Shenmue Problem by (Bertie Wiseman)


Shenmue Problem by Bertie Wiseman

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In light of the Shenmue postmortem, one of the many display images that has got the attention of Shenmue fanatics is the “(VF) Virtual Fighter chapter-map” which shows currently where all the chapter’s take place in the possible Shenmue universe,  it has been noted that Shenmue is (16 chapters long) and  we have only experienced  five chapters in the Shenmue saga, which leaves another 11 chapters to go.

The first two games all together cost £70 million based on 5 chapters in 2000

Now this is my problem with Shenmue


I am guessing that Yu Suzuki currently want’s to finish the series in his vision and scope, my theory is that Yu Suzuki is trying to create the movie equivalent to James Cameron film: “Avatar”.

This creates allot of problems and could be the reason why Shenmue fans have waited so long for (Shenmue III), Yu Suzuki is trying to create the most epic game that he’s envisioned and doing everything possible in order to create that vision that many gamer’s have experienced in Shenmue I & two.

It’s well and true the first Shenmue game was the most ground breaking event in gaming history to come out in 1999, but this could also be the reason holding the game production back and why companies like Sega and Sony will not risk taking on such a feat of a project that is the Shenmue Saga.

Mark Cerny has talked  to ‘Fan’ at GDC: Game Development Conference and said:  Yu Suzuki and himself are looking to find suitable investor’s which is also one of the reasons why Yu Suzuki is at the games conference show.


Check out what Mark Cerny said regarding funding and finding investors:



Mark Cerny Quote


 “It’s not easy finding publishers who want to give big money for a project like Shenmue”



My theory is that Yu Suzuki is looking to complete Shenmue in it’s most complete form, I am little worried this could also be holding the Shenmue Saga back.

If you add the last chapters of Shenmue story the final cost is around £140 Million give or take based on early 2000 economical model.

It has has been said that Shenmue is Yu Suzuki main priority,  He’s well aware of the fan base and the support behind the game the impact it’s had on many gamer’s, even so who is going to risk funding such a project? and is this the best option for Shenmue to continue?

Maybe it might be better to have all the chapters in one game at a more reasonable development and publishing cost.

I know people say GTA V game cost the same trouble with that is the GTA gaming series is aimed to masses and the lowest dominator’s which unfortunately are more than happy to buy game’s based on (crime, sex and drugs).

Shenmue is a different experience all together it’s precisely this reason why gamer’s want Shenmue, in a way you could possibly argue that GTA series and Shenmue have some surface similarities both being open world type games and action based.




Yu Suzuki did try and  get people away from the RPG genre with the tag:




“Full, Reactive, Eyes, Entertainment” 




The Armchair view why Shenmue failed:


Failed because it did not sell enough copies


This statement is wrong to a degree it’s the most missed understood statement and it annoy’s the hell out of me, this is not entirely true as too why Shenmue failed and to be honest the reason why Shenmue failed  has allot of similarities with AAA games that failed in 2013 E.G “Tomb Raider: Reborn” and “Dead Space 3”. Both are amazing games but because they did not sell enough copies to make them as profitable turn-over for the publishers that invested in the games, and both being high budget games means they failed to reach the predicted target set out by the publishers. This is the exact same thing that happened to Shenmue in 2000 but there’s  more to it.

It’s not  known how Shenmue would be received by the masses as it’s first awakening on the (Dreamcast) was cut short due to Sega backing out to to early in the console market due to financial problems company were having in 2000 but the Dreamcast left a legacy that has not been matched in quality of first party gaming and is symbolized as the greatest  console that  went out with a bang.

So far there is no real data model is available to clarify if it  Shenmue would be a (Mass hit or a mass flop), due to the poor install base of the Dreamcast and “Shenmue I ” not being ported along with Shenmue II on the Xbox but the support by the fans in 2013 and 2014 with the support of the many gaming groups and social networking sites has shown the fan base is probably the strongest of any game series out there.


Yu Suzuki does have some options…


It’s has been theorized and could be a first to have multi-investment for Shenmue with funding programs like kick-starter and crowd funding.

Selling the chapters as individual games which should see the development cost drop per game, I think could be the best option and possibly the only option for the future of Shenmue as single chapters could cost around £14 million each. I find to be the most realistic way of funding Shenmue and will give better idea over time how Shenmue will be received by the public and gamers alike.

All ready on next-gen we have seen something like this work with: Metal Gear Solid: Project Zero which sold part of the game in demo format to fund extra development of the final game. If this could work for Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zero why not Shenmue.


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