Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki is now fully engaged on his Kickstarter campaign for Shenmue 3, and he has just finished hosting an AMA on Reddit, answering quite a few questions on the upcoming game and more.
Apparently, he has not yet decided if PayPal pledging will be opened after the end of this campaign for additional funding:
“I am still thinking about it, but have not decided yet.”
In the past few years Suzuki-san has been quite active in writing the story:
“There are a total of 11 chapters that make up the whole story. Over the past 14 years I originally planned for there to 4 or five games to the series. If at all possible, I would still like to realize the full story of 11 chapters.”
He also explained what “Shenmue” means.
“It is more like a cherry blossom tree, that blooms its flowers in the springtime. It is actually a tree I made up for the story.”
Day/night cycle and weather will return in the new game:
Practicing moves and the free battle system may also make a comeback:
“I want to do it yes!”
Ryo’s Journal might return as well:
“I would like to bring back the Journal. That is an interesting idea, I will look into it. Thank you.”
Suzuki-san isn’t happy yet with the Ryo’s face. He also added afterwards that he’s considering an option to remove the band-aid.
“I am not happy with Ryo’s face. It will be the face I have in my mind in the end.”
He’s also planning to improve the usability of the UI:
“As for III, I would like to make a less stressful user interface, that will feature more usability. From now on, I will make that a focus.”
At some point he considered to tell the rest of the story in a book, but of course it wasn’t the ideal solution:
“Yes, I have but if I did do that, it would give away the end of the story, and I thought that would be a big minus.”
Suzuki also explained what inspired the Shenmue series:
“When I was making Virtua Fighter, I went location hunting in China. I was very inspired by Chinese martial arts. That very well may have been the beginning.”
He’s considering to include both Japanese and English voice overs in the game:
“I am thinking about that, yes. However it is not for sure.”
Suzuki-san hopes to see the console market flourish again in Japan:
“I see the share of mobile games increasing, the budgets of games decreasing. It will be harder to express a game’s vision.
I would hope the console and PC markets gain more popularity.”
He would like to have a bike powered by a single HP in the new game.
“There is a 60 horsepower bike in Shenmue 1. For Shenmue, 3 I was thinking about something with 1 horsepower.”
Suzuki-san explained that he has a good idea on how to do character polls without compromising his vision:
“I really want to get everyone’s opinion on the characters. I have something in mind that won’t break the world immersion.”
Asked if there could be co-op or a multiplayer component, Suzuki-san gave an interesting answer:
“I am thinking about something that would resemble that.”
He then explained what the “character perspective system” and the “rapport system” included in the stretch goals are.
“They are new systems, so naturally they need new names. The Rapport System will govern changes in Shenhua’s actions depending on your conversations with or actions towards her. The “Character Perspective System” will highlight different characters personalities as they go through the story.”
We even get some information on Choubu and Bailu village, with the mention that all the villages will be in the game even if the stretch goals aren’t reached, but they will get a “power up” with the stretch goals.
Choubu is a riverside village with lots of shops, souvenir stores, hotels and temples. The quests in this village should be very enjoyable, I think.
Bailu is the village where Shenhua was raised and also a place that Ryo’s father, Iwao, had visited when he was younger. Here as well the quests will play an important role as Ryo and Shenhua start their journey.
Suzuki-san also mentioned that there will be part-time jobs to earn money in the game.
“There will be part time jobs that will be indicative of those you would find in China. In the Stretch goals there will also be the old favorites.”
Interestingly, he then promised that at 10 million dollars in pledges the game will truly have all the features of an open world title:
“I will say this: if we reach the $5 mil mark, one of the things I really want to do with Shenmue 3 will become a reality.
At $10 million, it will truly have the features of an open world.”
Suzuki-san also explained why he set the series in the 1980s instead of the present day.
“I wanted put forward the differences in culture and values between the two periods.”
We also hear what’s his favorite piece of the Shenmue soundtrack:
“Of course I love both the Shenmue and Shenhua themes, and all of them really, but the one that really sticks with me is the Tomato Mart.”
If you loved duck racing, there definitely is hope for that, as Suzuki-san would “love it.” He also mentioned afterwards that forklift gameplay could come as part of the stretch goals.
If you want to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, you can do so here. At the moment of this writing, the game has received $3,380,269 in pledges.