We were promised new Shenmue III information at Gamescom 2017 next week, and developer Ys Net has prefaced that with fresh artwork and news of a publishing partnership. Deep Silver – who seems to enjoy working with Kickstarter successes – has announced that it will publish the long-awaited sequel on the PlayStation 4 (and PC, pedants) when it releases both physically and digitally next year.

You may be wondering why Deep Silver is doing the honours, and not SEGA or Sony. Well, remember that the Shenmue brand has been licensed by SEGA to Yu Suzuki and his team, so it’s not really involved in the project at all – aside from, we suspect, taking a cut of the profits. Sony, meanwhile, mostly pledged marketing support to the game, so its relationship with the release is similar to that of, say, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice recently. So that’s why Deep Silver has been brought on board.

In addition to the publishing news, Ys Net has also released the first character artwork of Ryo Hazuki and Shenhua since the project was announced – and they’re still not looking great to be honest. The stern-faced protagonist looks a little more like his Dreamcast alter-ego we suppose, but we’re not a fan of his mysterious female accomplice’s design at all – she looks like a mannequin.

We suppose there’s still plenty of time for the studio to fix things up, though. Yu Suzuki will be meeting and greeting fans at Gamescom 2017 on both 23rd and 24th August in the general admission entertainment area. And we’re still honestly hoping the title may get a new trailer or something like that. What do you make of this new artwork? Do you reckon this publishing agreement makes sense? Search for sailors in the comments section below.