Yu Suzuki was interviewed in the latest Famitsu issue, isn’t it great having more and more Yu Suzuki content? This time around he talks about why Shenmue cost so much. Basically his team was an arcade team and they tried to do a game that wasn’t thought about before, on a console that they haven’t really worked on much.
“The main difference between open-world games and other types of games is the overwhelming size of them. Making all the endless objects that build up the world one by one, and portraying how the weather and time of day affects it all, requires massive amounts of time and manpower. “For example, if you enter a building, the room on the other side of the door doesn’t exist until the game generates it in the sliver of time when the player pulls the knob. We didn’t make every tree in town individually, either. There are a bunch of graphic resources for tree branches and leaves, and trees are generated mathematically based off of them. The NPCs in town are also independent — instead of giving unique motions to every single one, they all function independently based on road data and behavior pattern programming.” – Yu Suzuki, producer and director for Shenmue
Not to mention all the details that Shenmue had, which most had to be done by hand!