Friday, October 20, 2017

Evolution of the Shenmue Undub Part 2: The Kogami Release

Evolution of the Shenmue Undub Part 2: The Kogami Release

This is the second part in our series about the Shenmue Undub versions. Last time we covered the original Undub release by Sm1th, and this time we will be looking at a version by Kogami.

This provided Japanese audio together with English subtitles for almost perfectly for the cinematic scenes, but with some issues for the free conversation sections of the game.

It turned out that mixing the audio files from the Japanese Shenmue directly with the subtitle files from an English version would lead to issues since internally their structures did not correspond exactly.

These problems were resolved just a few months later in a separate Undub version that was put together using a similar but extended technique.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Evolution of the Shenmue Undub Part 1: The Sm1th Release

Evolution of the Shenmue Undub: The Sm1th Release

When Shenmue 1 was released, the spoken audio for the game outside of Japan came only in English. For international fans wishing to play with the original Japanese voices, there was no real solution for many years; even importing the Japan release was not much help unless you had a good understanding of the language, as this did not come with English subtitles.

Fans soon became interested in creating their own version of the game that would couple the original Japanese voice-acting with subtitles in English - in other words, an "undub" version of the game.

However this proved to be no easy task, and the situation did not change for more than 13 years after Shenmue's release.

Then, in late 2013, the break-through many had been waiting for materialized at last - the appearance of the Shenmue 1 Undub.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Shenmue Art Book Discount | Retro Import Gamer

If you have been considering adding the Shenmue Art Book to your collection, here is a chance to pick it up at a discount!

The 1998 Shenmue Art Book is a rarely-seen piece of original merchandise that contains a wealth of glossy photos, design diagrams and text (some of which we have shared here on the blog).

Our friends at Retro Import Gamer are currently listing the Shenmue Art Book with a Buy It Now price of just £184.99 - this represents a very reasonable level for this item, which also includes free postage within the UK.

And especially for Phantom River Stone blog readers, we have arranged with Retro Import Gamer a £10 discount on this item.

To qualify for the discount, simply contact them via Ebay with the answer to the following Shenmue trivia question:
  • Complete the password: "Father's Heaven" -> ?
Click here for the Shenmue Art Book listing on Ebay:

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Earning Money to Meet Ren | Shenmue 2 Flowchart #2 Translation

Earning Money to Meet Ren

Introduction & Related Post

The "Making of Shenmue" section of the 1998 Shenmue art book contains snippets of actual design documents from the making of the first two games. We will be examining each of these in today's and future posts to see what information they reveal.

We previously investigated a flowchart covering the first part of play in Shenmue II, after Ryo arrives in Hong Kong:

The Second Flowchart Snippet

Today's flowchart snippet is found on the same page as the first, and as with the first it is partially obscured by various other overlapping diagrams and photographs. The section in question is highlighted in red:

The second flowchart snippet from the Shenmue Art book (enclosed in red).
The second flowchart snippet from the Shenmue Art book (enclosed in red). It's quite a jumble!
Image credit: David De Ville.
The context of the flowchart appears to be soon (but not directly) after the first, with Ryo having visited Man Mo temple and become acquainted with Xiuying.

Minor Spoilers
Plot elements relating to some of the initial events in Shenmue II will be discussed.

Click on each image to enlarge.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Shenmue 2 Concept Sketch: "Wharf Near Langhuishan" | Comparison with Released Game

In an interview last year, Yu Suzuki brought along with him copies of several design documents and concept sketches that had been created for Shenmue I and II. Images of these documents were included with the article text but weren't mentioned in the interview itself.

The document we'll be looking at in this post is concept art showing Langhuishan in Guilin, where Ryo heads after leaving Hong Kong towards the end of Shenmue II.


Ryo arrives at Langhuishan.
Ryo arrives at Langhuishan (Shenmue II cutscene).

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Kickstarter Update #75: Face Animations & Subtitles Translation

Kickstarter Update #75 is out, in the form of a "Dev Room Report" video that demonstrates characters' facial expressions.

Here is the full video, which is just under a minute in length:

During the demonstration, we are introduced to two new characters. And in addition, some in-game subtitles are also displayed (in Japanese) during part of the demonstration.

Read on for full coverage of their meaning!

The update also notes that Backer Surveys are still being worked on, and that it will still be "some time" before they are sent out. However a rundown of the surveys can be expected soon.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

SEGA Dreamcast: Collected Works Kickstarter | Shenmue Special Edition

"SEGA Dreamcast: Collected Works" is a Kickstarter funded book project that aims to be the authoritative resource on the Dreamcast console.

As a sign of immense public interest, the Kickstarter project became fully funded in mid-September after just 50 hours! And with 15 days still to go, pledges are nearing 1.5 times its original goal of £68,000.

Cover rendering of SEGA Dreamcast: Collected Works
Cover rendering of SEGA Dreamcast: Collected Works
Produced in collaboration with SEGA, it will feature hardware and software development documents, photographs of prototypes and rare hardware, in-depth interviews with the original game developers, high-quality game images and more.

Numerous games from the console's library will be covered, including of course Shenmue. (Hopefully an interview with Yu Suzuki can also be arranged, as was the case with the earlier Mega Drive book).

Plus, at the higher end of the reward tiers is a Shenmue Special Edition - further details below.

Sample rendering of the book's contents.
Sample rendering of the book's contents.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Gamescom 2017 Photo Report | Guest Post

We welcome yuc02 back to the blog with a photo report on his experience at the recent Gamescom 2017 event in Germany, as he got to catch up with other Shenmue fans not to mention meeting Yu Suzuki himself - and even found himself taking on the role of primary cameraman for several community interviews. He also had a special mission to fulfill on behalf of the Shenmue community...

All photos in this report were taken by yuc02. Click to enlarge).

Gamescom 2017 Photo Report

Hey guys, it’s yuc02 again!

I had the pleasure of going to Gamescom this year, obviously to see Yu Suzuki and the YS Net team, but also to hand him a very special gift.  It was a great few days and I just wished that more of you guys could have been there.  Here’s my take on the 3 days I was there.

Day 1: Wed 23rd August, 2017

After a (very) early start, I finally arrived in Cologne for the 2017 edition of Gamescom, the largest gaming show in Europe.  It was also my first ever games show, so it was quite daunting to see so many people (it wasn’t even the busiest day!)

The Gamescom venue in Cologne
The Gamescom venue in Cologne
Inside the halls
Inside the halls

Naturally I went to see the Deep Silver booth, to try and have a look at the meet and greet area (keep thinking Deep Purple for some reason :P)

It wasn’t massive, slightly tucked out of the way, and was surrounded by SEGA and other Deep Silver products, so was quite cosy! In a way it feels like Shenmue…

SEGA and Deep Silver booths
SEGA and Deep Silver booths in close proximity in the general-admission area