Since 2015, fans have been awaiting the release of Shenmue 3. Now after what felt like an endless number of problems throughout the development of the game and a lukewarm critical reception, Shenmue 3 will drop to a deep discount merely a week after launch. The tweet below shows that the steelbook version is only $34.99 USD leading up to Black Friday deals across North America (Update for clarity: The deal appears to only work through US Best Buy).
The big price drop may be indicative of the game not meeting commercial expectations following its launch, and most critical reviews would support this idea. So far, the consensus appears to be that Shenmue 3 is acceptable for fans of the first two games, back from 1999 and 2001, but offers nothing new or worthwhile to contemporary audiences. Even diehard fans of the first two games feel that the third game is stuck in the past, has not made an effort to be relevant to today’s players. It certainly feels like a proper sequel, but one that would have released in 2002, not today.
Lackluster performance in sales and reception may also be a direct consequence of what many assumed would happen as the game went through a development process marred by controversy and upset backers. When the game was officially announced and funded on Kickstarter in 2015, players were excited that a sequel was in the works so long after the second game, something that has hardly ever happened in the gaming industry.
The first big problem came when players found out that Epic Games would be the exclusive PC platform where the game could be purchased when at first it was advertised on Steam, where it had received free advertising for quite some time. Developer YS Net then kept making the situation worse, offering Steam keys it had no way to acquire, then making problematic claims about refunds, and more.
Then it was the Kickstarter backers who were continually disrespected. These individual, the most ardent supports of the project who wanted it to succeed more than anyone else, found out that a variety of pre-order content promised to them in the beginning would instead require a separate purchase. At this point the sentiment appeared to be that YS Net and publisher Deep Silver simply wanted to milk as much money as they could from their consumers.
There were other issues to pile onto these problems, and with incident it became clear that Shenmue 3 would need to be an absolute masterpiece for players to overlook the shoddy dealings of its development. Instead, the game is perfectly average, or a bit stuck in the past, and in a saturated gaming market with so many near-perfect titles to choose from, it is no wonder the Shenmue 3 is dropping in price so quickly. Now is a good time to pick up the game if you are a fan, though with the way things are going, further discounts in the future seem plausible as well.