Today Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki announced via a video posted on the game’s Kickstarter page that Shenmue III will be delayed.
According to Suzuki-san, by using new technologies the team has discovered “new possibilities and expressions,” and the game has become bigger and more beautiful than what he had initially anticipated (in Japanese, Suzuki-san talks of “Power-up”).
In order to achieve the concept envisioned by Suzuki-san, the development schedule has been revised, and the team is now aiming to release the game in the second half of 2018. We also get the promise of more details coming later this month.
Suzuki-san concludes by thanking the fans for the continued support.
While the delay is relatively significant, as the game slips from its initial scheduled release of December 2017, it was probably quite predictable considering the scope of the project and the compact size of the development team working on it.
If you want to see more, you can check out a recent batch of screenshots of the game, the introduction of a new character, and a video in which Suzuki-san talks about his storytelling. You can also read our own interview with Suzuki-san himself.
Shenmue III was funded via Kickstarter in 2015, with 69,320 backers pledging $6,333,295 following a triumphant stage presentation at E3. Following an additional “Slacker Backer” funding campaign, the total reached $6,762,419 pledged by 74,448 backers as of May 31st, 2017.
Incidentally, for the sake of full disclosure, the author of this article is one of those backers.