Forget about the day that the snow turned to rain – something even stranger is happening: Shenmue III is getting made for the PlayStation 4. It's been a whirlwind since the title was announced during Sony's press conference at E3 2015, but the crowd funding is now over – and a whopping $6,333,295 million have been raised. That means that the sequel now holds records for being both the highest funded and fastest funded video game in Kickstarter history.
While the title ultimately missed out on many of its more ambitious Stretch Goals, series creator Yu Suzuki has said that he'll do the franchise justice with whatever funds are accrued. We already know that Sony's contributing to the project, alongside various other investors, so we have confidence that the final product is going to deliver. The fact that developer Ys Net is focusing on just two formats for now should benefit it in the long run, too.
The success of the Kickstarter will be seen as redemption for many Shenmue fans. The series has been on hiatus for an agonising 14 years, with the cliff-hanger at the end of Shenmue II left unresolved for the duration of that time. It'll be interesting to see whether SEGA – who has no doubt been keeping a very close eye on this campaign – will be tempted to port the original titles to the PS4 following the success of the crowd funding drive. It seems likely to us.
Of course, while this is a moment for celebration, it's now time for the hard work to begin. Ys Net has attached a tentative release date of December 2017 to Shenmue III, and there's plenty to be done in the two-and-a-half years ahead. Early footage and artwork from the sequel has looked rough, so it's got a long way to go. Given the high-profile status of this property, however, it's going to be fascinating to watch it develop over the coming years. We'll, of course, be tracking it every step of the way.
Update (03:30AM BST): The Kickstarter may have concluded, but Yu Suzuki confirmed on a livestream this evening that PayPal funding options will be made available beyond this initial funding drive. As such, if you didn't get chance to pledge while the campaign was running, you'll still have an opportunity to contribute to the title's development.