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Return - Yu Suzuki interview x2 UPDATE: Translated!

I'll try to translate it, but it might take a while...

Edit: Found another one on the same site from the 17th:

Edit 2: Translation is complete. I'm neither native in english nor japanese, so it might sound strange in some places.

Again, this is the article from 2015-06-20
- a follow up on the interview Switch translated.


Yu Suzuki, the man who started the Shenmue III Kickstarter that set a new Guinness record for the fastest game reaching 1 million dollars. One night after the last time we spoke we ask again about the state of the project and about game creating.

-- Thanks for the other day. This time I would like to dig deeper.
YS: Please go ahead.

-- Can you tell us more about this "nostalgia" that you mentioned was like a theme or keyword for Shenmue 3.
YS: Wherever I go in the world I'm always asked "Where is Shenmue 3?" By mail or through other persons. That's when I felt it, that Shenmue has a lot of parts in it, the things that you feel about the game can differ very much from person to person. Like, one fan said he met a person called Nozomi in real life, you know, like the heroine of Shenmue I. He felt that it was some kind of fate and married her.

-- Wow. Really?
YS: Yeah. it's true. Other than that there were things that seemed obvious for japanese people, but were new for foreigners. For example in the first game Ryo walks around and asks for help from many different people, right? As he leaves he always says "Thank you". There are foreigners that were moved by that. When I heard that I thought "Well, don't you say thank you in your country?".

-- Maybe they don't say things that explicit in that culture?
YS: And in the game these "excuse me" and "thank you"s are repeated many many times. For people not experiencing that in their daily lives it might have been a bit of a shock for them. I took that to my heart.

-- I guess there aren't that many RPGs that end their conversations with "thank you".
YS: And in this society we live in now information is shared over the internet, but as you go further back through the years, and go further into the countryside, information exchange is slow and the culture and customs are more specific to that area. The beliefs and values of the people living there are [less complicated and] easier to understand. That is very interesting.

-- I see.
YS: So maybe the people anticipating part 3 are having fond memories and feel a bit nostalgic. I think people are probably feeling nostalgic about the Shenhua, Ryo and Shenmue from fifteen years ago. And I think that I shouldn't destroy that nostalgia with part 3. If I don't make that work with part 3 I don't think the game will live up to the expectations. That's why the keyword for part 3 is nostalgia.

-- Wasn't part 1 and 2 also make with nostalgia as a keyword?
YS: It's a different kind of nostalgia with part 3. In part 1 and 2 there is the nostalgia towards the era, in part 3 it's the nostalgia towards the game. For part 1 and 2 the target user was late teens to early twenties, so for these users I wanted them to experience the culture of the streets still having that showa-period feel of 1986, and be nostalgic about it. So in contrast to that, in part 3 I want the players to be nostalgic about part 1 and 2.

-- So looking at the years... part 1 and 2 came out in 2000 and 2001. Since part 1 in taking place in 1986 Yokosuka, the users playing the game at 20 years of age would have been six when the game took place.
YS: So it's not really nostalgia since it's a story from when they were just kids. Maybe making them feel "there was a world like this" together with the nostalgia.

-- Since then 15 years has passed and the users has become 35 and start feeling nostalgic about things. Now they are looking back and being nostalgic about having played part 1 and part 2.
YS: Yes. Now they are nostalgic about the experience with Shenmue.

-- So the games were released and as said before the users over the world described what moved them which you didn't think about when the games were made, right? As a game creator, did you continue to be surprised by all the reactions over these 15 years?
YS: Yes. They didn't come all at once. The comments continued coming from all over the world. Especially about cultural differences.

-- As with part 1 and 2, even if you think about what the users will enjoy in part 3, it might be different between japanese and foreign users.
YS: It's different. I can't remember making part 1 and 2 for foreigners.For example the themes of Outrun and other arcade games I made a long time ago were chosen in order to be popular all over the world. But for Shenmue 1 and 2 there were no thoughts about the target country.

-- You didn't make them for japanese users?
YS: I didn't really think about it. It was more about making a new game style, there is something interesting in just that. Making a new thing means a new kind of game which would make the world take notice of it. A new system. But I never thought everyone would react to the culture and customs like this.

-- You can say the new system was the skeleton and the culture and customs were the flesh and outward appearance, maybe?
YS: Maybe more like the system is the physical and culture and customs are the spiritual.

-- That would connect with the word "spiritual" that is often said about Shenmue. So for part 3 you can keep working on the aspects you didn’t think about that people actually really enjoyed about part 1 and 2.
YS: Yeah.

-- Neilo is developing part 3. The CEO Tak Hirai was the lead programmer of part 1 and 2 I've heard. Could you share the story of how you came to work on this project together again? Did you keep in touch during these 15 years?
YS: I've been in contact with Hirai and other members all the time since then. Drinking sometimes, talking about wanting to make Shenmue etc. "If it ever happens I'll count on you". We always said things like that.

-- Everyone was thinking about it.
YS: I'm a programmer from the beginning and Hirai too, so we have a kind of programming bond. In a game there are graphics, sound, program and other elements, but I want to focus on the programming.

-- I see.
YS: There are great games in the world today. Destiny, Grand Theft Auto, Assassin's Creed and more. The budget difference makes it very hard to challenge them in graphics and quality. For example Nintendo games are a bit less graphically advanced, but I don't care about that. They have great playability and I love them. So that's the approach. I'll probably challenge myself on the programming side. I think the programming makes games fun. So with that in mind the programming lead becomes an important partner.

-- Meaning Hirai-san.
YS: Yes. Back then Hirai was the programming lead and... Ah, I guess I can't call just call him Hirai anymore {as in dropping “-san”}. He was working under me back then... He was the one who started Neilo so f course he's great at programming. And this time, for the development of 3, we have gained access to the source code from part 1 and 2. He has written much of that code and might be able to reuse some of it. Back then there were probably nobody as great as him at programming. So in that sense being able to collaborate with him and his company is great.

-- It looks like there are other important creators participating.
YS: Yes. The screenwriter Yoshimoto-sensei is helping out. I'm very happy that many key members are participating.

-- How is the development looking now? I guess you have been talking with Neilo until now.
YS: It all depends on how the Kickstarter goes. If it fails, everything stops. Since it's not finished yet we can't do any real work. But we can do the work we can. We've been having a lot of meetings. For the Kickstarter we've been making promotional videos in Unreal Engine 4, but that was delegated to Neilo. However, I was of course directing it. We worked together like that. The budget will be decided in about a month I think so that's when we'll organize the project team. The plan is fluid but Neilo will be the center, and that won't change.

-- During the Sega era, how was Hirai-san?
YS: When we made Shenmue we were over 300 people at one time. We had managers for different sections, and he had about 100 people under him. So he was between me and where work was being done. He was very much trusted by his subordinates. I think that's the best compliment I can say about him. People who are trusted from above might just be appeasing their supervisors. But it takes someone special to be trusted by those working for him.

The rest of the questions are more about how and why he creates games. While interesting, it’s not that relevant in regards to the Shenmue III project.
by Capsule Toys Maniac
Sat Jun 20, 2015 6:56 pm
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4gamer interview - character perspective system [spoiler]

This is an interview with Yu Suzuki from the japanese site published 2015-06-19.
Here translated by me.

Original article:

Among other things it brings up interesting new information about the 5 million dollar stretch goal; the character perspective system.

There is also a slight spoiler of a character that might appear, so those of you who want to play the game totally spoiler free should maybe avoid reading this.

here we go.

-- Thanks for being here.
YS: Thanks for having me. before jumping into questions I just want to make clear that Shenmue is a Kickstarter project and the scope and contents depend on the stretch goals.

-- Yeah, looking at the Kickstarter stretch goals there are the rapport system and skill tree and other added.
YS: We add more stretch goals so as more people pledge the scope of the game will get bigger. So as of now I can’t talk in detail about the mechanics of the game. What I’m able to accomplish will very much depend on the funds we can gather. I want to avoid telling too much and end up betraying those who have paid.

-- Under those circumstances, what do you want to do with Shenmue III?
YS: I want to show the relationship between Ryo and Shenhua in more detail. Even further than previous games.

-- It’s kind of hard to imagine how that would work.
YS: Maybe so. I want to to challenge myself, but new things are hard to get people to understand and therefore harder to gain support for. That’s one of the reasons we have prepared stretch goals like larger map and mini games.

-- So you made easy to understand stretch goals first.
YS: As more money comes in, the world of Shenmue III gets larger, and the game becomes more complete. But if it becomes a question of what game has the largest world, the game with the largest budget has a sure advantage. When it comes to Shenmue III, I want to ensure that there are other parts to enjoy besides just the open world aspects.

-- Can you give us any examples?
YS: At 3.2 million dollars there is the rapport system stretch goal. Actions and conversations will affect the relation between Ryo and Shenhua in subtle ways. The way Shenhua speaks and cooperate etc. will change.

-- It seems like the story could change depending on the relationship.
YS: Let’s just say that it depends on the budget. Making statements like that is just asking for trouble (laugh).

-- I get it (laugh). Could you explain the 5 million dollar stretch goal; the character perspective system?
YS: That is where the player will take control of characters like Shenhua and Ren instead of Ryo.

-- At a certain point in the game will we be able to change characters freely?
YS: I can’t talk about details yet, so I will just say that it’s not necessarily like we are letting you control the other characters exactly like Ryo.

-- So it’s not like you can just change characters at will.
YS: The personality of Ren and Shenhua is different from Ryo, so even if they see the same thing the reactions would be different. When you played as Ryo it was his decisions, but playing as Ren and Shenhua would make it very interesting.

-- Hearing that makes me even more interested (laugh).
YS: I’m unable to describe it any more until the 5 million dollar stretch goal is reached, so I’ll stop here for today.

-- By the way, will the story end with this part.
YS: To tell the truth, the original story is too long to end here. So I decided against trying to fit it all in to Shenmue III.

-- Which means that after the Shenmue III project has been finished we have to wait for the the next part.
YS: First we have to do our best to make Shenmue III a solid game.

-- Let’s leave the appearance of Shenmue III and talk about the backend. Can you tell us why you chose to use Unreal Engine 4?
YS: It’s because it’s easy to use and fits with how I imagine Shenmue to look. There are like rendering tendencies for the different engines, and the base colors of Unreal Engine 4 added with “dampness and scent” makes it Shenmue.

-- Are the colors you imagine the same as with the first two parts?
YS: Of course. Shenmue had that air humidity feeling well presented and it had a smell too. That’s what I aim for with Shenmue III.

-- So you’re saying that if you take a scenery out of the game and look at it you’d be able to say “That’s Shenmue!”?
YS: Yeah, That’s what I want to do. But the promotional video we made for Kickstarter felt dry. Kind of ended up like the Californian humidity level (laugh).

-- Your idea of the exact colors or the “scent” of the graphics, is it hard to convey that to the developers?
YS: It it very very hard to explain it. It’s like trying to explain what a melon is to someone who only has seen watermelons and mandarins. Well, you can say the size is about in the middle, but trying to explain the taste is very hard.

-- With that said, do you have members from the former parts working on Shenmue III?
YS: Yes. So we have the original members that kind of know what Shenmue is about.

-- After fifteen years, it’s quite the thing to bring everyone together again.
YS: I think so. Everyone has gone independent or changed their positions, but even at this stage when the scope of the production isn’t set in stone they have gladly offered to join. That’s really heartwarming.

-- It feels like the relationship is deeper than what you could expect from work colleges.
YS: That’s because Shenmue was a project that was more than just work. Ten years after the development of Shenmue II we had this get-together and more than 100 people came.

-- That’s amazing. I’m not sure if I would call that just a get-together.

-- The level of creativity in the games you have created is often very high. Is there any secret to this?
YS: No. I never play games outside work, so I don’t get that influenced by other games. Maybe that’s the reason.

-- I had this idea that you researched other games thorough and tried to make something different, but I guess that’s not true then.
YS: Yeah. it easier to just make something from zero (laugh).

-- So maybe If someone from the media like me hear an explanation for a game and say “Is it like the mechanics from that other game?” you might not be able to get it?
YS: I’m sorry, but I guess that’s true. Well, maybe I have to study the trends in the most popular games.

-- By the way, this is the first in a long time that you get to work on a game this big.
YS: Yeah. It feels like it was a long time ago I got this invested in a game.

-- It’s not like you totally left the game industry, but what do you think of the game industry in Japan looking from a bit afar.
YS: The game engine Unity came out and made it easy for just one person to make his own game, which is a good thing. It wouldn’t be healthy if only big budget games were able to survive. It’s good that the market has expanded with more alternatives. But it’s kind of sad that a majority of games that make money are small like games for smartphones.

-- Do you feel like more effort should be made in making titles for the consoles?
YS: Yeah. Before, Japan was said to be number one in game making. It’s sad that the knowledge that had amassed during that time wasn’t used better.

-- Many of the people during that time went over to make games for smartphones.
YS: It’s not like games for smartphones are necessarily bad, but what’s characteristic of smartphone game making is that the development cycles from start to finished tend to be fast. It might be good for business, but I’m not really satisfied with that. If you compare to cars there’s the really popular cars that sell well. They make a lot of money for the company, but if they don’t develop their flagship model their technical advancement will suffer.

-- In USA there is still a lot of money spent in games for game consoles and PC.
YS: Yeah. That kind of rich content helps activate the whole industry. I hope the industry in Japan gets back on track like before...

-- Oh, the interview got very negative suddenly. Could you maybe give a word of encouragement to the young developers of today or people thinking about making games?
YS: Today is different from before. It’s possible for anyone to make games now. Before it was impossible to make games if you didn’t know how to program, but now there are tools for that. It’s also possible to study game development, and it’s easy to learn from the internet. Living in this age you shouldn't think too hard and just try for fun, go in the direction that feels best for you. Begin with having fun creating.

The character perspective system means taking control of characters other than Ryo. He literally says “レンやシェンファ” which means characters “like Shenhua and Ren” so it could be for other characters too. (Edit: Or it could be just an example of characters. Like Thief said: "It could mean that characters like Shenhua and Ren (as in main supporting cast characters) are playable. Ren could have merely been used as an example." Thanks Thief! )
But it’s pretty much as close of a confirmation that we can get that Ren will show up in Shenmue III in one way or another. There is a concept art image of him riding a horse so it’s maybe not that unexpected, but we can be fairly sure he will show up in part 3 and not 4 or even later. Horses were also pretty much confirmed in Yu Suzuki's Reddit AMA so the concept art could very well be of an event happening in Shenmue III.
by Capsule Toys Maniac
Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:42 am
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KS Update #28 - Main Character Designer Kenji Miyawaki pt 2

Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening Shenmue Fans!

Kenji Miyawaki is back for the second part of his interview for one look back and one look forward. Kenji talks about how Ryo’s character got his fashion sense, and explains the mysterious character on the canvas.



There are more new rewards on the way that you do not want to miss, so be sure and stay tuned!
by Capsule Toys Maniac
Wed Jul 08, 2015 10:18 am
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Re: Twitter Q&A Round 2 Live now!

Translation of the Japanese questions.

Will there be a reappearance from Hiroshi Fujioka (Iwao Hazuki) who joined in on the Shenmue Gai announcement. I'd like to see his younger self and what he did.

The other day Hiroshi Fujioka sent me some Fujioka coffee.
Uh.. apparently Hiroshi Fujioka is selling coffee now? Who knew?

Since the hardware is different for Shenmue 3 we won't be able to transfer the save. Will that mean that moves like the brawling uppercut won't make an appearance? I ask because when going from Shenmue 1 to 2 I was sad to realize that the tornado kick was overwritten. I'm really looking forward for the launch of Shenmue 3.

I'll think about adding Brawling uppercut and Tornado kick.

Which version do you recomend for someone who as neither of the two systems? Will there be any differences between PC and PS4?

Both the PS4 version and the PC version will take advantage of the respective advantages of the hardware. So it doesn't matter which you buy.

I love Shenmue but I'm terrible at playing games. The only reason I was able to finish the game was because the difficulty level dropped since I failed so much. Will there be a system to help me in Shenmue III too? (please!)

Definitely! There will be a variable difficulty level so that new players that don't know about Shenmue will be able to play.

Will you show something at Tokyo Game Show and events like that?

As for this year's TGS it's undecided.

Will Ryo and Shenhua stay in the same room at the inns in Shenmue 3?

That depends on the vacancy of Choubu Inn.

Edit: rest of them:

Among the characters of Shenmue or you other games, who...
would you like to be friend with?
would you like to make your girlfriend?
do you actually hate?

My wife is too scary, I can't answer that.

Will Ren, who said "This is getting interesting!" when Ryo went to Guilin, appear in Shenmue 3.

Spoiler: He will! I have an interesting appearance in mind.

Is it impossible for you to work with a japanese crowdfunding site (like Makuake)? I'm not that confident with foreign websites.

At the official site there's an explanation of kickstarter so please take a look at that. There are Japanese speaking staff that can answer Kickstarter messages.

I loved the soundtrack more than the story or graphics. Will there be a special CD like the jukebox from Shenmue 1.

We're planning on adding nostalgic tracks from Shenmue 1 and 2 on the soundtrack that comes with the 250 dollar pledge.
by Capsule Toys Maniac
Sat Jul 11, 2015 12:14 am
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Re: Translation requests here!

Working on the japanese questions on the second #youAskYu unless someone is already on it.

Edit: and done.
by Capsule Toys Maniac
Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:24 pm
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Re: Bailu Village Hut Video - Full Quality!

Yep, weird. Maybe they planned to show in an announcement but accidentally made the video public too early, took it down, but later decided to make it public again since everyone had already seen it. I mean, the dojo had even uploaded a copy of it on its YouTube account.

Unless something changed in the video? But I didn't notice anything.
by Capsule Toys Maniac
Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:30 am
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