Wow, another wrinkle is added to the Shenmue saga today, as it’s emerged that full remakes of the first two games in the franchise were in production up until the end of last year. Digital Foundry has obtained footage of Shenmue I & II that’s different to the PlayStation 4 re-release we received earlier in the year.
The work in progress is closer to, say, Bluepoint’s efforts on Shadow of the Colossus, showing the same environments with significantly improved detail. All of the textures have been replaced, the lighting has been overhauled, and even the character models have been upgraded. There’s no actual gameplay footage so we don’t know how this version would have played, but the assets are way better all the same.
Unfortunately this version was cancelled, with the reasons for that remaining under wraps. We were generally happy with the ports of Shenmue that did deploy on the PS4, and there’s definitely a concern that this upgraded version may have changed too much of what made the originals special – but for a series with so much history, we suppose it stands to reason that a story like this should emerge.