Yu Suzuki: "I can make the whole game you imagined"

(Chapter 7 and beyond)

Re: Yu Suzuki: "I can make the whole game you imagined"

Postby WildManofBorneo » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:12 pm

KidMarine wrote: A significant portion of the money spent on Shenmue's development was in creating the engine and the tools that were so far ahead of anything else. The plan was to roll the engine out as a standard for future Dreamcast games, but that sadly never came to be.


The creation of an in-house game engine is expensive, though when compared to overall game development costs it is perhaps not as costly as one would think. When you look at custom engines (Capcom’s MT Framework, Kojima’s Fox Engine, Square Enix’s Crystal Tools, etc, ) these engines were typically created in about of a year’s time by small teams comprised of 8-15 software engineers.

Factoring in time and wages, I’d estimate costs to be somewhere in the range of $450,000 - $900,000.
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Re: Yu Suzuki: "I can make the whole game you imagined"

Postby killthesagabeforeitkillsu » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:37 am

Don't know about the other ones but the Fox Engine wasn't definitely made in a year.
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Re: Yu Suzuki: "I can make the whole game you imagined"

Postby shenmue852 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:18 pm

Fluffy90 wrote: Well it was a net-negative and wasn't there some crazy statistic out there that everyone who owned a dreamcast would of had to buy two copies of shenmue for it to of been profitable?

I wonder if Sega even intended from the beginning for Shenmue to make any money and instead was developed to be a shield to protect the dreamcast upon the looming doom of the ps2,how Yu managed to swindle so much cash out of Sega and keep the development going for 5 years is quite remarkable


they would have recouped most of the investment by Shenmue II and turned a profit by Shenmue III (hence the whole everyone would have to buy 2 copies thing. the budget was the groundwork for 5 games, not 1 game) had the Dreamcast not failed.

it's the failure of the dreamcast that brought the series down more than anything, because the game was supposed to be part of Sega's massive library of exclusive titles. for what it's worth, Virtua Fighter, the Sega Sports published NBA 2K games, Sega GT and other first party titles like Jet Set Radio and Sonic, were all industry leading games at the time in terms of innovation and critical reception. There were also a lot of innovative titles that, while not great, were certainly more unique than any other console's first party lineup, like Space Channel 5 and Seaman.

In the context of that suite of exclusive first party titles that dwarfed other console's first party exclusives, Shenmue was also an investment in the console itself. but it was just one out of many. it was not a hail mary pass or Sega putting all their eggs in one basket.


I don't think Shenmue was the one game that was supposed to save the Dreamcast. They didn't see the console's failure coming. I think that their calculation was, based on the assumption that the console would survive, that even if they were third behind Sony and Nintendo they would still be in the hardware market and it would be a strong addition to the console's exclusive library, and because it had a major industry company behind it rather than just a game developer, they could recoup the profit over 5 games instead of one, thereby creating a series on a bigger scale than anyone else could. which would have been an achievement both in terms of software project of its own, and the cachet it would bring to the console. Sega was in both the hardware and software business. but I doubt they assumed everyone who owned a Dreamcast would buy the game, or that it was the singular main attraction on the console.

basically, Shenmue needed the Dreamcast to be possible more than the Dreamcast needed Shenmue.

it had a good chance of being adopted by the fanbases of other consoles, (PS2 and Gamecube) had the first game at least been ported to another console.

by only releasing the second game on the Xbox, they fragmented the market multiple times- by region, by the majority of the dreamcast fanbase being more likely to have a PS2, and by the game already having been released on different consoles in Europe, Japan and the US.

if you look at every other Sega franchise and Dreamcast exclusive from that era, like Virtua Fighter, Crazy Taxi and Sonic all the games ported to PS2 and Gamecube did well, while the Xbox exclusives like Jet Set Radio flopped. i don't think it's an unreasonable assumption that neither Shenmue nor Jet Set Radio would have been flops on PS2 or Gamecube.



the strategy of trying to reach new fans with just the second game was the first mistake in trying to keep the series going after the Dreamcast, and this was made much worse by xbox exclusivity.

fortunately Shenmue III is on PS4 and Steam, and is releasing to a totally different market landscape for games, so at the very least it's going to do better than Shenmue II.

it's unfair to say that Shenmue was responsible for bankrupting Sega, because they were invested in developing and publishing so many big budget first party titles, way more than Sony Microsoft and Nintendo had, so Sega's strategy of investing extensively in software, perhaps at the expense of developing a more powerful console or making sure that other developers supported their console more, is a much broader issue of strategy than whether Shenmue was a colossal failure or not.

a look at the wikipedia article for the Dreamcast seems to bear out my theory-

"Sega spent US$50–80 million on hardware development, $150–200 million on software development, and $300 million on worldwide promotion—a sum which Irimajiri, a former Honda executive, humorously compared to the investments required to design new automobiles.[32][45]"

if shenmue was a failure, then so was every other Dreamcast exclusive. really the failure was the console's hardware and marketing. it was the weakest of its generation of consoles, and the extent of sega's software strategy, where they were investing heavily to be competitive in genres that other first party developers wouldn't go, like sports, ended up alienating EA which was a pretty decisive factor in the console ultimately failing to gain widespread popularity.

it turned out a lot of developers didn't want to have to compete with that many first party titles in a marketplace where the first party manufacturer is that deep into the software market, with that much of a competitive advantage in software development resources as well as marketing if they were going to invest in supporting sega's console. First party developers don't have to pay themselves royalty fees either, which also worked against developers' perception of Sega and the Dreamcast.

Nintendo had first party franchises that no third party developers really saw themselves competing against directly, Sony and Microsoft had only a handful of major first party exclusives- they opted for the more ultimately successful strategy of subsidising other developers' games in exchange for timed exclusivity.

if you're namco developing Tekken 4, you're probably not going to want to have to pay royalties to the company that makes Virtua Fighter 4 and still have to compete against that game when Sega has more resources than you and doesn't lose any profits on royalties. I guess this was the issue a lot of developers had with the Dreamcast, and with the level of investment EA needed with licenses for their sports titles, there's no wonder they didn't want to support the Dreamcast. Who wants to put money in their competitor's pockets when there's that much investment at stake?

Sega tried to take the best of Nintendo and Sony's approaches to the PS1/64 generation, but unfortunately the market trend away from the primacy of first party games and towards third party titles solidified with the PS2 generation and the Dreamcast had the wrong approach.

it's probably small consolation to Sega, but all that investment in software is also the Dreamcast has more of a cult following than any past console aside from the NES/SNES.

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Re: Yu Suzuki: "I can make the whole game you imagined"

Postby Sonoshee » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:14 am

shenmue852 wrote:There were also a lot of innovative titles that, while not great, were certainly more unique than any other console's first party lineup, like Space Channel 5 and Seaman.


Are you kidding? SC5 and its sequel were the epitome of great. I don't think I've ever played a music game that was ever on par with it, save for Rez. To succeed you really had to follow the commands given to the beat, without any flying coloured squares or whatever to give you help.
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