To wash the yucky taste of today’s big news story out of our mouths, let’s focus on something positive. Recently, SEGA has been hinting at an HD Shenmue 1 and 2 rerelease. Given the latest announcement of putting more focus on digital releases, Shenmue HD could become even more of a reality. As SEGA has yet to release an official announcement, we can do what Shenmue fans do best and speculate! This week’s Weekly Five will take a look at what we want to see in a Shenmue rerelease. Let’s begin, shall we? [insert sailor joke here]
1. Widescreen is a MUST.
I think SEGA learned their lesson with Sonic Adventure. If you’re going to rerelease a game nowadays, HD and widescreen should be the number one new feature. We’ve got these fancy HDTV’s, and games are able to show more on the left and right with a bit of code trickery. If you thought Shenmue was cinematic before, just check out the above video. Of course, there are glitches on the left and right, and the video uploader notes: “In this video you will see why Sega can not simply port Dreamcast games to PSN/XBLA with wide screen support. It is because the code of the game would have to be entirely rewritten to make it. The DC will only render what is in the 4:3 ratio and that is how the game is made.” However, I’m going to cry foul, because SEGA has proved that they can port Dreamcast games with widescreen support, as Jet Set Radio has shown. Whatever they did for JSR can surely be done for Shenmue.
2. No cuts.
Cuts are necessary when legal complications arise, but they suck. Just look at Crazy Taxi. Great game, but it just isn’t Crazy Taxi without the soundtrack. Jet Set Radio has been said to have 80% of the soundtrack. Good, but not great. Shenmue is a game that had better retain 100% of the content. No music cuts, no signs obscured. When the game was originally released in Japan, Coca Cola machines littered the streets of Shenmue. When the game released in the West, these machines were replaced with a faux soda. Aside from that, Timex and Zippo still appeared in the game, but they are far from being central to the gameplay and both could either return for some 2012 product placement or the logos could be replaced by no-name brands like Timey and Whippo. All SEGA references should be safe, as would all the music which was 100% SEGA made.
3. Shenmue 1 AND 2, please.
Shenmue fans may be used to waiting, but it would be awesome of SEGA to announce BOTH titles at the same time. No “we’re waiting to see the sales of Shenmue 1 HD before releasing the second”. We want both titles on day one. Last thing I’d want is a Shenmue 3 situation all over again, where we get the first game rereleased and never ever get the second. Better yet, have both titles play out as one massive story if you have both games on your harddrive. At the end of Shenmue 1′s credits, Shenmue 2 kicks off with Ryo arriving in Hong Kong. The Shenmue epic as you’ve truly imagined it!
4. Include the Passport
Ah the wonders of the Dreamcast modem. Back when Shenmue was on the Dreamcast, we had a fourth disc entitled “Shenmue Passport”. The passport not only allowed players to hear in-game music, watch cinematics and play the mini-games, it also allowed players to access Shenmue World. World was only accessible via going onto the internet, and it offered up an insane amount of information. You could read up on character bios and read about the many locations in the game. An area called “Everyone’s Space” offered up VMU icons and special collectables. “Data Review” let players know about every little detail of their adventure, from how many hours they’ve played to how many sodas they drank. Sadly, all this information was inaccessible after April 1, 2002.
Shenmue HD would be doing a great service to fans if this service returned. If not having it online accessible, have as many Passport features as possible embedded within the game’s file. The character and location bios, special collectibles, network ranking and Data Review section would make for awesome bonuses.
5. Shenmue 3, please.
I’m against bugging SEGA for Shenmue 3 when it isn’t the place to do so. If you’re on SEGA’s Facebook page and they make a post about Yakuza, don’t be a dick and say “Shenmue 3 please!” in the comments section. It’s just not the right place. However, if SEGA decides to rerelease Shenmue 1 and 2, they better prepare themselves for a slew of “Shenmue 3!” posts, and I think that asking for Shenmue 3 in the comments section of a Shenmue HD posting is 100% a-okay. If SEGA wants to give us the first two games, we are in the right to ask for the third. Let us speak not only with our wallets, but also our comments. Open up a Shenmue forum in the SEGA message boards, talk with fans, give interviews to Shenmue fan sites. Give the series some love by opening the doors of discussion again, and hopefully such an act will catch the attention of SEGA of Japan. Given the latest announcement of SEGA wishing to focus their physical releases on strong IPs, let’s let them know that Shenmue is a strong IP and in turn we just might see Shenmue 3. Maybe.