:52 am
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"Play as 1 of 4 characters" - April Edition '99 of GamePro

As early as 1999, GamePro stated you would play as "1 of 4 characters"... Seems the Character Perspective System is something Yu has had in mind for Shenmue for a very long time? Interesting little tit-bit non-the-less :)

by Sonoshee
Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:00 am
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Re: The importance of voice acting

Agreed. Moreso since Shenmue 3 is set in villages and small towns, so there won't be as many NPCs as Shenmue 2 for example.

Voiced NPCs is a must.
by Rikitatsu
Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:18 pm
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Re: Monaco Magic 2016 - Official Discussion Topic

I got a lot of support on my way to Monaco through reactions on this Twitter Image:

It's not easy to have a trip from the Netherlands to Monaco by plane with a young family at 3:30AM on Friday 26th.

My most valuable moment of MAGIC was during the signing session; My eldest daughter was showing the Ryo Statue to Yu Suzuki (before she had a bad feeling about drawing with a permanent marker on her statue :P )
Yu pushed his Golden iPhone 6Plus to our side of the table and asked to make picture with him and the kids.

The interpreter took some pictures; 1,5hours later we discovered this tweet from Yu himself:

Thankful for the support I got from my beloved wife :heart:
by rdk_nl
Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:27 pm
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Re: SEGA survey: Fill it in! AKA "Tell us you want Shenmue H

Merged as we already had a topic for that.

I took the survey and pushed Shenmue. Gonna be interesting how this turns out and what Sega's reaction will be...
by BlueMue
Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:02 pm
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Re: SEGA currently "investigating" making Shenmue 1/2 HD hap

Just imagine guys, Shenmue. 60fps. 1080p. Widescreen. Achievements. Uncompressed sound. JP/EN language. Unreleased Features/Directors cut content. A playable Saturn port. Special features...

And yes. Yes I am a masochist,.
by FlagshipFighter
Wed May 11, 2016 7:48 pm
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Re: Yu Suzuki Fan Mail Address

This is the building according to Google Maps. Looks suitably humble. I'm pretty sure it's the right building, the narrow rectangle structure of the building seems to mimic what we've seen in pictures of the YSnet offices, but I could be wrong.
It's just behind that one, not visible directly from Street View. Actually Dojo member abaww went to visit it last year. Here's the thread with some photos he took of the exterior:

Yu Suzuki mentioned during his MAGIC Monaco presentation that his development studio for the project is located in Gotanda (also in Tokyo, a few minutes away by train).
by Switch
Thu Jun 09, 2016 1:15 am
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PART 2: Yu Suzuki Interview (May 9 Bessatsu Shonen Mag)

Welcome to PART 2 of the translation of the Japanese magazine interview with Yu Suzuki that was published in the May 9 (2016) edition of the Bessatsu Shonen magazine.

Go here for PART 1 of the article.

In this lengthier part, Yu Suzuki reflects on last year's Kickstarter launch at E3, and talks about early computer games that inspired and influenced his design decisions for Shenmue; his thoughts on the game industry in Japan vs overseas; his love of innovation when creating games; the evolution of technology used in games; and his desire to ensure that Shenmue III is a game that will stand up proudly in today's market.

Note: this part appears first in the actual article.


The Globally-Anticipated Shenmue III is Under Way

Hello, it's been a while!
YS: Yes, it has! So, it looks like you're now reporting under the name Ikeda for the Weekly Shonen magazine.

That's right. And since development is under way on your latest game, I rushed over to ask you all about it!
YS: (laughs)

As we know, the project for the creation of Shenmue III was announced at the Playstation Experience 2015 conference at last year's E3. The venue exploded in excitement instantly. Looking back on it, how did you feel?
YS: Just before the Shenmue III announcement, several major games like Final Fantasy XV were being announced one after another from the stage, with each prompting thunderous cheers from the audience. So I felt anxious as I waited in the dressing rooms to go on, being overwhelmed at the fervor in the event hall and at the extraordinary atmosphere under which the Shenmue III announcement would be made (laughs) However, as soon as the Shenmue III music began to play... the cheering rang out an octave higher than previously – it was almost like screaming. I was so moved at that moment.

The applause and cheers that filled the air almost broke the hall apart – the passion was incredible, wasn't it. That's when it hit me just how eagerly video game fans around the world had been looking forward to Shenmue III. There was an amazing response through pledges made via Kickstarter immediately after that too, wasn't there.
YS: For the creation of Shenmue III, I used Kickstarter to raise funding towards the development budget from fans and a total of $6,333,296 was pledged by 69,320 people (by the end of the Kickstarter campaign). What's more, two Guinness world records were set: Fastest $1 Million Pledged for a Crowd-funded Video Game and Most Money Pledged for a Kickstarter Video Game. Access by the fans was so heavy that day that the Kickstarter servers went down three times.

Servers that should be able to stand up to heavy global access went down...!? It shows just how many video game fans are placing hopes on Shenmue III, doesn't it.

Shenmue: Building Up Natural Layers

Before talking about the game at the center of everyone's attention, Shenmue III, I'd like to reflect back on the Shenmue series in general. I believe the first game, published in 1999, was "Shenmue ~Chapter One: Yokosuka~". That was your first full-fledged title for a home console, wasn't it.
YS: Until then, I had been working only on developing arcade games since joining SEGA in 1983. With arcade game development you have to focus on cramming in the game's essence and inject a fun experience for the player, within a playtime limited to around 3 minutes. I spent some ten-odd years pushing myself to condense the core attractions of a game into a short period of time. Games for a home console are quite different. They don't have the restriction of brief gameplay imposed by arcade games, and time can be taken in communicating a game's features to the player. For me it started by wanting to be able to express myself as a developer with a home console game, unrestricted by time. But to go back even further to my earliest roots, I was greatly influenced as a student by a computer called the Apple II.

Oh yes, I remember it! We all dreamed of owning an Apple II as students, but it was something that was far out of our reach.
YS: I also couldn't afford one myself, but seeing those video games running on the Apple II really stirred the imagination, didn't it. Early on, there was a genre of games known as text adventures, which displayed only words on the screen. Following that, as the capabilities of PCs increased, games began to display line graphics together with the text. In "Mystery House", a typical game of that era, the lines were blurry giving them the appearance of full-color graphics. Then in the 1980s the role-playing game (RPG) series "Ultima" emerged, bringing with it 3D dungeons and even sound generation. I witnessed the evolution of these kinds of games, and at the time my reaction was simply "Wow".

Back then was a time when video games evolved at break-neck speed, didn't they, to keep pace with the improving capabilities of PCs.
YS: Ultima in particular set itself apart from the adventure games seen before then whose story would progress in the same way no matter who played; rather, the outcome differed slightly for each person playing. Depending on things like the player's actions and experience points gained within the game, the story develops differently. That's what really got my attention. So for me, RPGs evolved from adventure games – text adventure games that displayed only words. Line graphics were added to these text-only games, followed by the ability to portray color and sound; then the sound-effects became more realistic... To me, the evolution of video games was a rapid broadening of "what's possible". This led to me wondering if I could put 3D graphics on the screen, or include speech. And the result of a natural extension to my thoughts is the Shenmue series.

Within the Shenmue series, what things did you especially strive to do in a particular way?
YS: I'm often asked in interviews with the foreign media whether there is there anything I wished I could have put in Shenmue I but didn't. When I reply "The ramen noodles don't get soggy", a question mark forms above their heads (laughs). In director Juzo Itami's movie "The Funeral" there's a scene in the middle of the ceremony where people start to get pins and needles in their legs and so they rearrange the position of their big toes. It's a situation which shouldn't be laughed about, but you can't help chuckling. It's that sort of everyday little thing that I'd like to portray. That's what gives the Shenmue feeling, and I wanted to include lots of those kinds of things. For example - after 10 minutes there's less steam coming from the ramen noodles (laughs). But at the time of Shenmue I, characters in other games could only move in four directions (up, down, left, right) and in order to talk with other characters you had to stand directly in front of them. And that's the era in which I was trying to portray things cinematically, so I couldn't get understanding from anyone. (laughs)

I think it was in 1997 that you asked me whether I would be interested in becoming the director of what was Shenmue's previous incarnation, "Virtua Fighter RPG". Back then you also spoke about the same kind of things, but at the time I couldn't grasp what you were talking about at all (laughs).
YS: Even when I pointed out to people "In real life you can converse with someone even if you're standing beside them rather than directly in front, right?", no one got it. (laughs) That was common with video games of the time, and taken for granted. When a character ran into a wall or obstacle and stopped, his legs would continue to move on the spot. No-one would listen to the suggestion that when a character can't move any further forward he doesn't keep lifting his feet. I'm sure everyone justified it to themselves with the reasoning "because it's a game". So the Shenmue series took shape from my building up layers of what were, for me, natural things.

The Day Japan's Gaming Industry Lost Domination

What Is Needed for a Come-back?

Shenmue I was filled with revolutionary concepts such as those, but no games appeared from Japan game developers to follow in its footsteps. Shenmue I was released in December 1999, and I believe that is the day when Japan lost the global video games battle.
YS: It's true that Japan's game industry started to go in the completely opposite direction from there.

My feeling is that Shenmue I was somewhat of a difficult proposition from a business perspective, and so the executives at Japan game companies decided that this style of game wasn't going to work out and turned their backs.
YS: But that's because video games of the time, not just in Japan but around the world, were of a style that explored a single theme in depth. For example even Hang On, a game that I designed, was focused on riding with the bike leaning over. A single theme was taken and narrowed down to the extreme – and then it was drilled into with depth. It's the complete opposite of the "able to do anything" style I was aiming for with the Shenmue series.

If Japanese game developers had embraced Shenmue's concepts, we might have been in quite a different situation today. Games like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy didn't follow its path either.
YS: Those are products that were created after a thorough analysis of the Japanese market to identify suitable elements for customization to Japanese gamers, with all necessary elements being incorporated into their manufacture.

Conversely the market overseas was energized by the release of Shenmue I. Even the developers behind Grand Theft Auto went so far as to comment that seeing Shenmue I served as strong encouragement for them, saying that it opened up the way forward for them; they saw that evolving in that direction could work.
YS: Looking back on it now, if I had taken the Shenmue I game engine at that time and made it available as a tool for developers, it might have become the equivalent of something like today's Unreal Engine or Unity. But at the point in time of the first game, the game engine portion wasn't fully finished so we weren't able to make a strong pitch about it. I think if the game engine portion had been complete, then it would have been markedly more efficient to develop the second game onwards. Creating game engines or development tools like this is something at which people in the West are particularly adept. Back in 1999 they realized what development tools would be needed to create a game allowing the player complete freedom of action, and went ahead with the steps to get there.

I think more now than ever, with the Japan game industry up against tough times, your words and Shenmue's concepts really stand out. Last year, when the father of Metal Gear Solid, Hideo Kojima, went independent, he said "If we're only focused on the profits immediately in front of us, the times will leave the Japanese games industry behind. It becomes impossible to catch up again." This reflects what has happened after Shenmue.
YS: When Shenmue I was released, reviews were mixed. I can talk about it now as the "statue of limitations" has expired, but originally the Shenmue series was a single story made up of 11 chapters, that I was planning to release in two parts. Then it became necessary to release just the first chapter as a single game: putting together its own opening and ending and adjusting it story-wise to provide an Introduction, Development, Turn and Conclusion. So, if I had to say whether Shenmue I turned out as I had first envisaged, then that's not necessarily the case. My belief is that you must always be taking on new challenges, in order for new methods of expression and game production techniques to see the light. If you only rely on the old and familiar, the day will come when you're no longer able to stand up against the rest of the world.

Challenges Give Rise to New Advantages

This is my own pet theory, but I think that with video games in America, in the main both players and developers have grown to prefer games that provide entertainment through simulation. I would say that it's for this reason that Shenmue I "clicked" with Americans as being the kind of thing they were looking for; and video games that followed haven't held back on trying new things to improve the quality of the simulation.
YS: The people of Japan are the most versatile among all nations, so I'm sure that in three years time, given the same development tool, we would be able to master them with the highest proficiency. However, while we may be able to become more proficient than anyone else, there is a temptation to stick with those development tools or methods we have gotten used to. Developers overseas, on the other hand, are always trying new development methods and different game engines, and they use these skillfully and efficiently. This approach of trying new things is one that is praised by overseas game fans. And so the approach taken in the West, where importance is placed on new challenges rather than success / failure, is a better and mentally healthier approach for developers.

No doubt your big global hit Out Run was the result of your taking on those kinds of challenges yourself. Out Run was a game that simulates an enjoyable drive in a car down a wide, open road while the trend for race games in the 80s was to race down narrow roads, where hitting another car would cause an explosion.
YS: After all, in real life I have never had an explosion from scraping my car (laughs). And so I thought it doesn't make sense for it to explode. And what prompted me to provide Out Run with a choice of 3 background music tracks was from wanting to change the music to suit my mood when driving my own car.

And then we arrive at the 90s, when 2D fighting games had a great burst in popularity.
YS: Street Fighter II was the king of the fighting games at the time.

Back then, "fighting games" automatically meant two-dimensional fighting games – that was the only kind of fighting games that players and developers knew, wasn't it. But instead of pursuing the same path, you worked on a three-dimensional fighting game, Virtua Fighter.
YS: I had no hope of mastering the controls for Street Fighter II, so I thought I would make a game that I would be able to play (laughs). What I wanted to achieve with Virtua Fighter was that I wanted to be able to move my character the way I wanted, with the fighting based on judgment in the same way as with an actual martial artist. The 2D fighting games of the 90s were a genre where the player is rewarded with a win through skill at timing. However, that means that it is people who can execute the commands at exactly the right instant who are the ones that win. What is really wanted is for victory to be the result of the player thinking "I want to do a somersault kick here" and controlling the character accordingly, right? With real boxing too, even the greatest boxer doesn't watch the action before throwing a punch. His body moves the instant he senses that his opponent will throw a punch. I wanted to make a fighting game that you could play with the same kind of intuition as actual fighters. To achieve that, I simplified the controls and implemented an intelligent processing system to let the player's decisions be communicated directly.

It was a game you packed with innovations, wasn't it - not just 3D graphics but even in areas like the controls.

Video Game Industry's Destiny Dictates Use of Cutting-Edge Technology

I think the reason 3D stereoscopic movies have become established in Hollywood is because entertainment in America as a whole has moved in the direction of simulations, and they have been assimilated naturally. That being the case, would virtual reality be the next area video games in America will target?
YS: We are getting closer to what we used to dream about. Even for simulations, the day may come when the experience will be not be via a TV screen but through holographic images, which is something I discussed back in the days of Virtua Fighter. It is said that almost anything that can be imagined is realizable; for example in the past we used to think it would be amazing if trains could travel inside buildings, but now it's something that exists and is taken for granted. So reality will grow closer to our dreams, I'm sure.

The games of the future we dreamed about as kids are rapidly becoming reality, aren't they.
YS: What bugs me most when I'm playing video games, is that using a controller is such a hassle. I ask myself when it will be possible to play without a controller (laughs). Being unable to manipulate the controller properly is stressful and unpleasant, so I want to have the character move just from thought. Brain waves such as alpha waves can now be detected, so someday a sensor may be realized that gives you control just by attaching it to your body in the same way as "Elekiban" [a brand of magnetic patches sold in Japan] .

Actually continuing to attempt to reach those goals, rather than leaving them as dreams, pushes technology to advance, doesn't it.
YS: Even automated driving, which has become a popular topic in the vehicle industry, is a natural extension of the technology used to control the non-player cars in racing games - how to recognize the road geometry, how to make a correction to a deviation from the path of travel. The basic core of automated driving is the same foundation as for the non-player cars we have been working with for more than 10 years. Of course, with an actual car lives are at stake so things like the detection of other cars and measurement of inter-car distance is done with high precision. Racing games, by comparison, are deliberately made to be competitive so that the player can enjoy playing them. Almost certainly some of the technology in racing games forms the cornerstone of automated driving; or to put it another way, I would say the very first incorporation of automated driving was in racing games.

Video games are filled with cutting-edge technology, aren't they!
YS: Military technology contributed to the evolution of computers. Therefore cutting-edge technology is also used in the video game industry built upon them, and furthermore this industry is one whose destiny dictates that kind of cutting-edge technology be actively employed.

Being Globally Competitive as a Creative Work

While experimenting with such new challenges may be fun, at the same time is it the toughest part of video game development?
YS: Quite the opposite, it's the most enjoyable part. Of course, there are tough times too. With the production of Shenmue I, there's no doubt there were struggles, but they were to do with the vast amount of personnel administration and management; areas other than the creative side.

Things like administering the staff and scheduling, rather than the development.
YS: Right (laughs). I hate having time taken up by management and losing time for creativity.

Having clearly-separated positions for producer and director as with Hollywood movies might suit your style of creation better.
YS: If I could dedicate myself to creating the game, it would be painless. But back at the time of Shenmue I, for a developer to speak of making a game where the player is "able to do anything" was taboo territory – it was equivalent to saying that the game would become one that couldn't do anything. The reason for that is simple: if you have say 10 developers, then to implement 10 features you need to put one person in charge of each feature. But if you narrow the scope down to a single feature then all 10 members can devote their energy to it. You could also say that the reason a game of the same type as Shenmue wasn't produced following the release of Shenmue I was due to there being this kind of background.

So it was a game that deliberately challenged this taboo!
YS: That's why when I'm making a video game... I always find new challenges exciting. Also when I was making arcade games, I never felt it to be a hardship. However - and this is something that can be said about all the games I've created up till now - I've never completed one exactly as I wanted it to be. Mostly they end up with around 50-60% implemented of what I wanted to do (laughs).

If the result is the creation of games like Virtua Fighter, then everything you wanted to do was implemented the world would surely be bowled over! (laughs)
YS: The biggest difference between game developers in Japan vs those overseas is probably the system of production. Overseas development companies are based around a production style that includes Hollywood marketing and merchandising. And so it's hard for Japanese developers to try to imitate that. But in a way it's the same for movies: there are many fine Japanese movies, aren't there. Some Japanese movies even win awards overseas. If we can bring out something with an appeal that isn't influenced by differences in budget or production style, then a product can be created that will be well received by the rest of the world. I want Shenmue III to be a video game that can be globally competitive as a creative work.

Translation by Switch
by Switch
Fri Jun 10, 2016 10:05 am
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Re: Stretching

FYI, before anybody gets any ideas, the stretch goals are formulated with the funding breakdown in mind.

We're not losing any stretch goals, period.
by Spaghetti
Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:55 pm
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DoriMaga Feature Part 2: The World of Shenmue (Jan 1999)

Veteran Dojo contributor Switch has translated the second part of a Shenmue feature from the January 1999 issue of Dreamcast Magazine.

'The World of Shenmue' takes a delve into the games 3 year development period, the Dreamcast demo known as 'The Tower of Babel', how Ryo Hazuki finally took shape, as well as a look at the FREE/Open world feature.

You can view the translated article in its entirety here .

The previously translated 'Shenmue Premiere Event' (Part 1) can be viewed here .
by Sonoshee
Sat Jul 16, 2016 6:54 am
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DoriMaga Feature Part 2: The World of Shenmue (Jan 1999)

Here is the second translated installment of the January 1999 edition of the Dreamcast Magazine, which contained a multi-part feature on Shenmue . The theme of Part 2 is "The World of Shenmue".

Background to the article : as part of the build-up to the release of Shenmue, and following on the heels of the Shenmue Premiere event that had been held the previous month in Yokohama, the Japanese Dreamcast Magazine ("DoriMaga") published this 16-page special report covering various aspects about what could be expected with the as-yet unreleased Shenmue.

The feature consists of these parts:
Part 1. Shenmue Premiere Event (previously translated here)
Part 2. The World of Shenmue (this post)
Part 3. The Hero and Other Characters (future post)
Part 4. It's Magic! Special Effects and Production (future post)
Part 5. Interview with Yu Suzuki (future post)

PART 2: The World of Shenmue

Shenmue’s Most Distinctive Feature: Its Immense Play Area!

Here's what Yu Suzuki has to say about Shenmue’s new genre, FREE (an acronym of "Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment"): "It imposes fewer constraints than the games of the past, and lets you play as you want and without stress. It’s about making sure anyone can get through the game smoothly, without being frustrated - that’s what I wanted to create. Even a 10-year old can play. When the boundaries between generations and countries are overcome, people from all over the world can share the emotion of its themes, and feel as if they have experienced a different life from their present one. To put it another way, I want to give the player a complete, self-contained world."

A World Whose Creation Has Spanned 3 Years

This game is the product of 3 years spent by SEGA’s top developer, Yu Suzuki, after taking on the challenge of creating an RPG. The project got underway in secret in 1996 at AM2’s research department as development was in progress on Virtua Fighter III, a game greatly anticipated by all game players. Things took shape steadily, and a massive number of image boards were created in the construction of the world. Work on Yu Suzuki’s masterpiece came to be known by the code name " Project Berkley ". And now, at last, the time has come for the veil to be lifted.

Yu Suzuki’s goal with the game is the "creation of a huge world" - nothing less than a reconstruction of the real world. Something that’s easy to say, but for a game to take ordinary, everyday things and recreate them before our eyes is one of the most difficult challenges. For that reason, in games before now objects have always been symbolized or simplified: the symbol of a castle; a 3D sandbox world that lacks authenticity; badly-shaped characters... It’s only natural to question why this has become the accepted method of expression in conventional RPGs. Yu Suzuki took this as his starting point, along with a vast and complete world. Indeed, Yu Suzuki took the concepts everybody had taken for granted and made them his point of departure. Upon seeing the world that Yu Suzuki has created, players will surely catch their breath.
Above: One of the locations in Shenmue: the bewitching capital of Hong Kong. Kowloon City, standing in the evening sun, may be a town that best reflects the impressive scale of the game. Enclosing all kinds of people, this giant city is a complicated tangle, forbidding access to outsiders...
※ All images are work-in-progress.

The May 21st Dreamcast Demo:
Was “The Tower of Babel” a Glimpse of Things to Come?!

21 May, 1998: at the Dreamcast event, along with demonstrations presented by Mr Irimajiri [the then-CEO of Sega] , a demonstration video of "The Tower of Babel" was shown. It is said to have been put together by three staff members in just ten days. This demo bears a striking resemblance to the walled city of Kowloon in Shenmue. What would have been produced if three years had been spent in the creation of the city? The answer to that is: Shenmue.
Above: from above, countless stores and houses surround the huge tower. Creating something like this in a period of just 10 days is now within the realm of possibility.
Left: this is how it looks viewed from afar: one large island. Right: going in closer, the detail in the work can be appreciated. Is this the kind of world that will exist in Shenmue?
Above: this is where the protagonist of this game lives, the area of Yokosuka. With its slightly retro feel, the town feels more than a background to an RPG - the sense of realism shown in this screenshot makes it easy to believe that it actually exists: the aerials on the houses, the power lines, the store signs and post boxes... Just as in the real world, the player can navigate around using them as landmarks when navigating around.
Above: in stark contrast is the landscape of Hong Kong. The player will realize immediately just by observing the differences in the city’s appearance that they are in a different country. It is as if an entire world exists there. A boundless expanse awaits the player.

"A system that can be enjoyed at any age, where simplicity and depth stand side by side; a realistic world with fine attention to detail enticing you to see what’s around the next corner; a space that feels real. These are the kinds of things I wanted to create." Just from this brief glimpse of the stage on which Shenmue is set, Yu Suzuki’s thoughts can be clearly understood. However, Yu Suzuki isn’t content with just creating a realistic world: "A story and experience that will leave players with lasting memories". We mustn’t forget this crucial aspect of the game. To put it another way, the purpose of constructing this great world was to evoke such emotions. What sights will be in store for you in this vast world?
Above: the Hong Kong cityscape, a sight familiar also to Japanese. One of a number of cities in Asia said to boast a million-dollar night view, the gaudy signs of its shopping district will no doubt leave an especially strong impression. In Shenmue, such views of Hong Kong city are faithfully reproduced, down to the last detail. Those who see it will be amazed!

The protagonist’s name: Ryo Hazuki!!

China’s expansive history and vast lands spoke to Yu Suzuki’s heart. At first, in order to give the world consistency, only the theme music was created, and this helped to fan his imagination. Then, two years ago, in order to flesh out the visual images, a CG movie was created. That movie was the one seen in places such as the Virtua Fighter 3tb special disk and the TV commercial for the premiere event.

However Suzuki says that the creation of the most important character, the protagonist, turned out to be much more difficult than he had been expecting; recently, it has at last been firmed up.

The main character’s name is Ryo Hazuki. A Japanese youth, he pursues the mystery of his father’s death, setting out on a journey to a country in the west he has not laid eyes upon before: China. What awaits him there?
The main protagonist, Ryo Hazuki, revealed at the premiere event. He was modelled in 3D using an actual plaster bust. Having lost his mother when he was a child, Ryo’s childhood days were passed training under the strict instruction of his father. Although reckless and with a quick temper, he has a strong conviction. He is the main character of the game.

Is this really a game?! A fully-interactive world using no pre-rendered movies. The town, the rooms, the people... everything, even the dogs and cats, are drawn to full scale!!

Shenmue: a townscape that has been crafted to reproduce the real world in fine detail; and among the development staff, there are even a few hallucinatory souls who ask themselves if this is truly a game.

The townscape that has been crafted is not a spurious sandbox; you can round corners following a smoothly-curving path, and if there are obstacles in the way your pace will automatically slow as you avoid them. In other words, if there is somewhere that you want to go, it’s just a matter of pressing a direction button.

Pressing Up moves you foward; Down and you turn around. If you press Left you move to the left; if you press Right you move to the right. Furthermore, if there is something you wish to look at, you don’t need to come to a halt. Just press the analog stick in the direction you wish to look as you walk along. Indeed, just like in real life, you can search for signs that show the way, or look up at a building while you walk. It’s also possible to look down as you move, and search for dropped items on the ground. Players can go where they want, looking at what they want. Naturally, the controls are simple even for a child. One of the main features is that everything has been made to be user-friendly.
Above: in the world of Shenmue, there is no disconcerting switch to a movie scene, with the commonly-seen obvious change in graphics quality. All scenes are created and displayed on the fly.

Furthermore, in Shenmue there are many characters who don’t have a direct connection to the development of the story. People who helpfully tell you the way to go, people who hurry past you and in-your-face road-side vendors. The player can progress through the game without having to converse with all the characters, just as in the real world. Of course, a quick conversation might turn out to give you an unexpected clue. If you are lost, or don’t know what to search for next, just as in the real world you can try asking people at the wayside.
Above: the inhabitants are rendered in high-quality, real-time CG, and the story unfolds seamlessly – just as if in the real world.

The Story Starts in the Winter of 1986, in Yokosuka!

The setting for Shenmue is Yokosuka. Yu Suzuki comments regarding the time period: "I’m planning to have the story start in Yokosuka, in the winter of 1986. That’s something that probably won’t change". When asked the reason for choosing Yokosuka as the setting: "There’s not really any great reason per se, but I wanted to use a town in Japan with a bit of character – like Kamakura, Kurashiki or Kyoto. Even now there are towns brimming with the atmosphere of Japan. Yokosuka and its surroundings feel right: somewhat exotic and out-of-the-ordinary. And the time period that I thought was the most Yokosuka-like goes back 10 years, to around 1986".

Suzuki says that under the scenario currently created, the setting for the first chapter will be around Yokosuka, where the main protaganist Ryo Hazuki grew up. With Yokosuka as its departure point, the world of Shenmue will gradually expand out. The size of this world is bound to exceed our expectations.
Above: the atmospheric streets of the suburbs around Yokosuka. The historic Hazuki dojo, also the home of Ryo Hazuki, and its surroundings together with the area of Shin-Yokosuka harbor make up the setting of Chapter One.
Above: once you have become somewhat familiar with the area of Yokosuka, the setting moves to Hong Kong. The recreation of the complicated buildings is remarkable, its composition serving to give a sense of height.
Above: the people there carry out their lives just as in the real world. Don’t hesitate to have a chat with them.

Answers to Our Quiz


In the December 25 [1998] edition of Dreamcast Magazine, we showed you pictures of several aerials. So what meaning did they have?
Here’s the explanation: the huge environment that has been created for Shenmue is not merely large in size, but has been built with an insane level of detail. Aerials are one such example. Aerials have been recreated and placed throughout the expansive town, with each one a shape different from the next. This result of this ludicrous amount of effort is that the world in which the player moves feels realistic, giving the illusion of being in the real world. Indeed, a "world" really does exist there!


We showcased these animals in the December 18 [2015] edition of Dreamcast Magazine.
Yu Suzuki has this to say about them: "My aim was for a game where everything develops at full scale – while the player moves around, animals like dogs and cats will also appear at full scale." "I think something interesting can be done using these animals." Let’s wait to play the game to find out what he means.

*** End of Part 2. Translation by Switch ***
by Switch
Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:53 pm
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Re: Shenmue III and Red Dead Redemption 2 launch window

The people who are going to buy Shenmue III are still gonna buy Shenmue III. It's not a zero sum game where people can only buy one or the other.
by Spaghetti
Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:59 am
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Re: Digital Foundry Retro: Shenmue 2 - A Masterpiece Revisit

Hope you guys enjoy some of it. I gave a shout out to this very forum since, really, this is THE place for Shenmue info. I'm amazed at how in-depth some folks have gone into pulling the game apart. It's awesome!

If I had time, I would have gone into more depth on emulation and, perhaps, point out more of those weird Xbox/DC differences (like all the modified signs and whatnot). Ah well.
by dark1x
Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:00 am
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Re: Digital Foundry Retro: Shenmue 2 - A Masterpiece Revisit

Thanks a lot Dark1x, Can I ask you some questions?

1- In your opinion, how long or how hard would be to port Shenmue 2 to current gen platforms?
2- The release of this video in this very week (PSX, S2 the movie) was a coincidence or have you chosen by a special reason?

1 - I think it is quite doable BUT I do think it might be challenging. I'm sure the game uses a lot of very low-level code designed for the Dreamcast (and Xbox, I suppose) which might be difficult to work with. I can't imagine there was a lot of documentation or record keeping done on that so the team might be challenged there. It uses a lot of old data formats as well which could be tough to deal with. Still, I'm positive it can be done. It just needs a decent budget and a talented developer. I have high hopes that it will happen some day!

2 - Heh, it was a mix of both. Really, though, I made a promise to those that enjoyed the first video that I would do one for Shenmue 2 before the year was out and I finally had the time to make it happen.

I'm glad you guys enjoyed it because I love highlighting games like this. I feel like a lot of the retro talk from large sites tends to be very Nintendo-centric but I was more of a Sega/PC guy back in the day and wanted to really highlight those types of games.
by dark1x
Sun Nov 27, 2016 2:14 pm
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Re: Playstation Experience - December 2016

I hope you all feel horrible when Shenmue isn't at PSX. Cause it won't be. I mean i don't know anything for sure but come on, it's just not.
Is this a goof or are you being genuine here?

It's a bit of both. But let's just say I find it better to not be hyped and to be surprised at PSX than to be hyped and then be disappointed when it doesn't come to fruition.
you will be just as disappointed as we are except you can now take the credits that you claimed this all along and pretend you're not disappointed. seriously how old are you?
by drunkensailor
Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:50 am
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Re: Playstation Experience - December 2016

I'm not upset about them not showing anything, but the lack of information about the PC version is starting to worry me. I don't care what Cedric Biscay says on Twitter about it.
by mjq jazz bar
Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:13 pm
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Re: Playstation Experience - December 2016

shredingskin wrote: Well, Fuck naughty dog too.

Leave Yakuza out of this but I've got no problems with you going after Naughty Dog. The Last of Us is a seriously overated game.
by Kintor
Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:14 pm
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Re: Kickstarter Update #63: Campaign and Progress Update

I don't really see how you can deduce a Mini-Game from that random ass screenshot, but it's OK. I don't feel like pissing in peoples cereals any longer.
by Rikitatsu
Thu Dec 15, 2016 4:07 am
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Re: Kickstarter Update #63: Campaign and Progress Update

I don't think criticism is hate and the people that spent their money on this project have a right to share their views respectfully without being branded traitors.

But people tend to forget YSNet is a indy dev team. We just had a world open RPG get released unfinished after 10 years of development by a AAA+ team. Yu Suzuki is a great creative mind but his team is not 90s SEGA where he can say "scrap it, I want this by tomorrow morning".

Pieces will eventually come into place, these screenshots will be one day replaced with a video of Ryo and Shenhua walking around and everyone will be blown away.
by killthesagabeforeitkillsu
Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:26 pm
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Re: Kickstarter Update #63: Campaign and Progress Update


Fuck the haters and the negativity.

Merry Christmas Yu, make the best game you can.
by Shenhua-Nani?
Thu Dec 15, 2016 6:35 pm
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Re: Resident Evil VII

Still going through it. The game just keeps getting better and better. Any doubts anyone would of had about this being a true Resident Evil experience is dead wrong. This is the most RE since REmake and Zero. A pure survival horror experience the likes of which not many games can dream touch in all around execution.
Gameplay, graphics, sound design, music, story, voice acting, pacing, you name it. Top notch marks.

Honestly its only January I know but, this is a GOTY. I doubt another game this year will beat it in all around quality.
If you have a PS4 or Xbox One you owe it to yourself to play this. Quickly became one of my top 10-20 games of all time and I've not even finished it yet.
A new very welcome evolution for the series I hope continues in this vain.
by Axm
Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:58 am
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Re: Shenmue 3 for the Nintendo Switch

I can't get behind this, sorry.
The Switch is almost a generation behind the PS4, and Ysnet would have to redesign a lot of assets and do a lot more work in order to make it run decently on the Switch... For how small Ysnet is and their limited budget, it will be an almost impossible task.

That said, I can get behind a Shenmue 1/2 remastered for the Switch, the more people can experience those games, the better.
by Rikitatsu
Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:21 pm
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Re: Kickstarter Update #65: Dev room update

Kiske wrote:

By far my favorite grab of the bunch. This of all the images makes it so incredibly real that Shenmue III is coming and is true to form.
by Yama
Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:11 pm
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Re: Will the PC version come on a blu ray disc?

It will likely be a "fake physical" edition, with the download code inside the box, like many of the recent PC releases. It won't be on bluray for sure.
Funny enough, I funded the kickstarted with the "PC physical copy" and never actually thought about this, but what I just quoted sounds like the most likely scenario to me as well at the moment.
by Niowiad
Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:35 am
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Japanese lessons on Phantom River Stone

For any players of Shenmue who are inquisitive or have been inspired to find out more about the Japanese language, we are starting up a new series on Phantom River Stone called "Learn Japanese through Shenmue" aimed at beginners of Japanese. It will be structured around scenes and dialogue from Shenmue to add interest to the process of learning about the language. I hope you'll follow along and have fun.

The first lesson is available right now for blog patrons, and by the end of the month on the main blog for the public release.

Here's a little teaser...
by Switch
Wed May 09, 2018 12:49 am
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Re: Japanese lessons on Phantom River Stone

Rakim wrote:Switch knows his shit ya'll.

Hey thanks for that. 頑張ります!

abaww wrote:So maybe shenmue can help me get that JLPT N2...

Ah, we'll have to make an advanced Shenmue lesson series! :)

Good luck with your studies for N2. Will you be sitting it this year?
by Switch
Wed May 09, 2018 8:45 pm
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Re: Japanese lessons on Phantom River Stone

Yeah, I would like to. I've got the chance to take the exam on December here in Venice.
That's a great aim. A good thing about the JLPT is that it helps give motivation to study, and you can buy study books on what's covered at each level.
by Switch
Fri May 11, 2018 3:40 am
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Re: Current sales ranking on various Amazon & other retail s

abaww wrote: Finally, it's possible to preorder Shenmue HD on Amazon Italy since today. And guess what? "il #1 più venduto in Giochi per PlayStation 4". I bet you understood what it means. :mrgreen:

No, non capisco. Puoi aiutarmi? ;-)
by Truck_1_0_1_
Fri May 11, 2018 3:24 pm
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Shenmue HD £15.30/€17.70 Steam Key (EU/UK)

Came across this earlier today and bought a few copies. Cheapest price currently on the market.

Use codes SCHOOLSOUT or SUMMER18 at checkout for this price.

VoidU are an approved digital partner of SEGA.
by ShenSun
Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:47 pm
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