For those who’ve only seen the original article (and other sites quoting it), here’s what Sega Europe actually said, in full, about Shenmue 1 & 2 re-releases…
Now that the dust has settled around yesterday’s confusion, we’re feeling confident enough to post the facts about Marketing Week’s interview with Sega Europe marketing director Jon Rooke.
By now you’ve probably seen a few different news outlets running with the story that Sega’s “exploring ways to re-release” Shenmue 1 & 2. But as always, it’s worth looking a little harder at the source of this information.
In his Marketing Week article (tinyurl.com/mwshenmue), Thomas Hobbs wrote:
Listening to fans remains key to Sega’s strategy. For years hardcore gamers have called for Sega to release a third title in the Dreamcast’s Shenmue series, which is set around a teenage martial arts expert in rural China.
But their pleas were repeatedly ignored until earlier this year when its original developer Yu Suzuki unexpectedly announced a $2m kickstarter campaign in order to get Shenmue 3 finally made after Sega handed him over the license. The hugely popular campaign ultimately raised over $6m and became the sixth most funded campaign in the crowdfunding website’s history.
“Yes, we want to innovate and back smartphones and virtual reality but our key purpose is to go back to what the brand used to stand for and I think the buzz around Shenmue 3 shows that people love our legacy,” adds Rooke, who says Sega is exploring ways to re-release the original two Shenmue titles.
Hold the phone, wait – what? “Sega is exploring ways to re-release the original two Shenmue titles.” That’s quite a bombshell to casually drop in a marketing industry article that went unnoticed by gamers for two weeks after publication. Strange, but certainly welcome.
Soon however, conflicting stories began circulating over whether this all-important line was even in the article, which was hidden behind a registration wall and a broken login page. A mirrored copy of the article appeared to omit this line, and people who had seen the original began claiming it had since been edited. Bloggers were confused, forums were confused, mainstream gaming media sites were… happy to just print their excitable headlines and forget about it. In short, the matter had stirred a certain amount of chaos amongst the fanbase.
We contacted the editors at Marketing Week and confirmed that the article had not been modified at all in the past week, and it is now publicly readable for non-registered visitors. Meanwhile the helpful Chakan of the SegaFans website (tinyurl.com/sfshenmue) contacted Thomas Hobbs to clarify his wording. Here’s what the article’s author had to say:
When I asked about Shenmue being remade, I was told “There are lots of opportunities for legacy titles. We are exploring. We know what fans want as they have a petition.”
If we’d all read this quote in its entirety before Thomas’s indirect summary of it, would we have taken it as anything more than the standard non-committal fare that all games companies reply with whenever put on the spot about commonly requested IPs in their back catalogs?
Given that he wasn’t writing for a gaming website, Thomas didn’t expect his paraphrasing about this particular pair of games to be so significant, so we’re glad that he took the time to clarify when asked.
Now what does this mean for Shenmue 1 & 2? Probably not a great deal. But it does mean you’re being heard. Precisely how hard Sega will try to bring these iconic titles onto modern platforms may depend on the persistence of gamers’ demand, so we urge all fans to sign up and pledge their support for the monthly #SaveShenmueHDTweetathon, petitioning Sega to turn empty sentiment into a visible commitment:TeamYu.net/HD
The ability for newcomers to the series to catch up on the first two games will make a huge difference to the sales of Shenmue III, which in turn will determine the fate of Shenmue IV, where the story’s conclusion awaits. So if you want to secure Shenmue’s future, act now to restore its past.
The next Tweetathon takes place a week from today, on Tuesday, November 3rd. Let’s keep this game on Sega’s minds until their actions speak louder than their paraphrased words.