In a move that fans have been expecting since the announcement of Shenmue III, Sega has finally confirmed that HD remasters of Shenmue and Shenmue II will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in 2018.
Shenmue I & II is a compilation game that will allow fans to play the classic titles on a modern system for the first time. These are updated HD ports of the games, which will also come with a scalable resolution option, an updated UI, a modern control scheme option, and most importantly, the ability to choose between English and Japanese voices. This means that the awful voice acting of the older games can now safely be disabled.
Fans have been expecting this announcement since Shenmue III hit its Kickstarter goal. It makes sense to re-release the older games, in order to drum up interest in the new title, as well as refresh the story in the minds of the player, considering most fans probably haven't played a Shenmue game since the early '00s.
The release of new versions of Shenmue and Shenmue II might backfire on Sega, considering how poorly the games have aged. Shenmue was the most expensive video game ever made when it was first released, but many of its innovative features now seem dated. A lot of what made Shenmue unique for its time (like the day & night cycle) also happened to make the game frustrating and repetitive. This is to say nothing of the segment of the first game where Ryo has to find a part-time job in a warehouse, which might be the most boring part of any video game ever made.
With Shenmue III also due to be released in 2018, it seems as if Ryo Hazuki's story of revenge will finally be completed after almost twenty years of waiting. It still remains to be seen whether the story was worth waiting all of that time for.
Shenmue I & II will be released together for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One later on this year.