With Shenmue 3 finally available to the world, creator Yu Suzuki can breathe a sigh of relief. After years of turmoil and uncertainty, Suzuki was able to realize part of the vision he planned nearly two decades prior. The story is far from over, though, and Suzuki has declared he has no intention of giving up on creating more titles.
In a letter at the end of Shenmue 3 (obvious spoilers for anyone that hasn't finished it), the creator states clearly, "I sincerely hope that, together, we can continue to spin the tale of Ryo and his adventures in Shenmue 4." This follows text thanking the diehard fans for believing in Shenmue and making the third entry a reality. Without their love and dedication, Shenmue would have faded away years ago on the Dreamcast.
"For as long as there are those who wish to see Shenmue live on, I will never give up on my own personal journey to complete its story," Suzuki writes. It's very touching, especially since you can practically feel the passion emanating from him. How many more games are coming, though, is anyone's guess. Shenmue 3 has to sell well, first.
The original vision for Shenmue was a story that spanned around 12 chapters. With the 1999 original comprising only a single chapter, fans were ready to embark a long journey to the end. After the relative failure of Sega's Dreamcast and a tremendous amount of money spent on Shenmue, plans for the second game shifted to include multiple chapters of protagonist Ryo's story.
While it's unclear how much of the story Shenmue 3 covers -unclear until we finish it, that is-, Suzuki isn't quite through with his tale of revenge and menial labor. In recent interviews, Suzuki has indicated that he'll likely need five games to finish the story exactly as he envisions. Whether that's because of cuts he's made over the years remains to be seen.
For now, we can finally rest easy knowing that Shenmue is back in our lives. 2019 has seen the release of a bunch of titles many thought were impossible. Kingdom Hearts III, Devil May Cry 5, and now Shenmue 3. It truly does feel like anything is possible, especially more Shenmue.
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