Shenmue III delayed to 2019

What should come as a surprise to nobody, publisher Deep Silver has announced that Shenmue III will be releasing in 2019, moving the release date from an unspecified 2018 date to next year. Deep Silver said in their statement, “The extra time will be used to polish the quality of the game even further, to the high standards it deserves and release the product in the best possible timeframe”. Yu Suzuki added “To all of our backers, we are very sorry for the delay. After much discussion with our partners, Deep Silver, we have concluded that extending the release will allow us to deliver Shenmue III at its best. We promise to use this time to improve the quality of Shenmue III. We cannot thank you enough for your enduring support.”

The extra time, in my opinion, is good news. From what little we saw of the game thus far it is clear that they do not have a game ready for a release in the next 7 months. To be honest, I was surprised the Kickstarter gave a December 2017 release date given the Kickstarter campaign was only announced in the summer of 2015. With development truly underway in 2016, a three year timeframe makes much more sense.

It also helps that SEGA is rereleasing Shenmue I and Shenmue II later this year, giving gamers a year to purchase and play both titles before the release of the third game.

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6 responses to “Shenmue III delayed to 2019

  1. DCGX says:

    I AM…not surprised at all. Despite what they have or have not shown, the game just doesn’t *feel* done.

  2. Vamphaery says:

    Indeed, I never expected the game to release in 2017, or 2018. Autumn 2019 would be four years since early prototyping, Holiday 2019 would be close to 4 & and a half. I feel that’s reasonable for a followup to a game of Shenmue I & II’s standards, and less would honestly be a risk. I’m just glad they got the necessary investment and publishing on board to make a “proper” game.

    I don’t know if people really understand the stages Shenmue III’s development has gone through to date, given the outcry I’m seeing about this delay. The original plan was for the game to be heavily story based, with minimal interactivity. Barely a “game” at all. They hoped for more, and gave stretch goals reflecting that hope, but it was assumed to be a pipe dream. Sony, contrary to popular myth, was never going to fund development of the game – only support publishing and distribution for the PS4 version, and possibly lend them some rudimentary dev assistance (essentially by loaning them dev staff if necessary on a very limited basis, and even that is officially unconfirmed.)

    The main development funding was coming from 1) Ysnet’s own money, 2) investments from Shibuya Productions and other unspecified parties, and 3) The Kickstarter itself. In the unlikely event that the KS succeeded wildly (which nobody expected it to,) those partners might or might not invest more, but the KS was critical to the game’s funding. When the KS took off and broke records, much to their shock, it meant they could develop a “real” followup to Shenmue I & II, a fully fledged game with all of the interactivity and immersion the first two were famous for. However, since the KS fell short of the ultimate 10 million mark, the game was still going to be somewhat limited and perhaps a bit smaller than people would have liked compared to the first two games. One official statement suggested it could be as small as Shenmue I, or one area of Shenmue II.

    But then, more recently, Deep Silver got involved, handling proper publishing duties and injecting more funding, staff, and team size into the project. The first inkling of the implications of this came in the form of the sheer number of NPCs being massively increased. (Just as one example.) So the delay isn’t only for polish, but also because the potential scope of the game as evolved due to Deep Silver sort of making up the shortfall that existed previously. Now there really is genuine hope of a TRUE Shenmue 3 that lives up at least to the first two games.

    And that definitely is not something that can be finished in the next 7 months. I would expect summer or holiday 2019… and POSSIBLY even ANOTHER delay to 2020, as much as that would anger some fans. I have a feeling this will be more worth the wait than it was already going to be.

  3. Neal says:

    To tie this into another recent topic, I wonder if the delay may open up ports of the game to other consoles. Since Shenmue 1&2 will be ported to Xbox One and PS4, I wonder if Deep Silver is considering an Xbox port of 3 (considering PC ports can be adapted fairly easily).

    But then I remember hearing, long ago, that Sony is involved with funding or publishing Shenmue 3? I don’t remember and I haven’t followed the development very closely.

    So basically I don’t know what I’m talking about but I’d love an Xbox One port of Shenmue 3.

  4. Axl says:

    OF COURSE! Take Your time Yu SUZUKI. SHENMUE deserve the best. it’s a small team small budget, so the more time it takes the more it will be Good!

  5. Hitrax says:

    I agree this is actually very good news, I’d rather give them the extra time needed to ensure it’s done right rather to rush for a deadline and forever lament what could have been if they had the time to make it properly, you can rush quantity maybe but you can’t rush quality, and this could allow them more time to gather even more necessary funds.

    I’m not surprised either, I knew they would delay it again, which is a good thing.

  6. mangahere says:

    They hoped for more, and gave stretch goals reflecting that hope, but it was assumed to be a pipe dream.

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