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Author Topic: Yet another ShenmuE3 hoax  (Read 20955 times)

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Offline Team Yu

Yet another ShenmuE3 hoax
« on: May 25, 2015, 07:19:24 AM »
There aren't many weeks when Shenmue makes the headlines for two completely different reasons.

The first explosion of articles came from an image posted online which purported to reveal a leaked teaser for new Shenmue releases produced in conjunction with Square Enix.

The second, later in the week, was the announcement of two remastered soundtrack albums for Shenmue and Streets of Rage, to be released on vinyl this year.

Both received ample coverage from the gaming press, but one of these welcome developments was nothing but a hoax.

Fans who keep an ear close to the ground may have already heard of the Shenmue vinyl album three weeks ago, when sound engineer Shawn Hatfield referred to it on Instagram. Privately, our initial reaction was to dismiss it as a fan project, probably commissioned by an individual audiophile who loved the game's soundtrack as much as we all do but had a little more disposable income to spend on their own personal vinyl copy.

Had we the time and inclination to do some research we'd have perhaps come to a different conclusion, as the product was officially announced this past week as a fully licensed debut release from record label Data Discs, alongside the equally celebrated Streets of Rage OST. Yay!

In the period between that Instagram post and confirmation of its legitimacy, the reason for our cautious perspective was demonstrated by the other widely reported story of the week.

With E3 on the horizon, the temptation for online trolls to manufacture Shenmue rumors is all too enticing. They choose Shenmue because, similarly, the temptation to cling to such rumors like limpets on steroids is impossible for many within its fanbase to resist. After a decade and a half of waiting for closure, people are long past desperate, and are willing to take leave of their senses for the chance to believe. To the delight of attention-starved pranksters everywhere, any perceived ray of hope, no matter the source, is guaranteed to cause a stir when the name Shenmue is invoked.

The media knows this too, and so instead of handling any Shenmue rumor with care, many reporters (on even the most trusted sites) will rush to be first with a headline that generates clicks for their pages and revenue from their sponsors.

In fairness however, we were pleased to see that some of these reports were responsibly written, opting not to stoke the furnace of an irrational hype train and instead actively managing their readers' expectations regarding the odds of there being any truth to the rumor. Although, disappointingly, few outlets have updated their story since the hoaxer publicly bragged about the coverage lavished upon his Photoshop fakery.

The reaction of fans to this latest hoax has been mixed. While some shake their heads as we do, some others embrace any and all publicity for Shenmue, whether grounded in truth or lies. And then there are still others who refuse to accept that the Internet would deceive them, and have already booked Spring 2016 off work.

We can't do much more for those guys, except hope they really enjoy Mirror's Edge 2. But we can try to explain our point of view to those who believe all publicity is good publicity.

Generating interest and creating new fans is important. Shenmue needs new fans to be seen as a credible prospect fifteen years after the last entry in the series. But efforts to attract these newcomers should not be at the expense of those who've waited a decade and a half for closure. Nobody will fight longer and harder for Shenmue than those who experienced it the first time around, and we cannot afford to extinguish that fire with false hope and broken promises for the sake of gamers who might give it a go if they happen to have an old Dreamcast or know about emulation.

Spend time on any dedicated Shenmue forum or Facebook community, and you'll read a varying number of comments from weary, jaded fans who refuse to get their hopes up or get excited about even the most promising news, not because they've been waiting for too long but because they've been burned too many times. They can endure the patient slog as much as the next fan, but what they can't take anymore is the disappointment of another rumor that turns out to be fake.

Some people enjoy the uncertainty, the highs and lows of the Shenmue III emotional rollercoaster. And that's far from a bad thing. But if that's you, then recognise - please - that you're one of the lucky ones. For others, the stomach purging twists and turns only steer them toward their final decision to stop the ride and get off.

And the more people who do that, who disengage entirely because they're sick of the false peaks on our continuous climb, the harder it will be to rally a mass surge of energy when it's needed the most.

The #SaveShenmue campaign has relied on the ability to summon co-ordinated action when genuine opportunities have presented themselves. We could not have added Ryo to the PC port of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, or put Shenmue on the agenda for Sony's Third Party Production team, if everyone had just shrugged off the possibility. We certainly won't be able to vote our boy into Super Smash Bros if fans become immune to the cries of wolf they keep hearing. But that's how more and more gamers begin feeling with each hype-fuelled disappointment, each reinforcement of the nagging doubts in their mind that anything they've tried doing to change Sega's stance on Shenmue will make any difference.

From the beginning of our involvement in the long struggle for Shenmue III, we've had to contend with misinformation propogated by the media and further mangled by gamers in a process of Chinese whispers. The very month of the first Tweetathon, the words of Sega representative Ben Harborne were twisted into everything from a "hint" to a flat-out statement that Shenmue HD was on its way, forcing us to swim against the tide of popular opinion when explaining, repeatedly, what had really been said.

Two years later we had to wade through the mess of misreporting and misinterpretation surrounding the expiry and renewal of various Shenmue trademarks. And today we fight the same fight, for truth, justice, and the Yokosukan way... Alright, that was cheesy, but we maintain that truth is the single most important weapon in our battle for Shenmue III. Certain rumors and hoaxes may seem more palatable, but only by removing the blinkers and observing the (sometimes ugly) truth can we know what we're dealing with and how to overcome those unsightly obstacles.

Aside from not setting people up for a fall, truth is important for one other reason. Those hoodwinked fans who remain convinced that Sega's working with Square Enix to revive the franchise are now blissfully unmotivated to keep fighting for an outcome they believe is already secure. Why keep tweeting every month on the 3rd when you can start clearing a space on your shelf and wait for next Spring to roll around? Why vote for a cameo in another series when the real deal's in the bag?

So no, we don't consider all publicity to be good publicity. Poor journalism and careless rumor mongering can create long term damage to the trust and mindset of fans that sets the campaign back significantly. It can have some jumping at shadows, and others fiddling while Rome burns. And it can lead even fastidious campaign co-ordinators to assume a licensed vinyl soundtrack is just an expensive bootleg. Whoops.

How to Spot a Hoax

So we've droned on about the importance of nipping a hoax in the bud, but how can you actually tell a fraudulent phony from a legitimate leak?

The unfortunate answer is, often you can't. If you're looking for any tell-tale signs of a faked image, there's a good chance the person behind it knew what to look for too, and made sure to avoid falling into those traps.

Sometimes of course they'll slip up, and it will be easy to identify ways in which it looks fake. But generally speaking, we should not rely on finding visual imperfections or inconsistencies in order to determine something's authenticity. Talented designers with an impeccable eye for detail can be hoaxers too.

If he'd chosen to, NoconKid could have passed off his stunning HD remake-in-progress as an official project, and easily fooled a lot of people into believing it. Thankfully he didn't, because he's a classy guy whose hard work and dedication generated enough publicity for Shenmue (and pressure on Sega) without the need for underhandedness. But not all would have made the same choice, and so it's important to remember that quality doesn't always translate to credibility.

Instead, the glowing weak spot on any fake story is the source. Always consider the source, and be cut-throat about it. Posted on 4chan? Hoax. Anonymous quote on a lesser-known gaming site? Made up. Forum member who can't go into detail because people will get fired? Attention seeker. Convention promoter? Well... be dubious at least.

Tone, agenda, reliability - these are all things that must be determined about the source, regardless of the story's content. For anyone familiar with social patterns on the Internet it's common sense, but for the avoidance of doubt we'll be here with a thick black marker to spell it out for anyone who, like us, wants to cut through the BS and #SaveShenmue for real.

Offline Team Yu

Re: Yet another ShenmuE3 hoax
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2015, 08:46:06 PM »
The Shenmue album mentioned above is now available to pre-order at in a choice of three editions. Which one strikes you the most?

UPDATE: The limited edition has just sold out, leaving a choice of two versions remaining!
« Last Edit: May 31, 2015, 04:31:24 AM by Team Yu »

Offline jameswalker85

Re: Yet another ShenmuE3 hoax
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2015, 04:32:33 PM »
That means the one I ordered is now worth a ton more already! My family could make a fortune once they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Offline Team Yu

Re: Yet another ShenmuE3 hoax
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2015, 06:28:01 AM »
In a rare sub-forty minute video, YouTuber Adam Koralik channels our thoughts succinctly on some of the recent happenings around Shenmue: