Friday, January 12, 2018

Sakuragaoka Park in Real Life | Shenmue Realism

Sakuragaoka Park in Real Life

The recent Shenmue "Sacred Spot" Guide Map published by Yokosuka City highlights several real-life places of interest around Yokosuka and Dobuita that feature in, or served as inspiration, to the setting of Shenmue I.

Featured in the guide is a small park called Odakicho Park which is located not too far from Dobuita Street. We present our findings that strongly suggest that it served as inspiration for not just Suzume Park as mentioned in the guide, but for that second well-known park in the game as well.
Odakicho Park is the small park highlighted at the right-hand side of the map of the Dobuita area.
Odakicho Park is the small park highlighted at the right-hand side of the map of the Dobuita area.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sightings Near Dobuita That Made a Shenmue Fan Look Twice | Photos

Sightings near Dobuita that made a Shenmue fan look twice

Today I'd like to share a few photos that I took recently in the vicinity of Dobuita Street, which gave me cause for a double-take due to their apparent connection to the Shenmue series (even if this turned out not to be the case in reality...).

Thursday, January 4, 2018

IGN Japan Interview with Cédric Biscay | Shenmue III


Cédric Biscay on Shenmue III | IGN Japan Interview

Today's post is a translation of an interview with Shenmue III co-producer, Cédric Biscay, that was recently published in Japanese on the IGN Japan website on the topic of Shenmue III (hence it is an English translation of a Japanese translation of his original comments!).

While for obvious reasons Cédric does not reveal specific details about the game, he has an upbeat message to fans on the state of the in-progress game - having tried out the latest version when he visited the development studio in Japan last month - and also takes the opportunity to encourage SEGA regarding remasters of the first two games in the Shenmue series.

Translation note: Cédric talks about a feeling of "reassurance" on playing the most recent version of Shenmue III. It could also be translated as feeling comfortable, or feeling at ease. To me this is wonderful to hear as it indicates that Shenmue III has the right "vibe"; a feeling of being a Shenmue game.

Date of article: 3 January, 2018.

The interview begins below.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ancient Game of “Go” Spotted in Shenmue

Did you know that Ryo's father was fond of the game of Go? It is also one of the world's oldest boardgames still played today, and is renowned for its depth of strategy - it was only recently that AI has been able to beat a top human player at Go (a feat accomplished by Google's DeepMind AI).

Today's article was contributed by Shenmue fan and longtime reader of the blog, JCGamer (visit his Twitter channel). Also in the latter part of the post is a response from the Shenmue III team regarding the possibility of a playable version of Go being included in a future Shenmue game.



Message from the Author


"I played Shenmue when it was first released on the Dreamcast here in Canada back in 1999 and it is one of my most fondest Christmas gifts. All these years later after shedding tears of joy over the Shenmue III announcement I am learning Japanese and still playing Shenmue 1 & 2 which I consider to be one of the most unique gaming experiences out there. I consider it something that transcends both games and movies in terms of immersion."
- JCGamer

The Game of Go: Overview


In Shenmue 1 you can spot a 9x9 Goban (Japanese name for a Go board) at the right-hand side of Iwao’s desk.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Yu Suzuki's Keyword for 2018: "Immersion" [Famitsu.com]

Japanese website Famitsu.com has carried out their annual survey, interviewing 107 game creators to ask their resolution for the year ahead and personal direction for 2018. 
"Game Creators' New Year's Resolutions for 2018"
Yu Suzuki has taken part, and his responses are given below.
Yu Suzuki, CEO of YS NET.
Q: What is your keyword & New Year's Resolution for 2018?

YS: "Immersion": focusing all my energy on Shenmue III.

Q: Please give an update on the current status.

YS: Shenhua's face has finally reached a state I am happy with. A difference of just 1 mm can greatly affect one's impression.

Going forward, I'll be refining things like her expressions and hair.

Given the characteristics of physically-based rendering, my feeling has undergone a change: Shenhua should not be "made", but rather "fostered".

This last comment from Yu is an no doubt a reflection of his experience with Unreal Engine, compared to methods of creation of the past. It can also be appreciated that the fine-tuning of her character model is a gradual, on-going process in order to bring it into line with his vision.

Translation by Switch
Source (Japanese): Famitsu.com

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Yu Suzuki's End-Of-Year Comments to 4Gamer | Romance in Shenmue 3

Each year, 4Gamer.net asks a number of prominent figures in the game industry a few questions about the past year as well as thoughts for the year to come.

This year, they interviewed the largest number to date, receiving replies from 182 people. And of course, Yu Suzuki was again among those.

Yu Suzuki Comments on the Past & Coming Year

The four questions, which follow the same format each year, are:
  • Out of the games released in 2017, which title(s) interested you most / had the most impact on you? 
  • Of all the entertainment content released or shown in 2017, which title(s) made the greatest impression on you? 
  • Which person/people caught your attention in 2017? 
  • What are your plans for 2018, and could you also give a message for our readers? 
Read on to find out how Yu answered these for 2017.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Commentary on Kickstarter Update #78: "Then, Now and Tomorrow"

An animated greeting from the Shenmue III Development Team
An animated greeting from the Shenmue III Development Team

As a Christmas Day present to backers, a new Kickstarter update has been released. In addition to the animated greeting above (which features Shenhua, Ryo and Chai), the main part of the update takes the form of a video interview with Yu Suzuki reflecting on the past 2.5 years since the announcement as well as looking forward to the year ahead.

The interview was conducted by Hiroaki Takeuchi, Shenmue III's Animation Producer who also worked together with Yu as an animation advisor on the original Shenmue.

Related link:
In this post we will highlight some of the main topics Yu mentions, as well as pointing out one or two minor corrections for the English subtitles.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017 from PhantomRiverStone.com

Merry Christmas Shenmue fans from the PhantomRiverStone.com blog! Thank you for your support during the year. I'm really looking forward to what is sure to be an exciting 2018 for Shenmue.

Here is a slice of Christmas-time atmosphere on Dobuita Street to enjoy. ♫♪

Yes, they even pipe out festive music from speakers on the lampposts - it would be amazing if they mixed in some of the Shenmue tunes too...