It is hard to grasp that it has been over 14 years since Shenmue 2 came out and left us all with that cliffhanger in the end of the game. There has been a strong fan reaction for a third installment and Yu Suzuki stood at Playstation’s E3 stage to finally give fans what they have been asking for. Ys NET launched their Kickstarter campaign which broke funding records, cementing that fans are willing to give their hard earn cash in order to see a third installment of their favorite franchise. In this week’s Round Table we talk about how much we funded and why. You can let us know how much you funded in the comments below.
The moment I’d learned that Shenmue III had been announced, I joined Kickstarter and purchased the game, then only available digitally. As a SEGA fan whose Dreamcast days rank as some of my favorite in gaming history, Shenmue III was of course a game I’d never given up hope on, however much I wanted to.
I was both stoked and a little skeptical when I thought about the nature of its Kickstarter funding, but my mild skepticism with the use of Kickstarter for what should be such a massive game was something I’d brushed aside. Shenmue III was coming, and I didn’t care how it was being funded as long as the game we got lived up to its name.
I still stand by that opinion, and increased my donation to $60 to snag the PlayStation 4 physical copy when it became an option, something that I was happy to do. I feel that purchasing the game now, ahead of time, is a great show of support for Yu Suzuki and his team, as it will not only help get their game made, but will show my confidence in them to deliver something great.
I’m glad that the they felt $60 was a fair price to pay for the physical copy. I’d have paid more for it if I absolutely had to, though I feel that what I paid for it was the ideal and fair amount, and am glad that it worked out that way. This is, after all, a game we haven’t even seen a second of real footage from, and we have no way of knowing what this crowdfunded Shenmue will be like.
There are aspects of crowdfunding as a means to fund video gaming that I’m still not sure of, and it’s something that I hope is used mostly in extremely rare circumstances like this one instead of becoming some sort of industry standard. But in the case of Shenmue III, it clearly came through for them, and I’ll eagerly await what I hope will be another one of my favorite games of all time.
Barry the Nomad says:
As mentioned in our latest Swingin’ Report Show Podcast (shameless plug), Shenmue 3‘s announcement was the second to last thing I’d ever expect to happen as a SEGA fan. The first, obviously, being SEGA’s return to the console market. Having said that, over the past year Yu Suzuki seemed more and more hopeful that the game would become a reality thanks to fans beating him over the head with the idea to use Kickstarter. It really wasn’t until the day before the announcement that I started to believe again as fans began to notice some strange happenings on Suzuki’s Twitter page. Not only was he active once again, but some Sony higher ups had recently started following him and he appeared to be at E3 posting a photo of a forklift he spotted.
I’ll admit, I did not see Sony’s E3 reveal of Shenmue 3 live. In fact, I was watching Jurassic World at the time and just as (spoiler alert) the t-rex made its triumphant appearance in the movie’s final battle, my phone blew up with the news that Shenmue 3 was soon to be a reality. Now I will forever equate Shenmue 3 with a t-rex, and I’d have it no other way. Returning home from the movie, I ran to my computer to catch up on the news. After some careful deliberation, I went with the $60 tier then 15 minutes later bumped it up to the $100 tier because there was no way I was missing out on the trial edition.
As the campaign went on, I saw the several new tiers but sadly they were all in the $1k+ range. It’s a shame, because I would have gladly added another $25-$50 to my pledge if it meant more physical goodies. Sure there was the random capsule toy at the $125 level, but unfortunately there was no way to know what the quality was. The art book and t-shirt looked interesting, but knowing the collector in me I would never wear the shirt, and like the capsule toys, the art book just didn’t have enough information to get me to make the jump up to $175. Now that the campaign is over, I am more than happy with my pledge. The in-game phone calls to past characters is a great perk, and really owning the game is all I ever wanted. Though dinner with Yu Suzuki sure was tempting…
Ah, Shenmue, how do I love thee? let me count the ways; I love thee like Ryo Hazuki loves capsule toys, sailors and stone-washed blue jeans. I love thee like Fuku-San loves martial arts, piggy banks and sniffing farts. I love thee like that Ajiichi Chinese Restaurant guy loves Sodas he can’t afford. Basically, I love Shenmue!
My history with Shenmue is long and storied. When Shenmue was released I was 13 years old, but my love affair with the saga began even before that. Any news paper or magazine with so much as a fleeting mention of Shenmue would be eagerly snapped up and hooked out on School bus journeys, lunch breaks and any other spare moment. I talked Shenmue at length to anyone who would listen. In the evenings I trawled the internet with my 56k modem, searching for any morsel of information I might have missed. The night before Shenmue’s release felt like Christmas Eve, I was at my friends house and I couldn’t sleep for sheer excitement. The next day we skipped school, taking the bus to into town. We reached Woolworths that morning as the store clerk was stacking the shelves with brand new copies of the game in their sleek card sleeves. By the time we returned to my house I was feverish with both excitement and fear. How could this game possibly live up to the hype I had created in my own head? Had I set myself up for disaster? After all wasn’t this just a video game? The answer to all of those questions is no. It was and still is the pinnicle of my gaming life. A treasured moment in time. We finished the game in 2 days only stepping away from the Dreamcast to sleep and piss. Shenmue 2 was met with the same feverish excitement and only exceeded my expectations. Then SEGA left the console market and the rest is history.
Many moons ago, before Facebook groups existed, I ran a website; ShenmueCampaign.org (now defunct,) which was dedicated to reviving interest in Shenmue and drumming up support for Shenmue 3. It was mildly popular. In those dark days I turned my attention to collecting Shenmue games and memorabilia amounting quite a collection. My pride and joy being a copy of Shenmue signed by Yu Suzuki himself.
Like many of you I was watching that Sony press conference live with baited breath, hoping beyond hope. When the Shenmue 3 kickstarter was announced I did not record my reaction, and to be quite honest it would not have made good viewing if I had. I didn’t jump around, cry, throw my hands in the air like I just don’t care. It was more of a reserved moment of utter victory and contentment. It was late here in Europe, I lay on my bed with a smile from ear to ear and slept like a baby.
Now dear readers I must confess something to you: I am not a titan of finance! My contribution to the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter was never going to be a lofty one and for that I am sad. I have financial responsibilities which I barely keep up as it is. So I had to choose wisely when it came to backing Shenmue 3. Within the first day I pledged 100$. I wanted a physical copy of the game no matter what and my budget allowed for that little extra to get my name in the credits. By the end of the campaign I had pledged a further 60$ on a different account so that I could also have the physical copy for the PS4. For the next three months I will probably not spend another penny on a videogame and I couldn’t be more happy!
I must confess that I don’t have the same level of fondness as others do with the gameplay of Shenmue. It’s not my favourite game produced by Yu Suzuki, let alone one of my favourite game by SEGA. But what Shenmue to me is an ideal, principles and above all else, the crowning achievement of Yu Suzuki and I wholeheartedly mean it when I say there isn’t a game designer that compares to him. Suzuki has created not only some of my favourite games but helped produce one of my favourite gaming series in Virtua Fighter, if anything, funding Shenmue 3 was the very least I could do for a man who has given me so much joy. For that I knew I would back the project from the get go but exactly which reward would I put as my maximum? I had a long hard look at the reward list to decide.
Straight off the bat I knew I was going to donate at least $60, I felt if I was going to donate some cash into this project at the very least I was going with a minimum “pre-order” price. In the end I went double that, there was no way I could resist the memento of the capsule toy so dropped $120 in the project. However I was always tempted to drive up my pledge slightly more and get a hold of the artbook, sadly I was unwilling to go further. Without knowing the quality of the artbook, and especially at how Awesome Japan had conducted the campaign, I couldn’t push myself to move up my pledge any further and sat on $120 till the end. Still I feel happy that Suzuki has confirmed that PayPal donations will be accepted and hopefully in the long development run for Shenmue 3, I can contribute some more cash to help Suzuki realize his dreams.
I’ll be honest that I didn’t believe the rumors that Shenmue would be appearing at E3. It just has been so many years (a whole 14 of them at this point) that each year we had a ‘solid rumor’ about Shenmue 3 or Shenmue franchise being brought back and every year just leads to disappointment. My love affair with Shenmue began way back in the late 90 and early 00’s when I was trying to reason what made the Dreamcast worth owning. While many would point to the fantastic launch line-up of games, I always looked over the hill and one of the biggest (and baddest) looking games for the Dreamcast seemed to be Shenmue. I can’t describe how large the hype for this game was for kid George, but just like Sharky I would gather up ever bit of print media to read the latest details about Ryo and his engaging world. I remember I would be jealous that gaming journalist would have a chance to play the game before me and always envied them for it.
But now we know that the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter is real, we all know it was announced at E3 2015. So how much did I pledge for the game? I have to be honest, I pledged $100 dollars. I would have totally spent more money, I was willing to spend up to $300 dollars but renders and information about what the art book and capsule toys would end up looking like never got released. That’s just part of my pricinple, I have to see the basic idea of what an item is before I pledge money. We weren’t told what the artwork in the book would be, how big, or the quality (same goes for the capsule toy). I don’t regret spending $100 dollars on the game with extras and will most likely support the game with micro donations via their Paypal.
I invested in the $500 reward tier. When I first heard rumblings of a potential Shenmue 3 kickstarter last year, I promised myself I would give as much as I could to ensure it succeeded. $500 happened to be that magic number for me. Even as other tiers started rolling out, none of them really offered enough to convince me to go higher.
I’m also just happy with what the $500 reward tier offers. I get all the capsule toy figurines, a bunch of physical rewards like the physical game and soundtrack, the trial version, backer-only in game content…as a massive Shenmue fan it was the highest tier I could easily justify. The only thing they offered that I would have paid a bit more for is the jacket.
Overall, I’m just happy the kickstarter did as well as it did. Here’s hoping for continued success via the Paypal campaign!
I went for the $60 tier. Mainly because well, that’s the most I could afford at the time just coming off of Comic Con. I went for the PS4 retail version. I originally wanted to go for the $120 version for the capsule toys, but I just couldn’t afford it. I wish they’d allow Kickstarter to go on longer than a month.
I’m mainly just happy that Shenmue 3 will finally be a reality. It’s been not only an impossible dream come true for Yu Suzuki, but for Shenmue fans as well. However, this has to be the final chapter. It’s highly unlikely that he’s gonna get another chance at this so it’s time for him to wrap it up.Also, NO MORE “WHEN ARE YOU GONNA MAKE SHENMUE 3” COMMENTS!! WHOO-HOO!!