Exclusive: Shenmue 3 Ready for Next-Gen

Amazing revelations as Sega's mythical sequel prepares for reality on next-gen platforms. It's nothing to do with the newly announced Ryu ga Goto Ku from Toshihiro Nagoshi. It's AM2 - and it's back, with Shenmue 3.

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For years, fans of one of Sega's most celebrated series, Shenmue, have waited and prayed for news of a sequel - a third instalment that would supposedly conclude the epic story, avenging the death of Ryo's father with the demise of arch villain Lan Di. Today, Kikizo has good news for them - Shenmue 3 DOES exist, and IS planned for release.

Under conditions of strict anonymity, sources close to the development of Shenmue 3 revealed to Kikizo that the project has essentially been close to finished and 'ready' for some time - but in hibernation, pending a deal for the entire series on at least one next-gen console. Kikizo's source is authentic and reliable.

And it may come as a surprise that Yu Suzuki, father of Shenmue and perhaps Sega's most famed game creator, has had very little involvement with the project, bar the original story, which remains in tact. Those are the facts - now let's take a look at everything in more detail.

Most devoted followers of the Shenmue series will remember that the first Shenmue, released on Sega's Dreamcast console in Japan at the turn of the millennium, contained the first "chapter" of Yu Suzuki's opus, while sequel Shenmue 2, first released on Dreamcast and later ported to Xbox, contained chapters 3-6. The second chapter supposedly consisted of Ryo's boat journey to Hong Kong, and was unceremoniously skipped.

AM2 had previously gone on record in 2003 to say that the remaining chapters 7-16 chapters would be included in a current-generation Shenmue 3 - but we can reveal that last year, that ceased to be the plan. Our source confirmed that there was very nearly an announcement for an Xbox Shenmue 3 at last year's E3 show in May - which makes sense considering AM2's Shin Ishikawa (who was in charge of Xbox Shenmue 2) had promised at the start of 2003 more Shenmue for Xbox, back when it seemed the system's popularity could still come back in Japan. But, because of poor sales of Xbox Shenmue 2, the deal behind that announcement with Microsoft fell through, and for a while, Shenmue 3 was indefinitely shelved.

Since then, the new plan for Shenmue has been to include the whole series - chapters 1-16 - on at least one next-generation console, although whether or not that would be in one standalone game is not yet clear, and therefore neither is the title "Shenmue 3", ultimately. However, what is certain is that the game, or games, are theoretically complete and ready to be ported to Xbox 360, PS3 or Revolution, depending on a deal with one of the hardware manufacturers - although it could just as easily end up as a multiformat next-gen release. Our source explained, "it will depend on a hardware manufacturer deal - if they get a profitable deal it will be exclusive to one format, but, if it makes more sense, it might be worthwhile [to release] on multi platform. The options are still open."

The latest twist in the Shenmue tale at SOJ

But why "all chapters"? Why go over what we already know from Shenmue 1 and 2? Says the source, "it is considered that many players will not have played the first two games, so this would be a complete product." We'll admit to being a little confused about how that's going to work. But nonetheless, that appears to be the current plan.

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