Back in 1999, the Dreamcast was a revolutionary game console. Everyone wanted to get their grubby little paws on its 16 MB of RAM and overpowered 8 MB GPU. In addition, it connected online – if your parents could figure out how to hook it up. Despite its devout fan following, the Dreamcast’s destiny was to be discontinued after only two years on the market.
While Sonic Adventure and Power Stone were two of the Dreamcast’s most iconic games, Shenmue is the one game that will forever have a place in our hearts. For a game released in 1999, Shenmue’s attention to detail brought forth a level of immersion unlike anything else on Sega’s console. Hell, it was unlike anything else on competitor’s consoles, as well.
Yu Suzuki’s handcrafted world of Shenmue was the very first faithful video game incarnation of Japan. Complied with its heartfelt story of angst and revenge, with an open world populated with NPC’s complete with their own daily routines, it’s quite easy to see why Shenmue is so highly revered.
What many perceived to be the final nail in Shenmue’s coffin was the public’s reception of Shenmue II. Released in November 2001 on the Dreamcast in Europe and later on October 28, 2008 on the Xbox in America, the lingering death of the Dreamcast and poor Xbox sales resulted in Sega’s cancelation of future games in the series. Since then, Yu Suzuki’s story of Ryu had laid dormant, gone but never forgotten.
Thanks to the relatively recent boom in the popularity of crowd funding, Shenmue returned from the grave at Sony’s E3 2015 press conference with the target of the announced Kickstarter set at $2 million. Over the course of the Kickstarter’s 30-day lifespan, it has surpassed that meager target, instead raking in an impressive $6,333,295 – breaking the previous record in Kickstarter‘s video games category.
However, Shenmue III becoming the most successful video game Kickstarter in history was just the beginning, as Team Yu has since announced a PayPal campaign to further raise funds for the stretch goals that were unable to be reached by Kickstarter alone.
Shenmue III’s tentative release date is currently December 2016.