Crowdfunding May Save Shenmue
One of the great causalities in the downfall of the Dreamcast was the Shenmue franchise. Long loved as a fan-favorite and cult-classic, Shenmue was one of the very first “cinematic” games, paving the way for titles like Heavy Rain to come after. Now, it appears as if the creator of the series may not be ready to give up on the IP just yet.
Legendary game designer and father of Shenmue Yu Suzuki recently told journalist Sebastien-Abdelhamid that he is considering starting a crowd funding campaign for Shenmue 3. Shenmue 3 was originally planned for development on the Dreamcast, but failing console sales prevented the game from seeing the light of day. However, the story of the game (and for that matter the story of the entire Shenmue saga), has already been planned. All character designs are already complete and supposedly some texture and model resources have already been made.
Unfortunately, crowdfunding Shenmue 3 will be quite a challenge indeed. Previous titles in the Shenmue series had budgets averaging around $70,000,000, and this was in the Dreamcast era! While Crowdfunding has pulled off some spectacular feats such as the Double-Fine adventure game, Skullgirls, the Ouya, and more, none of them have ever come close to $70,000,00. In fact, one of the biggest Kickstarter projects ever, the Pebble e-Watch, only barely broke $10,000,000. So Suzuki would have to break some impressive records in order to make the project a reality. More likely, Suzuki could set up shop at Indiegogo or any other crowfunding site that lets you take funds without reaching your goal, and use the money raised as a compelling argument for Sega to fund the project the rest of the way.
Suzuki is also looking into other possible ways to continue the Shenmue storyline. He has stated that he could continue the story in an anime or manga, but he would need to obtain the rights from Sega first. Sega has said in the past that they are aware of the high fan-demand for a new Shenmue project, but they still don’t have any active plans for the IP.