The original two Shenmue games on the Sega Dreamcast were notable for being some of the biggest projects in gaming up to that point. They took a combined $70 million to produce with a team of roughly 500 people, making them some of the first AAA games.
Its successor, Shenmue III, has exercised a bit of restraint. A quick look at the game's end credits lists about 75 names, ten of whom worked on another Shenmue game in addition to Shenmue III, and six worked on all of them. A welcome addition to the team is the lead environment artist, who also worked on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild It's also headed up by a 30-year industry veteran who, according to videogamechronicles.com, also worked on Streets of Rage, Virtua Fighter, and Lumines. Needless to say, the title is in good hands.
On the financial side of things, this game comes in at roughly a tenth of the other two's combined budget. Through Kickstarter, it made around $6.3 million thanks to almost 70,000 backers. Hopefully, this doesn't wind up being a case of history repeating itself. Sega backed themselves into a corner by putting so much money into the originals, especially in the crowded marketplace of its era.
Likewise today, even if every backer purchases the game, that still only comes to around $4.2 million in sales, with 35,000 more purchases needed for the title just to break even. A much more feasible goal for a profit than the original Shenmue, which Gamesradar says "every [Dreamcast] owner would have had to have bought twice in order for Sega to turn a profit."
Considering it's safe to say there are more people on PS4s and PCs today than Dreamcasts back then, the dozens of workers on Shenmue III should expect a profit in the near future. However, with the game being out for barely a week, it's too soon to say.