Last week brought the announcement that many fans of the beloved Shenmue series have been waiting years for that the first two games will finally be coming to modern consoles this year, and now some new details reveal that the re-releases seem to have been in discussion for quite some time at SEGA.
Speaking with IGN, SEGA Europe’s executive vice president John Clark gave some more insight after the reveal of the upcoming re-release of Shenmue I & II last week that discussions of re-releasing those titles were underway for quite some time, stretching back even beyond the announcement of Shenmue III back at E3 2015.
Specifically, Clark said that ultimately the decision to go through with re-releasing the titles was more encouraging “internally and externally” after seeing the demand for the games following the reveal of Shenmue III, though said that “(ports of) Shenmue I & II had been a discussion pre-Shenmue III.”
Aside from the upcoming release of the long-awaited third game helping to boost their demand, Clark also cited increasing interest in Japanese games from Western audiences as a factor in bringing the games over, along with SEGA’s stable of classic IP and franchises.
Clark said to IGN that “I think it was inevitable Shenmue I & II was going to come out,” and added that “the Western market was expanding in its desire for more Japanese content.” One example that Clark seemed to bring up included the release of 2008’s Valkyria Chronicles on PC in 2014 for the West, and that Western demand for SEGA’s Japanese titles has seen much more encouraging growth than in the past decade or so.
These signs and more are what “gave us leverage on the kind of titles we could bring out, titles like Shenmue,” according to Clark, and ultimately it seems that “there are more games on the list” that the publisher could potentially bring over down the line. While he didn’t say specifically what titles they might have in mind, Clark said that “we’re just happy that we can bring out Shenmue I & II now.”
The re-released collection of Shenmue I & II will release for PS4 in Japan this year, while Western audiences be getting the collection on PS4, Xbox One, and PC this year as well. In the meantime, you can check out some of the recently-released screenshots from the game in 1080p.