A huge THANK YOU to everyone who took part in Thursday’s #SaveShenmueHDTweetathon, the second event since upgrading the hashtag from #SaveShenmue last month. Communicating the change across the broad network of global fans that made the Shenmue III campaign so organic and self-sufficient is an ongoing process, and we’re proud of everyone who’s helping to get the word out there. More and more newcomers are making the transition, and we expect to see that continue on October 3rd when we do it all again!
There is of course a chance, of arguable size, that 2015’s second landscape changing announcement will have taken place by then. All eyes are on the Tokyo Game Show, September 17th-20th, where Sega promises to begin making amends for betraying their older fans with an unspecified game announcement. Whilst it could easily turn out to be Sonic Boom: Werehog Edition, some look at the timing and the fact that Shenmue III’s production team will be represented at the expo and inevitably hope for a Shenmue HD reveal. We’ll offer the same advice we’ve always given before games industry events, whether it was last year’s GDC or this year’s E3: cross your fingers but don’t hold your breath. If it happens at TGS we celebrate; if it doesn’t we plough on until the job is done. No biggie.
Shenmue III is tentatively scheduled for a December 2017 release. So long as the first two games are made available on current platforms before then, it doesn’t matter when they’re announced. But Sega should know that fans have hardly been conditioned to give them the benefit of the doubt, and so we will continue to stress the need for them to do the most obvious thing in the world: #SaveShenmueHD.
The hype around Shenmue III, the highest funded video game in Kickstarter history, is naturally transferrable to the first ever re-release of Shenmue 1 and 2. For Sega, it’s easy profit – or rather, a perfect opportunity to recoup the investment they made back in the ’90s. Not only will fans of the series jump at the chance to revisit their fondest memories on modern hardware, but those who missed out the first time around are intrigued to discover what all the commotion’s about. Restoring these buried classics for a new generation of systems and gamers is a license to print money, off the back of the most warmly received sequel that gaming’s ever known.
And for us, the creation of new fans through the availability of the story’s origins makes it more likely that Shenmue III will sell in sufficient numbers to guarantee Shenmue IV, the probable climax to this epic saga. There will be no Kickstarter for the fourth game. Shenmue III has to shift product, and Shenmue 1 & 2 HD will go a long way toward ensuring that happens.
So we’re not campaigning for its own sake. We won’t switch to demanding Shenmue toiletries and animes once HD re-releases are greenlit. We’re pushing for this because it truly matters to the future of Shenmue, in securing the conclusion to the series that fans have been waiting for since the days of the Dreamcast. The fact that a retro console is still the only official medium on which to begin Ryo Hazuki’s multi-chapter quest and the magnum opus of Yu Suzuki’s legendary career is shameful, and a hurdle that must be jumped before any victory laps can be run by the gaming community.
#SaveShenmue was a revolution. #SaveShenmueHD is an evolution, and one that might gladly be nipped in the bud at the Tokyo Game Show. But if it isn’t, then we hope to see you and everyone you can bring along for the October 3rd Tweetathon. You can pledge your participation today at TeamYu.net/HD