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Author Topic: Shenmue at E3 2016?  (Read 8694 times)

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Offline Team Yu

Shenmue at E3 2016?
« on: June 12, 2016, 10:04:21 PM »


The following week marks the first anniversary of Shenmue III's epic reveal at E3 2015.

Much has been written about that moment, which will live forever in gaming history as proof that no dream is impossible, and that ordinary people can and will fight for as long as it takes to ensure that art which needs to be seen is not denied its place in the world.

As we head into the next E3 twelve months on, we no longer have to wonder if Shenmue III will ever be made. That's happening right now. It's in development, and it looks phenomenal.

So the only questions this year are:

1) Will there be any footage of Shenmue III showcased at the event?

2) Will HD remasters of Shenmue 1 & 2 be announced?

Try to ignore the various media reports pointing one way or the other. They're each spinning their own interpretations of the following facts, on which you're as capable as they are (and, let's face it, probably more so) of making up your own mind.

The only indications of whether Shenmue III will be shown at this year's E3 have been from French co-producer Cédric Biscay on Twitter. In one tweet on June 1st, he wrote "Sorry for the teasing but I am playing #shenmue3 and I am loving it !! :)"

While it would be easy to immediately assume from these words that a playable version of the game exists, which could therefore be demonstrated at E3, it's important to bear in mind two things.

Firstly, Cédric has made very similar comments before, not long after development began, and they certainly weren't a precursor to gameplay footage being shown in public. We would imagine them being in reference to a very early build designed to test fundamental movement or an aspect of the environment, with "playing Shenmue III" being an excited overstatement from a longtime fan of the series. While the proximity to E3 this time around may place his latest comments under a different context, we've no reason to presume they mean anything different now than they did then.

Secondly, there is still a year and a half of development time remaining before the game's scheduled release in December 2017. The game won't be anywhere near its final, comprehensively playable state right now, and if Ys Net has just patched together a very limited demo of the gameplay that they've been able to make functional so far, the impression it leaves on E3's audience may be far more negative than positive. This is a week for flashy trailers of cutting edge titles vying for the attention of some notoriously critical consumers. Airing footage purporting to be Shenmue III gameplay which is anything less than polished on this grand a stage will leave it wide open to more snarky editorial from reporters and gamers alike.

In response to that tweet on June 1st, Cédric was asked directly if we would get to see gameplay at E3. His reply: "today my answer is no".

Now, this of course can be read in multiple ways. Was he uncertain? Was he trying not to spoil a surprise? Or was a man whose role involves hype and publicity just trying to keep people talking and speculating about this game?

Either way, nothing has been said about whether NON-gameplay footage will be shown at E3. Perhaps we'll see something like the clips unveiled at Cédric's own MAGIC Monaco in February, which offered a look at Shenhua's house and the Shenmue tree itself, as well as an example of the dynamic weather system in action.

Certainly if there's nothing at all seen of the game at the first E3 after its much celebrated announcement last year, there'll be those already sharpening their knives in preparation to declare the project dead, bust, vaporware, etc, etc, etc. Despite regular updates through Kickstarter and at smaller industry events, as well as numerous interviews given by Yu Suzuki to the press, E3 is the only time that some people truly pay attention to what's going on in gaming, and to them it may seem as though Shenmue III has fallen off the face of the Earth if it doesn't get an outing of some kind on this particular stage.

So with that in mind, it's our feeling that Shenmue III would benefit from making an appearance, although not one that's going to expose its current shortcomings less than half-way through development. That's a tricky thing to balance, and so we won't be surprised if Ys Net (and/or Sony) opts to keep the game out of the spotlight on this occasion. But we're making no predictions. If it's on display, as it very well might be, we'll be thrilled to see it.

Which leaves us with the matter of Shenmue 1 & 2 HD.

The ongoing #SaveShenmueHD campaign, evolving from the established fan movement that was embraced by Sony and Ys Net last year, continues to push for Sega's release of the first two games in the series on modern platforms, so that fans old and new can enjoy the story from the beginning in time for Shenmue III's arrival.

When Sega finally commented on the demand for this last month, it was to say that they weren't any further than "investigating" how to go about it:

"With regards to Shenmue 1 & 2 HD," said Sega Europe in an episode of their weekly Sega Central show on YouTube, "Of course we would love to release these tomorrow. Sadly it's not as simple as porting the games to current platforms, as we would need to ensure that any HD remaster lives up to the quality of the original titles, and with games as immersive as Shenmue 1 & 2 there are further complications from licensed products that were included in the original games. That said, we'd love to do it, and are currently investigating how to make it a reality."

So if there's to be a Shenmue HD announcement at E3 in the coming days, it will have to be because they've either finished investigating these perceived hurdles within the past few weeks, or this statement was a smoke and mirrors act to disguise an already planned reveal. Or, potentially, that Sega Europe's information is about a year out of date - but we like to think they'd have at least checked with someone in the know before reading out this prepared statement.

If you believe any of these scenarios relating to HD remasters are possible then E3 could be about to deliver a blockbuster Shenmue announcement for the second year running. But our advice, as always, is to cross your fingers but not hold your breath. In an ideal world, Sega would have gotten its act together long before now and be in a position to announce these remasters at the most logical time to do so. And here's hoping. But if that's not the case this week, there'll be other opportunities. The news might not be delivered in as grand a fashion as we would have liked, but as long as the remasters are released ahead of Shenmue III then that's what's most important. We'll be campaigning to #SaveShenmueHD until that day arrives.

So whatever part Shenmue plays in this week's festivities, we hope you'll enjoy E3 and be ready to continue doing whatever needs to be done in the fallout - whether that's educating gamers who've jumped to unfair conclusions about Shenmue III, or maintaining the pressure to get the whole series on current systems.

Unless, of course, you're passed out on the floor from a Half-Life 3 reveal.