Shenmue 3 developer Deep Silver confirmed today the game will not release this year as originally planned, but at some point during 2019. The news surfaced via a succinctly worded post on Deep Silver’s website, which explained that ‘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 time frame.’ We suspect the announcement is to manage expectations and make it clear of the game won’t feature at this year’s E3.
Shenmue 3 was announced way back at E3 2015 in parallel with a Kickstarter page that managed to rake in a whooping $6,333,295 from nearly 70,000 backers, heralding it as the most successful Kickstarter ever for a video game. Shenmue 3 even cemented itself a berth in the Guinness Book of Records as the fastest fully funded project of all time, taking a mere nine hours to reach it maximum milestone.
As development progressed, the game was initially scheduled for release in December 2017, but was delayed to the second half of this year. Yu Suzuki, Shenmue 3’s director, justified the delay by stating that ‘by utilizing new technologies, we have been able to discover new possibilities and expressions. In many ways, the game has become bigger and more beautiful than I initially expected. We do, however, need more time to deliver the game to you.’
As for the game itself, Shenmue 3 will be an open ended affair leading off from the events of the series’s second title, released over 17 years ago, and putting you once again in control of protagonist Ryo Hazuki. The idea is to have other Shenmue games in the future, with Suzuki stating he plans to have four to five games make up the series, though there is enough material for eleven titles.
We can’t say we are surprised by the delay. In the meantime, Sega is releasing definitive editions of Shenmue 1 and Shenmue 2 this year on PC, PS4, and Xbox. Expect scalable resolutions, improved graphics, and an optimized UI for starters.