Much like protagonist Ryo Hazuki’s neverending quest for revengeance, SEGA legend Yu Suzuki will seemingly never give up on the fight for Shenmue III. Asked yet again about the overdue sequel during an event in beautiful Barcelona last week, the Super Hang-On designer declared that he’s ready to make the game whenever the right opportunities should arise. Adam Boyes, you know what you need to do.
Interestingly, the industry veteran touched upon what kind of improvements we could expect should the sequel deploy on modern hardware such as the PlayStation 4. “Well, graphics and sound have progressed very much,” he explained, “but especially the capacity of the CPU treatment has made very much progress, so I think that it's the main point now in advance; how can we introduce artificial intelligence so that the playability of the game can get better?”
The first two Shenmue titles were already incredibly forward thinking in that regard, with non-playable characters going about their daily business, sweeping the outside of store fronts at closing times, and bumping into each other outside local hot spots. It’d be interesting to see how the added horsepower of Sony’s super machine could better lend itself to Suzuki-san’s ambition of creating a truly living virtual world.
The luminary concluded that should the sequel ever get made, he would likely need a fourth instalment to wrap things up properly. “So, I have made until Shenmue and Shenmue II, but I have prepared until [Shenmue] 11,” he laughed. “If I want to continue the game, it will take a long time, because I have nine chapters left. I think that I will have to change that construction composing the chapters, by [spreading] many in two or three parts.”
The series has been a constant source of speculation among Sony fans, with photos of PS4 lead architect Mark Cerny sharing an embrace with Suzuki-san last year. The platform holder itself has acknowledged the pent-up passion for the property paraded by fans, while Microsoft has mentioned something similar about its own followers. Alas, the chances of a sequel ever getting made are still slim to none – but we remain hopeful that a high-definition port of the originals will arrive one day.