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Re: Shenmue 3 Kickstarter announced at E3 2015!

A fellow Dojo member was looking for someone to translate the full text of the recent Famitsu article interview with Yu Suzuki - so here's a rough translation of the interview text + picture captions.

Link to original article (Japanese):
Link to summary of the main points in English that was made by Varion on NeoGAF:

Interview Text (F=Famitsu, YS=Yu Suzuki)

F: The title "Shenmue 3" is one that has a huge impact, and it was a real surprise when it was announced. So first of all, with 14 years having passed since the previous game Shenmue 2, please tell us why and how the decision to make Shemue 3 came about.
YS: Bringing the sequel to reality isn’t something that was just started recently. Even more than 10 years since Shenmue 2, there are still many passionate fans and whenever I attend events or autograph sessions overseas I’m always asked about when Shenmue 3 will be coming. For example, at my autograph sessions in France, 80% of the fans are Shenmue fans. Of the rest, 10% are Virtua Fighter fans, and the remaining 10% are fans of Hang-On etc. Even now, firm fans run and manage communities. For some reason, every year around March and April, I have been hearing rumors about Shenmue 3 being released (laughs).

F: Expressions of hope for a sequel soon become rumors, don’t they (laughs).
YS: Right. But as time went on the voice of the fans began to weigh on me more and more: “Please publish the rest of the story, even if it’s just as a novel”, “We want to see a new Shenmue published, even just in manga format” and so on. So, to try to answer the feelings of the users in some small way, I decided to myself: “Even if it turns out not to be possible to create the game with all extra features, I'll do what I can to bring about the sequel”.
F: What is the reason you chose Kickstarter as the method?
YS: About 3 years ago, a fan who had used Kickstarter suggested I try it. That’s when I first heard about Kickstarter, and I investigated it further. I couldn’t immediately promise we would use Kickstarter because I wanted to be sure we would be able to use it to produce something that will live up to the expectations of the fans. I looked at other methods of making Shenmue 3, such as finding a partner company, but I wasn’t able to find one that suited my criteria. After consideration, I concluded that Kickstarter was the best approach, and finally now in 2015 I have been able to make the announcement.
F: You have often mentioned in the past that you’d like to make the sequel, but it really took a long period of preparation.
YS: Yes. The tremendous response to the Shenmue panel at GDC 2014 served as a boost to bring us to where we are now. Sega Games has gladly provided the license, and SCE has also expressed their encouragement for the creation of this Shenmue. It’s quite unusual to announce a Kickstarter project at SCE’s conference, but I am truly happy at everyone’s support for Shenmue.
F: The title of the sequel is simply “Shenmue 3”, isn’t it.
YS: No other title really came to mind. Shenmue 3 is the next part of the series leading from Shenmue 1 and 2. It’s not a spin-off. The hardware it will run on is PS4 as well as PC.
F: As the highly-anticipated legitimate sequel, I’m sure the fans will be delighted. By the way, what is the target amount for the Kickstarter campaign?
YS: 200 million yen (approx $2m) is the initial target.
F: Given that this is Shenmue, the amount of 200 million yen will surely be reached readily.
YS: Having said that, 200 million yen is the minimum amount for the game to come into existence. At that level, the content would be focused on the story. The collection of additional funding would allow me to bring into reality what I would really like to include. I would like to do new things.
F: Your outlook of “wanting to make new things” is something that you have always held to, isn’t it.
YS: Yes. I will be trying my best to achieve this with the new Shenmue sequel also.
F: Please give us more details later on. By the way, what kind of rewards do you have planned for your Kickstarter backers?
YS: As much as possible, I would like to include people’s input in the development process. For example, if there are two possible story directions for a character (say A and B), we could hold a poll to ask everyone which they prefer. I would like to give as a reward the right to participate in this kind of vote. And I also intend to allow players to experience part of Shenmue 3 while it is under development.
F: In other words, creating Shenmue 3 together with the fans.
YS: Since I expect the core of the backers will be individuals, I would like to make each one of them happy. Please have a look at the details of the rewards are listed on the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter page.

F: Next, I would like to ask about the key content of Shenmue 3. What kind of story developments can be expected in Shenmue 3?
YS: At the end of Shenmue 2 Ryo visits Guilin, said to be the most beautiful region in China. The area is famous for landscape paintings, and it has a river called the Li river. Shen Hua’s house is located on a tributary of the river. The story of Shenmue 2 ends at the point where Ryo reaches Shen Hua’s house, and the story of Shemue 3 continues right from there.
F: So, Ryo and Shen Hua will make an appearance, continuing from the previous part.
YS: For people who have played the Shenmue series, those familiar characters will appear as they were.
F: Will the setting be Guilin?
YS: Yes. For example, visiting a town(s) in the Guilin area, or going back to the mountains. Also infiltrating the Guilin chapter of an underground organization, the Chi You Men.
F: It could be said that Shenmue is the originator of open world gameplay, and has influenced many games since, but for Shenmue 3 what direction do you plan to take the open world model?
YS: When I created Shenmue 1, I was aiming to create exactly what is now called an “open world”. Being able to stop freely at any location you wish, advancing if you wish to move the story forward, or just standing still if you prefer. Back then, we called the system “FREE”, but in time it came to be referred to as open world. In Shenmue 2, with advances and technology and techniques, the open world was expanded even further.
F: In Shenmue 2, it was possible to walk through many towns over a wide area of Hong Kong, wasn’t it.
YS: Actually, at that time, I had decided that for Shenmue 3 I would delve in more deeply.
F: More deeply?
YS: Yes. People might expect that the open world would be made even broader, but in contrast to that, I will focus on depth. For example, for the case of 100 characters, splitting the development budget among them would limit the elements that could be incorporated into each character.
F: That’s true, it would make it harder to create each with detail.
YS: However, if we reduce the number to 10 characters, a lot of possibilities are opened up. The amount of conversation could be increased 10 times, or detailed A.I. provided for each character. As a result, conversations could be much richer. As an example, in Shenmue 3 the person that Ryo will speak with most is Shen Hua, so I want to portray her with depth. I envisage an approach where, by settings parameters for Shen Hua, on-going conversations with her will influence events such as changing her attitude, or changing the way that quests relating to her unfold.
F: I see. I think a lot of support for Shenmue comes not from just the realistic towns, but from the realism of the people inhabiting it. From what you have described, this realism will be further increased, and the world will feel even more “human”.
YS: Yes. In Shenmue this time I will be focusing particularly on digging down further on such internal aspects.
F: This is your vision for the new Shenmue, isn’t it.
YS: Of course, that’s not to say it will not be open world. Stretch goals will allow the town(s) to be expanded. However, what I would like to try first is to develop something that everyone has not anticipated; a deep Shenmue world.

F: I can’t wait to see this new Shenmue. Speaking of Shenmue, apart from its open world, its QTEs and minigames made it special, didn’t they.
YS: QTEs were originally included so that even people who were poor at battles could enjoy them. I’m happy that various games have included QTEs since then.
F: QTEs also had their origin in Shenmue, didn’t they.
YS: This time, I would like to show new QTEs; ones which can played by anyone, and which have carefully-crafted event sequences. In addition, I’d like to change the nature of free battles. (I will think of a different name, as I don’t want to call them free battles). I’d like to make a battle that is won by making the correct decision, rather than by correct timing of pushing buttons.
F: I believe Shenmue was made with the concept of being a game that can be enjoyed by any player, and this new system feels to be in keeping with that.
YS: Also this time I am planning a “technique scrolls” system. Ah.... maybe I have said too much (laughs).
F: Not at all, we’d like to hear more! (laughs)
YS: For example, with the free battle it is tough to practice and input the various commands required, so simply by obtaining a technique scroll you can apply the technique to help you win a battle. In the case of a QTE, the new technique could be unleashed during the QTE. I would like to make it so that a technique can be used to your advantage in battle just by obtaining a technique scroll. Furthermore, I’d like to make that technique scroll connect with various elements within the game.
F: Could you explain a bit more with respect to “connecting with elements”?
YS: Shenmue has had a number of ways you could play around, such as mini-games and gambling spots, but I have always been thinking about how to connect these together in some way. Of course, they are connected in the sense that you can take a part-time job to earn money, then increase that amount by gambling, then buy weapons... but not that kind of connection, something much closer. If the stretch goals can be reached and more detailed elements incorporated into the open world, this will allow technique scrolls to serve as the pivot for connecting together the various side games. That’s the kind of direction I would like to take it.
F: I see. So various elements of the open world will be connected together in a more natural way. Apart from that, are there any other elements that you are keen to include in Shenmue 3?
YS: One particular part of Shenmue that fans seem to have fallen in love with is the forklift part-time job, which is extremely popular. So I really want to include it in Shenmue 3 too, but how can you operate a forklift deep in the mountains of Guilin (laughs). I haven’t stopped thinking about how to find some way to include a forklift (laughs).

F: Please tell us about the development set-up for Shenmue 3.
YS: This time, the main development company is Neilo. The representative for Neilo, Takeshi Hirai, worked as the chief programmer for Shenmue and has a good understanding of Shenmue.
F: Since Shenmue is an open world game, I had thought that working with an overseas development company that is experienced in open world games would have been an option.
YS: Yes, that may have been an option. However, the main distinguishing characteristic of Shenmue is its culture. I believe that users overseas also have taken interest in the culture and customs of Asia. People have said they appreciate it when Ryo says “Thank you” for the smallest thing, for example. Someone who has worked all along on creating Shenmue understands that kind of culture and values.
F: So this time, development will be using Unreal Engine 4, won’t it.
YS: I have been looking at various engines for Shenmue 3 for the past 3 years, but the colors of Unreal Engine 4 are closest to those I envisage for the world of Shenmue. Although that’s a pretty broad statement, given that it’s a technical topic. The feeling of slight dampness in the air, the skin colors, the feel of materials etc were closest to my ideal.
F: Apart from the Neilo staff, are there others participating who have worked with Shenmue before?
YS: Yes, of course. I wanted to build up the team with past members as I believe that gives the fans some reassurance. Among others are scenario writer Masahiro Yoshimoto, and Kenji Miyawaki who is in charge of the character designs.
F: Given that this project is coming to life 14 years after the previous release of Shenmue, everyone must be very surprised.
YS: Mr Yoshimoto has been active in the world of television, and reacted with surprise saying “With television, producing something new with a theme that is 14 years old is unheard of”. But Mr Yoshimoto told me that he made many discoveries through his experience with Shenmue. Later on, I plan to release a video with comments from Mr Yoshimoto and the rest of the staff, so please watch out for it.
F: We are looking forward to seeing it. The fans are sure to be happy.
YS: I have gathered together quite a few of the original key members who gave Shenmue that special feel. I’m sure this will bring a feeling of both reassurance and nostalgia.
F: By the way, it may be a bit impatient to ask, but do you already have in mind how things will progress after Shenmue 3?
YS: Of course, I have that in mind. But first and foremost, I’d like to put primary focus on Shenmue 3.
F: When is the planned release date for Shenmue 3?
YS: I’d like to release it by the end of 2017.
F: That’s quite some way off, but we can’t wait. From speaking with you today, I can really appreciate the challenges that you are taking on of producing a new Shenmue. Finally, do you have a message for all the fans who have waited all this time for Shenmue 3?
YS: The fans have told me over the course of 14 years how they wanted part 3 to be made, and I have always told myself that I had to find some way to make it. And now, through the crowd-funding of Kickstarter, at last I have been able to make a start on the Shenmue 3 project. In order to bring about a Shenmue 3 that incorporates a perfect blend of both a Shenmue that everyone desires, as well as a Shenmue with the new challenges I want to take on, everyone’s effort is needed. Thank you so much for your support.

Picture captions:
1) This image shows the figures of Ryo and Shen Hua walking on a mountain path. Note that Ryo has changed clothes from the leather jacket he wears in the first and second parts of the series.
2) Using a telescope, Ryo observes buildings below a cliff. According to Yu Suzuki, before Ryo lies the enemy’s camp, which Ryo is searching for a way to infiltrate.
3) Shen Hua and Ryo, drawn by Kenji Miyawaki who is in charge of character design for the series. Shen Hua, the main heroine, did not appear much in the first and second parts of the series. In Shenmue 3, she will surely take a principle role.
4) Niao Sun, one of the leaders of the underground organisation opposing Ryo, the Chi You Men. Although her existence has previously been revealed, she has not made an in-game appearance until now.
by Switch
Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:09 am
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Re: $10 million

You guys are looking at this narrow minded. It is more than possible.

YSNet needs to enable PayPal donations for Shenmue III, as well as the ability to donate money after the Kickstarter ends so we can keep going.

This is how Star Citizen had over 84 million dollars donated towards it.

We need to keep pushing for those two things and we will make it.
by Himuro
Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:24 am
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Re: $10 million

Never in a million years is this Kickstarter going to get even close to that. Open up a PayPal and take donations afterwards and maybe it'll reach it in a few months with Shenmue fans donating a good portion of their fucking annual salary toward it.

It's a shame because if the Kickstarter was done properly I think it'd have had a decent chance of getting $10M by itself. I'm really annoyed by Awesome Japan - due to their complete and utter incompetence, they're now asking Shenmue fans to pledge far more than they can possibly afford, otherwise we get a bare-bones version of the game we've been waiting 14 years for.

Seriously, fuck these shit cunts.

Erm, this kind of attitude doesn't exactly help. Have you actually bothered messaging YS Net on kickstarter?

Guys this is the first few days of the campaign. We have all waited 14 years for this so why are you willing to give up so easily?
by b_ren
Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:25 am
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Shenmue Properly Upscaled to 4K

I've been wanting to do this for a while now. The results are better than I ever had expected, so I'd like to share with everyone.

A big discussion when talking about Shenmue and current technology is how to properly display the image. Some connect via VGA to a monitor which is the easiest solution and looks great. Most want to play on their TV's however, which as time goes on gets a little more tricky. I've done various methods including VGA on monitor, VGA to component on a CRT 4:3 HDTV, VGA pixel for pixel on an XBR-3, VGA to HDMI through a HD third party scaler (the one Adam used) and finally now this method which I can confirm absolutely demolishes every other way I've ever viewed this game.

So the first thing to know is you'll need to properly upscale the image, otherwise it'll look horrible. To properly upscale into HD (while retaining the correct aspect ratio) a third party scaler is required, which are niche and quite expensive. They get the job done, though obviously don't push the envelope any. The image quality is better than displaying pixel for pixel.

4K UHD is the same principal, though thanks to new technology becomes a bit easier (just more expensive, but is an investment). The two best scalers on the market as of today are the X-Reality PRO by Sony and the Revelation by SHARP. I won't go into major detail, but both are comparable and take different steps to achieving the same end goal.

Because the X-Reality PRO is an internal scaler, we're actually going to want to convert the VGA signal to HDMI raw without upscaling. From there the X-Reality PRO will do the rest and by the rest, I mean this . Do take a glance as it'll show the amount of tech the engine uses to upscale an image, something a third party scaler simply isn't capable of.

The end result is this and I don't think much more could be expected of a game developed from the late 90's onward, especially with a rendering resolution of 640x480. The X900B in general hides jaggies particularly well, but what stands out to me the most is the color range and depth. Granted this is a testament as to how far technology has come, but it also says a lot about the production value of Shenmue. It truly was ahead of it's time.

Here is the game (both Passport and Disc 1) running:

The equipment (though the most important tech such as the scaler is internal):
by Yama
Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:57 pm
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Re: Yu Suzuki Will Be On Twitch This Friday

That was a horrible job done by Awesome Japan. They should be fired immediately.

Technical issues.
Poor attitude. Guy in the red shirt looked like he was on drugs.
Translator didn't take notes while listening.
Questions unprepared and because of that stream ended early.

Just horrible. I'm ashamed by association that these people are handling this project.
So awkward the whole thing. We got some decent info out of it but nothing that couldn't have been done in a simple pre-recorded interview.
by Axm
Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:00 am
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Joel "red shirt" Tess Discussion Topic (Twitch)
by Ziming
Sat Jun 27, 2015 10:55 am
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Re: Joel "red shirt" Tess Topic (Twitch)

It wasn't THAT bad. He was just rather disrespectful, especially when considering Japanese manners. How did he ever get this job in Japan? Maybe being quirky was part of his thing, not sure Suzuki knew this when signing up though.

That's exactly what my wife said when I've showed the live to her (she's japanese) !

"How come he's working with Yu Suzuki ?"
"He has no respect"

Cannot say I disagree :/
by DEVILLE_David
Sat Jun 27, 2015 2:25 pm
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Re: Joel "red shirt" Tess Discussion Topic (Twitch)

Yea this sort of harassment and lampooning is super shitty and incredibly immature. If the mods don't care to take this sort of garbage down then I suppose they won't mind my comment. Go fuck yourselves. Are you adults? That's embarrassing. I can understand why the gaming community has a lot people who pull shit like this. It's filled with 30 year old virgins and cynical teenage twerps who rely on escapism to make up for their pathetic lives and so they think its ok to try to humiliate others instead of looking in the mirror at their own mediocrity. A little clue, its not ok. Dude gave me quite the laugh but he just seemed like a harmless hyped Shenmue fan. Like a kid in a toy store and I don't blame him for that. He made what would have otherwise been a pretty dry and boring 50 minutes kind of entertaining. This is why the gaming community is so pathetic. They are just games and you take this shit waaay to seriously. The kickstarter is doing fine btw. If you want to take something serious don't watch gaming news, watch world news and instead of bashing harmless and powerless individuals go full ham on corrupt politicians and corporations. Spend the time making the world a better place instead of harassing insignificant people you worthless twerps. Fuk.

I had the very same thoughts while watching the Q&A stream last night. Many and I mean MANY couldn't stand the circus act we were watching with Yu Suzuki. He's a game designer whom everyone greatly respect in the video game world. He comes back to the public eye after 14 years to give us fans the game we truly want. Are we suppose to just sit back and pretend that was OK? Joel acted like some court jester during the entire interview. He made a complete mockery of Yu Suzuki in front of a live twitch audience. I had to return the favor by creating this very topic.
by Ziming
Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:07 pm
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Re: Joel "red shirt" Tess Discussion Topic (Twitch)

The way the Q&A was handled yesterday was a debacle, that's for certain. However we need to come together as a community and bury it. Let's push forward for the sake of the Kickstarter, Shenmue III and Suzuki-san. At this point we can offer constructive criticism (there is another thread for the Twitch stream) and continue on with our own separate efforts.

I should not need to say this, but I will. We do not support or condone any form of personal attacks within this community. Let's carry on as we always have, positively and respectfully. That is the voice other parties will pay attention to, respect and trust. Thank you.
by Yama
Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:34 pm
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