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Will fans finally give Shenmue the respect it deserves if it goes to the Playstation 4?


Earlier this week, a tweet went out showing Mark Cerny and Yu Suzuki, Shenmue's creator as well as the creator of many of Segas arcade games. The tweet showed a picture of the two together at this year's GDC (Game Developer Conference). And with the picture, it was said that the two were discussing potential Shenmue strategies. The twitter tweet in question can be seen here. Now let's be realistic, April fool's will be upon us soon so this may very well be a hoax. However, on the off chance that it isn't, do gamers deserve a new Shenmue game?


Whatever the case may be, this has lead many on the internet to believe the game will eventually not only see the light of day, but see that very light shine upon the Playstation 4. Shenmue has always been an under appreciated series. We can only hope this ambitious game does indeed happen. But do we as fans deserve it? Let's look back at Shenmue's history.


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When Shenmue arrived on the Dreamcast (Sega's final home gaming system), it was hyped and heralded as the system's powerhouse title. The expectations of the game were extremely high and the cost of the game was $70 million. Which at that time in gaming, was very high. The reviews for the most part were favorable. But the sales of the game barely broke over 1 million (1.2 million to be somewhat exact). As a result, this became known as one of the biggest commercial downfalls in gaming history. This was the first blow to the series.



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The second game in the series, Shenmue 2 had only reached Japan and Europe for the Dreamcast. Reason being was because by the time the game was set for a U.S. Dreamcast release, Sega had already dropped production of the Dreamcast, thus ending their lifetime in the gaming hardware market. However, not all hope was lost. As the first Xbox system hit the market, Sega had a deal with Microsoft to bring Shenmue 2 to the system. While the game sold relatively well in Japan and Europe, in the U.S. it didn't fair so well. A combination of the high price, lack of marketing, and lack of customers since the Xbox was new and many of the Shenmue audience had not converted from the Dreamcast all played a part. Thus overall, Shenmue 2 also became known as a failure. Which in turn, became the series second blow.




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The third blow to the series came with the cancellation of Shenmue Online. This game was a joint venture between Sega and the Korean company, JC entertainment. But due to JC entertainment pulling out on the deal and owning half of the Shenmue Online assets, an legal battle between the companies ensued. Even with the legal setback, Yu Suzuki and his development team tried to move forward with the project. Eventually, the project was very quietly canceled.




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But there is still hope. Yu Suzuki has gone on record to say he would like to buy the Shenmue rights from Sega and finish the story. Sega themselves have been reluctant to continue the Shenmue project because they never received a profitable return from it. So it's easy to understand why they've left it dormant all this time.



For as many fans as the series seems to have, it was never remotely reflected in the sales numbers. So if this does happen, I say the waters should be tested first. And tested means releasing HD versions of the first two games and see just how many people are willing to put their money where their mouths are. If the return from that is good, then I can see Shenmue 3 probably happening.



Because as it stands, the fans want the game. They herald the series. Yet the hardly bought it as proven by the first two games (Shenmue online never released so that can't be blamed on the fans). So HD remakes of the first two need to be made. This way, fans can show they deserve it.


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