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.