The Shenmue Campaign



I don’t think anyone doubts Shenmue was made to sell millions , I bet it was also made to sell millions of Dreamcast consoles too .

I’m just saying I think a Multi Platform Shenmue III could sell upwards of a million copies . Weather or not SEGA could make the kind of Shenmue experience , players are looking and hoping for , from a game budgeted around to make a profit from a million sales , I really don’t know
You’re far more of bigger expert than me, to comment on these issues

[quote]Not even the first Shenmue sold a million copies in any territory, and that’s on a console with nothing but Sega fans. What makes you think a Shenmue 3 on a different console would do better?

I know , that why I said only a multi platform Shenmue III could hope to get up to sales of a million copies .
I look at Capcom , Namco all of whom had a rough time on the X-Box , yet now are enjoying some good sales ont he 360 , I think even the likes of Ninja Gaiden II is enjoying far bigger sales that its X-Box smaller brother .

MSR pretty much flopped on the DC, yet on the X-Box became a multi million seller , and sold in ok numbers on the 360 . I lot of DC games had a hard time , as SEGA name was mud , and most people seen the DC and SEGA as a has-been , who’s best days were behind them.

The last console version of the Alien Franchises (Alien Resurrection) was a complete flop despite benign a brilliant game , what makes SEGA so sure the next Alien game is going to fair any better ?

Sometimes game don;t work for all sorts of reasons , rather than people not wanting them.

Perhaps sell-in. Right now,[/quote]

Point taken

Not really. Would you rather have them speaking in Chinese accents[/quote]

To be honest they could be speaking Japanese and it wouldn’t have much difference to me. Its just really odd seeing eastern characters speaking in perfect western accents.
Like having Germans in WorldWar II films speak perfect English , it just really takes away the setting the game or film is trying to create (if that makes any sense)

Anyway I thought Jade was poor more down to it rubbish combat system and the Bioware Trade Mark bugs , and I really didn’t care much for the story or the main character either (bit of a killer in RPG’s)

The point is I just don;t feel in the 80’s or early 90’s America would have embraced Daggers quite like it did , it just wasn’t ready for that sort of film more so in the 80’s .

Hey that’s a lot better than those films would have done in thje 80’s , they would never have made into cinema in most cases

Yeah you right , but in the 80’s America and American directors just didn’t understand the one take , one camera angles deals .

Even if the poor USA Stuntman did the stunt in one take with no break always , in the final version you would see it from multi camera angles , making it look like the stunt was done at 3 diff stages .
Now I see in a lot of USA action films , them using a lot of the Hong Kong Style action and the Western audience now really expecting that sort of action


Well, keep in mind Shenmue was originally made to be selling Saturn’s and not Dreamcasts, back then it really would have been console defining. ;p

I sometimes half wonder if it was simply a “Well… we’ve started…” situation.

Although it has often been said, that in the past SEGA were more interested in making games than making money. I believe even once an employee said he was dumbfounded by how seemingly little SEGA seemed to be worried about their profits in an Edge RETRO issue.

SEGA Europe and America could have done a better job with marketing too. Sure, it was marketed… but the marketing itself was pretty un-captivating and I don’t recall seeing any TV trailers in the UK at all.

If I remember right, Shenmue 1 sold about 1, 200 000 units world wide. The PAL version of Shenmue II on DC sold about 550 000. Dunno about the Jap DC or Eur/Us Xbox versions.

Regarding voices, why would you be bothered by them speaking English with Canadian accents in China?
In the Japanese version they are speaking Japanese with a Japanese accent in China… that is far from authentic.


[quote=“Abadd”]Hahahahahaha. Sorry, you mean to tell me that devs, who already work 12+ hours a day, can do this “in their spare time” using company resources that haven’t been approved, for a console using dev kits that are likely being taken up by other projects, and somehow manage to QA the game with hourly-paid testers (…in their spare time? how does that work?) and for Marketing to somehow market the game “in their spare time” and it will somehow magically get made in 10 years?? You do realize that few people stay at the same company for more than 3 years, regardless?

Where there is a will there is always a way. You know that the original Fallout 3 will almost certainly be finished by fans eventually? Even some of the original devs are willing to lend a hand. I know it isn’t quite up to the same scope but the mere fact that it can be done proves the point, especially when a lot of the groundwork has already been done. As tech grows things become easier and easier. Where it would have taken hundreds of people to make a decade ago, it’ll take ten a decade from now. I see a lot of games in the future, at least in small-scale terms, being made by gamers for gamers (by fans for fans) as the tech becomes more and more user-friendly.

I used to dig the Baldur’s Gate 2 modding scene and some of the guys were so unbelievably smart I doubt there’s anything they couldn’t do given the means.

I’d rather see Sega try and make a Shenmue 3 project marketable of course, however. I just do not ever see it happening in this climate of fast food gaming. So it needs to try to fit into a niche market somewhere. I mean, play Shenmue 2 now and tell me it’s still not graphically impressive artistically even now.

As for personal taste, yep. Take Yakuza 1-2. Did they sell any less just because they were PS2 games that could have been soooooooo much more on even the Xbox or 360? Graphics have just reached that point where they don’t matter in some cases anymore. They are more defined by art and gameplay than raw 1s and 0s.

GTA4? Who hopes to compete with that anyway? The budget alone is the net income of some small countries. Lol.

I don’t have an exact sales figures source on Shenmue 2 other than what fans told me. All I know is it was one of the most imported games from Europe. Not releasing it for the DC stateside was a mistake when there was a decently sized audience there waiting to grab every last game they could. You didn’t need to go through mainstream retailers to sell a cult classic like that either as the importers showed.


TA - I understand your point. Yes, it would have a bigger chance of selling more as a multi-platform game, but the kind of game people would expect (open world, etc) would cost enough that would require multiple millions of sales. And even so, the original, which was hyped beyond belief, didn’t sell a million… which means that less than a million people even know the story in the US. Not sure someone would pick up a game that is already 2/3 of the way through the story.

As for Capcom and Namco, Capcom has done better on X360 than on Xbox because they are actually putting new and good content on it. Namco… well, they’re faring just as well on X360 as Xbox. And Ninja Gaiden 2 hasn’t surpassed Ninja Gaiden 1’s sales yet. It’s 560K to 420K right now, I believe. It will likely surpass after it goes Platinum, but only by a small margin, probably.

MSR flopped for a myriad of reasons. Microsoft simply marketed it much better than Sega did.

As for Aliens, I believe Sega is treating it as a classic IP (like Godfather) rather than a traditional movie license. Traditional movie license games live and die by the success of the movie (and it’s ability to inspire people to want to play the game). Classic licenses are more about reviving the experience.

And yes, western audiences have warmed up a little to kung fu movies, but you’re forgetting that Bruce Lee was huge in the west, and that was in the 70s. And while people may be more accepting of it, there simply isn’t any big demands for games set in 1980’s Asia.

Chizzles - The fact that Sega continued development after Saturn showed that there was still faith/belief in the project. It should have been just as console-defining on DC as on Saturn (and possibly even more so, given how much more money was poured into the project). And yes, sometimes it’s better to simply release the game to see how much money you can recoup, but you’ve already painted yourself into a corner by that point.

Every company is concerned with making money. Without making money, there is no company. But, back in the 1st party days, it was much more about expanding the library (thus attracting a bigger userbase). By growing the userbase, you grow the larger pool of users that will be buying games, thus earning the 1st party money in terms of royalties. So… in a sense, I suppose that’s true that the individual teams were less concerned about the profitability of each game, but every game creator wants their games to sell well - to reach the widest audience possible. There are few things more frustrating than making a highly regarded game that doesn’t sell.

On a side note - someone on the Sega boards suggested that “Sega should be willing to take a loss for a quarter to satisfy the fans.” I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous in my professional life. People actually think that Sega should take a loss - thus costing people their jobs? That’s… ridiculous.


I wouldn’t have high hopes for the F3 fan project Geoffrey (I haven’t even heard about it during my casual strolls through NMA). While the Fallout modding community is always active, in my opinion they rarely produced anything noteworthy aside from some custom quests. That’s far different to making a game from the ground up even if they would be using an existing engine and art assets.

I get what you’re saying though. Thankfully, many games are already made by gamers for gamers, just look at the healthy and active and growing indie scene. The husband and wife made Mount & Blade is probably the best example for the uninitiated but there are many just as notable games like Aquaria, Castle Crashers, Braid and even free games like Cave Story and Battle for Wesnoth, a grand example of the open source scene, though it’s mostly done by a core team also I guess.

I just don’t think indies have or will ever have the means for up to par cinematic experiences of the Shenmue caliber, or what we’d expect of a new Shenmue. Acting talent required alone will be hard to come by. Sure you can get enough talented fans interested in projects like Star Wars or Star Trek fan fiction but it’s different for what are essentially niche video game franschises. And hey I’m fine with it, I love the indie scene for what it does offer and they can offer deep and expansive experiences in their own ways (like in some of the examples in the previous paragraph), it doesn’t make them less important or able, it just restricts the type of experience they can offer in some ways.

With that said, I’m sure they COULD offer a worthy Shenmue fan fiction in terms of being a great adventure game with an interesting plot and, who knows, maybe even decent combat, but it wouldn’t be quite what’s achievable with gigantic budgets backing it.

Of course, I’m talking of fans, not Sega employees who would want to work on Sega games in their free time. Maybe some of the designers would be up for it, not many more though. And if they can’t have the assurance of the corporation backing their project, I doubt they’d be willing to invest their time and effort for some community project. I wouldn’t blame them for not having the will, it’s the sensible thing to do. Being selfish is human, few ever sacrifice anything for the good of others and I wouldn’t expect anyone to sacrifice anything much for something essentially trivial like others’ entertainment.


Ah well, hope springs eternal Alex! I don’t hold out much hope myself.

I’m looking at Silent Hill 5 right now which is basically being made by huge fans of the series. The fan community have gone mad over certain things, but it’s still being true to the series while staying in the realm of capturing the attention of non gamers. It’s just the way it has to be now.

That middle ground between casual and hardcore. I kind of think even that will go the way of the dodo after this generation in the mainstream sense.


This and that are two completely different things. On one hand, you have people working on an unofficial project for the hell of it. On the other hand, you have people asking Sega to officially make a game (on a closed platform, nonetheless), which you suggested Sega devs should do in their free time.

And the scope is exactly the point. If you want to make a mod based on an exisiting game and assets, that’s one thing. But to get the game on any of the new consoles would require a lot of new technology if you planned on reusing the engine (which is very outdated by this point).

Wrong argument for this. Yes, technology allows you to build tools to allow a single person to do much more as technology advances… but how many people do you think it takes to build those tools? And as technology advances, so do expectations of game quality and depth. There is a reason why games this generation cost 4~5x what they cost last generation. It’s the sheer size of the teams that are needed to make them.

And even if a usable engine for Shenmue 3 were available, the only way to do it in your suggested way is to completely reuse assets from previous Shenmue games… which do not support any newer technologies (specular mapping, normal mapping, etc).

At least within the confines that the engine set. You couldn’t say, suddenly make an FPS out of that engine. You’d be writing a whole new engine at that point.

Fast food gaming? Exactly what is meant by that? There are just as many great games coming out now as there have always been (except maybe on PC :P). And, pray tell, how do you fit an open-world game into a niche market? And no, Shenmue 2 is not still graphically impressive. Artistically, yes, I agree that it is impressive. But the 3D looks old - no dynamic lighting, flat texturing, horrendous pop-up, blocky animation, etc.

In the west, yes, they did. In Japan, nobody really cared about next gen, because there was waning interest in traditional gaming in general to begin with. And the fact that the game consoles were extremely expensive. But I’m not even sure what you’re arguing for, anyway. Are you saying that Sega could release it with DC level graphics and it would sell?

Sure. But that’s the gold standard. And you don’t even need to go anywhere near their budgets… regardless, building an open world game is EXTREMELY expensive and a very, very complex task. There are very few teams in the world that can do it well. Doing it for, say, under $20M~$30M would be impressive.

“As the importers showed.” Importers haven’t shown anything, as there is no indication as to how many units were actually sold to importers. And non-mainstream retailers have a limit to their reach and how many units they can actually sell. When you go through smaller chains, there are less actual stores, meaning that less people have access to them.

edit: Just read Al3x’s post… I have nothing to add in response, other than that I agree with you 100%. It’s one thing to have a fan-made fanfic, but to do something that will meet people’s expectations for a Shenmue 3 would require enormous resources. Sure, some of the original devs may be able to lend a hand on occasion in their spare time, but you can hardly expect an entire team to dedicate their personal lives to creating a sequel for the better part of the next 10 years. It takes years just to make a game full time. To make an open-world game in your spare time would take ages.


WoW’s graphics are 4+ years old. They were old when they were new. They are ageing compared to today’s standards, yet the art still captivates millions of people. Style over substance.

So yes, it doesn’t “need” to be brought up to the same standard as GTA to bring the style and gameplay across adequately enough to still capture an audience with its unique style.

The only way I ever see Sega funding it is if it could be done very cheaply, but at the same time, remained a quality experience capable of reaching a decent audience. That’s not going to happen on any next gen console. So that leaves fans hoping for the impossible.

I don’t understand why you’d be against the idea of taking a cult classic and trying to bring it to a bigger audience. It’s not like Shenmue 2 was terrible. Instead we see Sega investing millions into total failures. But that’s fine?


WoW was top notch when it came out and for a while after. The graphics are showing their age, but they reached critical mass with that game. If they had released a game with graphics looking like the original EQ, it would not have been a success. Guaranteed.

As for Sega throwing “millions away,” yes, bad decisions have been made. As well as good decisions. The key is trying new things until you find success. Shenmue had its chance and for better or worse - whether it was the game, the marketing, etc) - did not succeed. The question comes, then, to whether or not Sega should risk putting millions more into that failed franchise, or should that money and effort be spent trying something new that may have a better chance of succeeding.

We aren’t talking about reinventing Shenmue. Fans simply want the final chapter - and they have every right to want it - but trying to make a huge hit out of a final chapter in a story that the majority of gamers don’t know doesn’t really make sense.


Well, I have to say I disagree with at least the notion that it’s the story that stops it from being accessible by newcomers. Look at the Metal Gear series, all of it is heavily tied to past games but that doesn’t mean new gamers can’t enjoy it. Metal Gear Solid was many gamers’ first and it was a success.

It’s nice to know the backstory and I’m sure all the Zanzibar mentions were neat for older fans but for the rest (like me), mentions like that simply gave the impression there were things outside what they could see which is always a GOOD thing. It makes the world that much more real when you can see, even in subtle ways, that it exists outside what you see during the gameplay. Having past games to draw from always helps.

Yes, the story in Shenmue is more heavily tied between the chapters, but I think the same principle can be applied, as long as they can convey the feelings and motives of the characters properly. Joy warmly greeting Ryo will be easily accepted by old timers and new comers alike without having to reintroduce her with a fancy cut scene like they did in Shenmue 2 and that can even help the game in being more cinematic. Not every important character has to have his own 5-10 second introduction scene, some casually interact to show you there is a past with them, not to miss it or wish to see it, but to make the characters and story more real. Come to think of it, many characters were introduced subtly like that in the original game, though cheesy direction often took over.

Certain important aspects can be underlined in the game in various ways. Phone calls to characters, subtle clues like photographs on a desk, maybe a journal. Ryo could have a nightmare of his father’s death, showing the intensity of the situation to people who never experienced the original without making it tiring for old timers since it makes sense that it is still in Ryo’s mind, it’s the main reason for his whole quest. It’s certainly less tiring than watching the Shenmue movie when all you want to do is play, and it can be just as powerful as the original experience if properly directed. I guess Ryo has to be a little more emotional than presented in the first game, heh. I see.

I think it’s an effective story telling technique that you learn more of the story and even back story as the game progresses, rather than have it all spelled out in the beginning or in a previous game you may or may not have access to, even if the characters obviously appear to already know what is happening. Isn’t that effectiveness the reason the whole amnesia aspect is so overplayed? I guess some developers just don’t see you can have the same effect without an amnesiac character. The character can act normal and know the story already, but only show it to the player at appropriate times as he progresses, in subtle ways instead of spelling it out for him in obvious cut scenes. That again helps make it more real in my opinion.

Of course they don’t have to call it Shenmue 3 either, Shenmue alone would be enough, or maybe come up with something reffering to the plot like The Phoenix & Dragon Mirror so that newcomers don’t know they’ve missed past episodes. I would just hope the supernatural wouldn’t be taken in the direction seen in Shenmue Online, heh.

I think Geoffrey has a good point about visuals, they don’t have to be cutting edge to present a good, marketable game and making it for the Wii would certainly require a lower budget than making it for the other systems while they could possibly use many Dreamcast assets and spice them up a little via having them as part of a larger world, better lighting techniques, more populated areas, less graphical glitches, better camera angles, less stiff controls and animations, a more seamless world, more consistent quality levels throughout, etc. Substance and polish more than anything else.

Of course, that would still require a large budget and support from the company. Besides, Yu would have to work on it and he’s one of Sega’s biggest guns that would have to occupy his time with it instead of other projects. Even so, this large budget would be much smaller than if the game was to appear on the 360 or PS3 where people would probably (unrealisticaly) expect Virtua Fighter 5 level visuals for every single character.

Also, WoW’s visuals really were never top notch in terms of the amount of polygons and the size of the textures used per given object (some would say it was barely an improvement over Warcraft 3, an early 3D RTS!) and other such technical terms, they were however looking great thanks to the artistic design and the consistent level of quality and polish which is, I think, Geoffrey’s point. The game however, thanks to its scale, did require a gigantic budget and a lot of time, probably only worth it thanks to the subscription based model they were to use, so it’s not the best example.

But imagine what kind of budget you need for a game this large with today’s top level graphics. It seems impossible to create for any studio, perhaps even Blizzard themselves. If they were to make it for the Wii however, it would seem far more possible since the visuals would remain more or less on the same level without people thinking it is “ugly” or something along those lines. That’s the kind of comparison that was attempted I think. Not to say Sega can make a “cheap game” but to say Sega can make a “cheaper than today’s top standards” game without downgrading the experience.


[quote]The key is trying new things until you find success. Shenmue had its chance and for better or worse - whether it was the game, the marketing, etc) - did not succeed. The question comes, then, to whether or not Sega should risk putting millions more into that failed franchise, or should that money and effort be spent trying something new that may have a better chance of succeeding.

We aren’t talking about reinventing Shenmue. Fans simply want the final chapter - and they have every right to want it - but trying to make a huge hit out of a final chapter in a story that the majority of gamers don’t know doesn’t really make sense.[/quote]

I’m not so sure about that mate, I mean most DC games had a hard time , even the SEGA ones , and by the time Shenmue II came along the DC was dead on its feet and we had that dreadful deal with Microsoft, that peed off a lot of the DC fans in the USA , and a deal that never worked out as all we got was a inferior port, that took long to come out and MS did next to nothing to push .

Shenmue II was a good game , a quite brilliant game that fixed all the problems of the 1st one and really went to town on giving gamers a believable RPG , and one hell of a ride . Disc 3 was stunning and disc 4 like I said quite unlike anything I experienced before in videogames .

How well did Elder Scrolls sell on the X-Box ?, Not as good as Oblivion on the 360 I willing to bet , and that games shows you can make a full on next gen experience with hundreds of characters and open work that doesn’t cost 70 million .
Where it can work and sell on consoles , even though for most console players, they’ve never played any in the previous series or that style of game before . I suspect Fallout III will do ok on the 360 , yet may inducing myself , never even knew about the Fallout series before hand , much less played them

Games like Jet Set Radio had their chance , and to a point so did Panzer . But I don’t know, there’s such a calmer for Shenmue III that maybe it ‘could’ just work .

What ever the case SEGA does need to do somthing , You go to most gaming forums and SEGA name is nothing , its not much in the mainstream press either , for most people until SEGA make a Daytona III , Shenmue III SEGA is dead and means nothing , or until SEGA at least makes a AAA Sonic game

I lot of that is unfair, and people looking over SEGA can’t even use stuff like the Daytona name , or the fact that SEGA had produced or published some top games lately , but SEGA while its sales are up, its not getting the press coverage it once was (even when it was 3rd party) is not getting people on the forums ect talking Oh That’s a SEGA game and a game only they can make , These days SEGA isn’t pleasing its own fans half the time

Yes us nerds can highlight the likes of VF5, VT III, Yakuza III, Val as quality In-House games, but to many (even the SEGA fans) they want more and SEGA sucks .
SEGA should look at some of its old IP and try a update as well as making new games , but some of the IP SEGA chooses to update is unbelievable, Untill Camerlot make the Shining series again , the fans won’t be pleased (so why not look at PS or Saga ) , even with the faithful there’s little call for a new Golden Axe
If SEGA going to make that sort of game, then why at least not use the Streets Of Rage IP , even using that name sales these days would be small , but a hell of a lot better than Golden Axe I feel , and was they any need for NiGHTS II ?, a game like Burning Rangers, is a fall more better prospect , as you can do more with the game ( Online co-op ect) and the Hardware was really holding the game back


I’d be quite happy with a “Golden Sun Tactics” game on the Nintendo DS or Wii. The Shining Force series (as it was) is more or less dead now and as you say it’s a Camelot game that the fans want. Nintendo have asked Camelot to make a new Golden Sun game, and they’ve expressed interest in making a new Shining Force game as well. I can see fans lapping up a Shining Force style game set in the Golden Sun world, if only Camelot would make such a game.


But would Nintendo want a Golden Sun Tactics when they have their own Fire Emblem series? If they intend to make another Wii game that is, their last one wasn’t as good as it could have been, but they’re still not giving up on the series since they have another upcoming DS title.


Do we actually know how much money was invested into the Saturn version of Shenmue by that point? It would be interesting to see how much money was spent individually on each revision of the game from Saturn through to the Released build.

Every company is concerned with making money. Without making money, there is no company.[/quote]

I am aware of that, however when you have ex-employees expressing their absolute disbelief at SEGA’s lack of regard for their finances over games in issues of EDGE should that not send alarm bells ringing at how SEGA was actually being managed as a company?

“They knew games, but they did not know business”

As for re-using assets from Shenmue I and II, I see that being plausible if the game were released on a low-power platoform such as Wii or PSP.

It would be quite possible to open up the models and rip the geometric data and use it as a base for adding additional surfaces and enhancing them slightly - if I remember right several Dreamcast models have actually been ripped for use in the HL2 engine by fans (Ulala, etc).

It would of course be a lot easier if SEGA still has the resources from whatever software they used to create the models in the first place… although knowing SEGA it is probably sitting in a skip somewhere with cockroaches swarming around it.


Yeah that’s a good point. I’d argue that Fire Emblem and Shining Force are quite different games, but Nintendo might not see it that way.

While Fire Emblem is purely a tactics game, Shining Force is a tactical RPG with walking around sections which makes it appeal more to the traditional RPG crowd who would play a game like Golden Sun. It’s almost a merger of the two genres.


Why not a Golden Sun Tactics? It’s not like there’s a heap of strategy/RPG titles on the Wii to choose from. Anyone who was interested in Radiant Dawn would undoubtedly pick up a Golden Sun Tactics as well. Fire Emblem would hardly be fighting for the spotlight considering it’s a niche series that has a devoted fanbase. It’s like arguing that Nintendo wouldn’t want Sonic because it’d compete against Mario.


Got to be millions , the DC version cost SEGA 20 million (just for the Jp version) but the Shenmue Project in total up to part II cost SEGA 70 million . So its got to be a lot :slight_smile:

Ex employees ? That’s the late great Isao Okawa , and Shenmue happened under his watch too .

You might has well make just make it on the DC if we want to cut costs so much . A PSP version would fall flat on its ass, and the system just isn’t up to it , or the game its self wouldn’t be enjoyable on hh imo

And I think most of the Shenmue fans would want Shemue to be on the next gen , and have levels of GFX and sound up to the standards of Oblivion ect .

I do wonder how much it would cost though, I should imagine almost all of the story and character world designs is done , SEGA just needs 30 million to model the dame think :slight_smile:


I don’t believe I ever said a PSP version wouldn’t fall flat on it’s ass - I was just saying that low-power platforms might me the only financially viable option for the game should it ever happen. Which SEGA have implied will happen eventually… just not yet.

I personally would settle for Shenmue III as a book or playscript for all I could care. I just want to see what happens in the ending :anjou_sigh:


No idea what this game is but it sure could have been a Shenmue PSP:

So, yeah, I’d rather a new Shenmue was on Wii so that at least visuals could be of the same quality as on the Dreamcast, with all possible improvements, but this does look pretty neat, any idea what game it is?


That looks like a pretty cool game, it knows a lot about fighting and doesn’t afraid of schoolgirls.

I’d be buying that straight away if I knew what it was called.