Monday, November 13, 2017

The Bus to Amihama | Shenmue Realism

The Bus to Amihama

In the first Shenmue game, Ryo makes good use of the bus service that runs past the end of Dobuita Street, to take him over to the harbor area at Amihama. Although it was created for the game, as with most things in Shenmue it is grounded in realism.

In this post we'll run through the information the game gives us about it, and see how closely it matches up to the present day.

Location of the Dobuita Bus Stop

To start off, below is a photograph I took recently in the vicinity of the real Dobuita Street, at a corner intersecting with the main road - called the Yokosuka Highway - running nearby.

Although this corner is not situated at the actual end of Dobuita Street, the location's similarity with a certain tobacco shop at the end of Dobuita Street in the game can be readily appreciated.

I expect to see Hirata-san coming out through the door at any minute.
I expect to see Hirata-san tottering out through the door at any minute.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Evolution of the Shenmue Undub Part 3: Translating the Last 3%

Evolution of the Shenmue Undub Part 3: Translating the Last 3%

Over the past half-year (with support from the French-language fansite Shenmue Master and others), I have been working on translating the small percentage of subtitle lines in the Kogami undub that were still displayed in Japanese - as well as including a few other miscellaneous fixes.

The point has now been reached where the work has been completed, and once fully tested this updated version will be released to the community in the future.

This post goes over the various changes that have been made for this "100% translated" version.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Cédric Biscay in Tokyo | Photo

Shenmue III co-producer Cédric Biscay of Shibuya Productions has shared a photo of himself with Yu Suzuki, during his visit to Tokyo.

Cédric is pointing at what looks like two rooster ornaments on the table - souvenirs to Yu? Or perhaps a new kind of Chawan sign...

Yu Suzuki with CédricBiscay
Yu Suzuki with CédricBiscay
The tweet text is as follows:
"Amazing time with my friend @yu_suzuki_jp ! #Shenmue3 cc @ShibuyaProd @YSNET_Inc
Although no special information can be gleaned (still working on decoding the rooster message), it's good to see Cédric and Yu Suzuki looking relaxed and catching on the Shenmue III project.

Source: Twitter

Friday, October 27, 2017

2 New Additions to the Shenmue Community | Shenmue Blog & Shenmue Lounge

The Shenmue community has gained two awesome new Shenmue services, set up by fans for everyone's enjoyment.

One is a newly-launched blog from community member BlueMue, and the other is a new media channel featuring live-streams of Shenmue news & gameplay hosted by Peter Campbell, launching at the start of next week.

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.

The Sm1th version provided Japanese audio together with English subtitles 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.