Monday, December 31, 2018

[Pinned] Announcement: Phantom River Stone is on Patreon!

It is hard to believe that over one-and-a-half years have passed since the Phantom River Stone blog launched. We've made more than 200 posts on our favorite subject: translations of community interviews, magazine articles and design documents, notes about everyday items and culture reflected in the game, photos of real locations around Yokosuka... just celebrating the awesomeness that is Shenmue.

In order to sustain this rate of output, and dedicate the time needed for the translations and posts, I wanted to offer a way for blog readers who wish to help contribute to do so.

And so, I am excited to announce our new Patreon page for Phantom River Stone!

If you're not familiar with Patreon, it’s an easy way to give those who find the blog of interest, a way to support it directly.

Plus, you will receive some great rewards in return, such as exclusive "behind the scenes" content, early access to blog posts before anyone else, and monthly voting on a future blog topic. We also have a Discord channel for chatting about Shenmue and blog posts & I look forward to chatting with you there.

There are several different reward tiers, which you can check out in detail on the new Patreon page.

Thank you for considering becoming a patron of the blog, and regardless of whether you are in a position to offer financial support, thank you for being a reader of the blog!

Click to open the Phantom River Stone page on Patreon!


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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A Prototype that Served Its Purpose: Thoughts on the Leaked Footage for a "Full HD Remaster" of Shenmue I & II


Yesterday, a video was released by Digital Foundry, showcasing leaked footage of a partially-completed remastered version of Shenmue I & II (which we'll refer to as a prototype) that was eventually shelved in favor of a version in which the enhancements were more manageable. This version was also worked on by d3t, the same development company who went on to develop the Shenmue I & II re-release that was released earlier this year.

The footage takes the form of a number of camera "fly-bys" around certain locations from the games (the Hazuki Residence, Yamanose and Dobuita from Shenmue I, and a few street areas in Hong Kong), highlighting comprehensively remodeled graphics.



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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Ryo Lost in the Golden Qr | Mods & Hacks

"I'm looking for the Yin Tan apartments". Ryo climbs a nearby street light for a better view.


This picture was taken using a hack for the PC version of Shenmue II that lets Ryo walk through walls - and in the air.
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Monday, October 15, 2018

The New Shenmue Guide Map: The Differences

The New Shenmue Guide Map: The Differences


The Shenmue "Sacred Spot" Guide Map is a multi-page tourist pamphlet highlighting locations of interest to Shenmue fans around Yokosuka and is a collaborative effort between Yokosuka City and SEGA. It was originally released at the end of 2017 in both English and Japanese versions (see our video about the map with links to their pdf downloads).

A new edition of the map has made an appearance at SEGA's booth at the 2018 recent Tokyo Game Show in September.
Shenhua shows off the new edition of the map at TGS 2018.
Shenhua shows off the new edition of the map at TGS 2018.
In this post we compare the new version directly with the original, page by page, to see what differences there are.

The language of the new version is Japanese (whereas the original map also had an English version). This is understandable, given its purpose as a promotional item for the release Shenmue I & II in Japan, as we shall see.

Note: an official pdf of the new map is not available, so photos have been used which may introduce some color variation.
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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Walking Through Walls: Automated Cheat Tool for Shenmue One


While playing Shenmue it's not unusual to wonder what lies behind some of the inaccessible areas in the game. It would be fun to roam around the world of Shenmue outside of the usual boundaries - peeking behind shop counters, strolling over to areas blocked off by walls, or even running out onto the road to play chicken with the traffic.

Over the years, talented hackers and modders in the Shenmue community figured out the changes needed to achieve this in the Dreamcast version of the games. And with the re-releases it turns out that a similar approach can be taken for the re-release games, as described in our earlier post.

Today we present our automated cheat tool for Shenmue I, a program that allows Ryo to walk past the usual boundaries at the click of a button. This tool is for use with the PC (Steam) version of Shenmue I.

Read on for details on how to use it to go exploring for yourself. The download link can be found at the end of the post.

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Exploring the Road Outside New Yokosuka Harbor | Video


In recent posts we've seen a few interesting places Ryo can go once the in-game boundary restrictions are removed: such as over to the warship in the harbor, or even behind the mirror in the Russiya China shop in Dobuita.

This time Ryo is out exploring the road in front of New Yokosuka Harbor, for which access is normally limited to the area in front of the bus stop. Along the way he greets an abusive guy pushing a trolley, and witnesses some questionable driving.


Related post:
  • See our post about our one-click tool for information on how to easily turn collision detection off in Shenmue I, allowing Ryo to literally walk behind the scenes. 
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Thursday, October 11, 2018

How Reflections Work in Shenmue: Russiya China Shop (Video)


This video, created by James Brown, demonstrates how Shenmue creates the clever illusion of a fully-working mirror within the game. The location is the Russiya China Shop in Dobuita.

He comments on the Shenmue Dojo forums:
"I decided to check out the infamous reflection technique that was used back in the day to get around the obvious lack of technology for creating a mirror image! The mirror in Russiya China Shop and the one in Ryo's basement were the 2 obvious choices. I decided to check out Russiya first and even though I knew it was going to happen, it still blew my mind the genius of creating a second room that's mirrored next to the main store, and creating a like for like movement second Ryo so it appears that Ryo's reflection is actually present in the mirror (when in fact it's just a second Ryo character model standing in a second room! :D )"
The part where Real Ryo speaks to the shop owner from behind the mirror (with Reflection Ryo standing there quietly) is quite creepy!



Related post:

  • See our post about our one-click tool for information on how to easily turn collision detection off in Shenmue I, allowing Ryo to literally walk behind the scenes. 
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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Warship at New Yokosuka Harbor | Video

The Warship at New Yokosuka Harbor | Video

When Ryo explores New Yokosuka harbor in Amihama, he has a view of a battleship sitting across the harbor, but he isn't able to get a very good look at it.

The inclusion of this ship in the game, which has the designation "975" on its side, is historically accurate and is based on an actual ship that was stationed in Yokosuka around the timeframe of the game:

The ship in the game is based on one that actually existed.

And using a hack to allow Ryo to walk outside the normal bounds, we take a walk over to the ship and inspect it up close as demonstrated in this video.

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Monday, October 8, 2018

Walking Through Walls | Part One: Collision Detection in Shenmue



Today's topic was selected by the Phantom River Stone blog patrons via our monthly poll. If you'd like to have a say in what subjects we cover next, consider supporting us on Patreon!

The topic we'll be looking at today is about collision detection in Shenmue. The aim is to allow Ryo to "walk through walls" and roam around the landscape freely, without being constrained by the boundaries normally in place in the game.

The discussion will be divided into three parts:
  • Part One (this post): some technical background of the knowledge contributed by Shenmue community members on the way collision data is stored in the Shenmue games, and a proposed approach for applying this to the Shenmue I & II re-releases.
  • In Part Two, we will provide an easy-to-use file you can run to allow Ryo walk through walls for any area in Shenmue I (on PC). No technical expertise required!
  • Part Three will introduce a tool for Shenmue II.
Note: although today's overview is somewhat technical, do not worry if you aren't able to follow everything; in the following posts of this series we will be providing a tool that takes care of all the necessary changes on behalf of the player.

Hacking & the Shenmue Community


The Shenmue fan community has a strong hacking / modding scene that goes back many years, right to the day the original games were released on the Dreamcast. This activity continues with vigor today, new graphic & sound mods appearing already for the recently-released PC (Steam) version of Shenmue I & II.
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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Aerial View of Yamanose | Mods & Hacks

Looking down over Yamanose on a rainy day.


(This picture was taken using a hack for the PC version of Shenmue I that lets Ryo walk through walls - and in the air. We will be covering this hack soon on the blog).
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Saturday, October 6, 2018

Ryo vs the Bus | Mods & Hacks

Ryo peers through the front window of the bus to get a view of the detailed interior. Advertisements for a motorbike and cigarettes can be seen on the walls. Ryo, you'll make the bus run late!




(These pictures were created using a hack for the PC version of Shenmue I that lets Ryo walk onto the roadway. We will be covering this hack on the blog in the near future).
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Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for October

Every month Phantom River Stone holds a poll among our patrons to choose a topic for the blog in the coming month. The results are in for October, and the most highly-voted topic (including accumulated votes from previous months) was...

"The altar at the Hazuki Residence." During the game, Ryo vows before this altar to find his father's killer. We'll look at how such altars are a part of day-to-day life for many Japanese households.


We'll be releasing it on the blog later this month.

If you're interested in reading it early, check us out on Patreon - the $2 tier will get you early access as soon as its ready, plus access to all early-access posts for the month. Or participate in voting for a monthly blog topic at one of the higher tiers.
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Friday, October 5, 2018

"Shenmue Shorts" Weekly News Round-up for Patrons

"Shenmue Shorts" Weekly News Round-up for Patrons

This month we're trying to spread the word about some of the cool rewards we've got for prospective supporters over on our Patreon page, and here's the first!

Each week we publish an easy-to-digest news summary we call "Shenmue Shorts", covering the events, Kickstarter updates, industry community news of interest to Shenmue fans over the past 7 days. It's available to all our patrons, at any tier.

Check out the latest Shenmue Shorts below, and consider joining us as a patron if you'd like to help support the blog & stay up-to-date with Shenmue news!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

2-Year Anniversary & October Patreon Challenge

Phantom River Stone has recently passed its 2 year anniversary!

As a kind of commemoration, we've set ourselves a fun challenge of reaching 50 Patreon supporters by Oct 31. At the end all patrons will go into a draw for a special Shenmue item.

If you'd like to help us get there, visit our Patreon page. And of course, thank you to our existing patrons for your support and helping to keep the blog running.


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Shenmue at TGS 2018 | Event Visit Report

Shenmue at TGS 2018 | Event Visit Report

On Saturday, September 22nd, I joined the flood of eager game fans attending the first Public Day of the 2018 Tokyo Game Show. Information about the event in the days leading up to it indicated an exciting amount of Shenmue-related content, including a panel discussion, SEGA merchandise including a new official Shenmue T-shirt, and a hands-on play area at the SEGA booth for Shenmue I & II. Yu Suzuki himself had even made a surprise on-stage appearance during the Business Days.

Here is a report on everything Shenmue I encountered on my visit.

Getting to the Event


The day that dawned was gray and drab, with the smell of possible rain in the air. The event venue, as usual, was in Chiba prefecture at the sprawling Makuhari Messe convention center, so my alarm clock was set even earlier than Ryo's usual waking time for departing on the hour-and-a-half train journey.

Upon arrival at the convention center's train station, kitted out in my vintage Shenmue T-shirt I joined the flow of passengers heading in a single direction - no need to consult a map!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Shenmue I & II Japan Pre-order Bonuses

Shenmue I & II Japan Pre-order Bonuses

Retail outlets in Japan have embraced the upcoming release of Shenmue I & II (scheduled for domestic release in November 22 on PS4), with several offering exclusive pre-order bonuses that will make any collector start to salivate!

Here is a survey of current bonuses on offer in Japan with a pre-order of the Shenmue I & II Regular or Limited edition.

Last updated: 5 October, 2018.
SEGA Japan has now added images of the various bonuses to the official Shenmue I & II website.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Kickstarter Update #92: Survey Reminder & Thanks from Chibi Yu-chan


YS Net has released a brief update following the end of the Slacker Backer campaign last month. Yu Suzuki, in the form of an animated chibi "Yu-chan," thanks backers for their support and sends a reminder to everyone that backer surveys will be closing at the end of this month. Make sure to respond (or make any final adjustments) at the Fangamer site this week if you have not already!

The Yu-chan chibi shows a range of facial expressions as he chats (and changes his pose from kneeling to standing), and a static image of the Bailu village house we have seen in a previous video has been used as the background image, with a light "pencil effect" applied.

Here is his video message:


For more details, see the official update at Shenmue.link


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Monday, September 24, 2018

Shenmue III Trailer "The Prophecy" Dissection [Part Three]

Shenmue III Trailer "The Prophecy" Dissection [Part Three]

Welcome to Part Three of our three-part analysis of the Shenmue III release date announcement trailer. If you haven't read them already, Part One can be found here and Part Two here.

We continue on from the second part, in which Ryo appeared to be taking part in some kind of sparring challenge with a silver-haired man inside an opulently-decorated room. Immediately after this, the scene changes back to the caverns at the Stone Pit.

Exploring the Cave

We see Ryo and Shenhua - or, to be specific, their legs - at the start of a rocky passage, with another illuminated area of the cave beyond. Reflections are cast off pools of murky water on the ground. Cables are strung along the cave roof, most likely more of the "fuses" that set the cave's network of torches alight, as seen at the end of Shenmue II.
Ryo leads the way down a rocky passage.
Ryo leads the way down a rocky passage.
We have seen a shot very similar to the one above before in July. It was displayed on the monitor at the voice recording session, in a photo posted by the actress who will play the Japanese voice of Shenhua (Haruka Terui):
A photo from a voice-recording session for the Japanese audio with Haruka Terui (right; voice of Shenhua) and Masaya Matsukaze (left; voice of Ryo).
A photo from a voice-recording session for the Japanese audio with Haruka Terui (right; voice of Shenhua) and Masaya Matsukaze (left; voice of Ryo).
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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Yu Suzuki to Produce New VR Battle Game "VRSUS" | Tokyo Game Show

Today Yu Suzuki made an appearance on the stage at the 2018 Tokyo Game Show -- not in this case for Shenmue (although he did take the opportunity to play the recent Shenmue III trailer), but rather as part of a presentation to announce a new virtual reality arcade game.

Yu was approached to participate in the project, and has taken up the role of General Producer for its development. He will be working on the game together with virtual reality company JPPVR Corporation, a company that sell VR rigs for arcades, and their software development subsidiary company VRes.


Yu explained that some of the reasons for his involvement include his extensive background in developing arcade games at SEGA since the early 1980s, as well as his interest and experience in Virtual Reality (he made reference to some involvement in VR around 1991 - perhaps not coincidentally this was the period when the Sega VR headset was under development, although it didn't make it to market).

Yu also mentioned that one of the reasons he agreed to become a part of this project was because he wants to help "liven up" the arcades.

The working title for the new game is VRSUS (pronounced "versus"), a play on the nature of the game being a one-on-one battle in a virtual reality space, and a prototype has already been developed.


A demonstration of an actual battle was also given using the prototype. The two players were equipped with a VR headset suspended from overhead arms, and held position-sensing controllers in their hands that allowed them to fire a stream of ball-like missiles.



Here is a short clip of the prototype of the game:

Commented Yu: "In its current state it is a true prototype, and I'm still feeling out which aspects will make for an interesting game. Going forward I'd like to work with things like 'bullet time' (which slows down time) and the concept of dodging through a slew of balls within a 3D confined space".

Video


Video of the presentation (mainly in Japanese) can be viewed on Niconico.

Shenmue III


Regarding any potential effect on Shenmue III, the short answer is that there will be none. Shenmue III remains Yu Suzuki's priority and focus, as succinctly stated here by Ali on the official Shenmue III Ambassador account:


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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Shenmue I & II at TGS 2018 | Tokyo Game Show

Shenmue I & II at TGS 2018 | Tokyo Game Show

The annual Tokyo Game Show (TGS) opens on Thursday September 20th, at its usual venue of Makuhari Messe in Chiba prefecture. The first two days are Business Days, with the Public Days being on the weekend: Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd.

Entry to the show is 1,000 yen if bought prior, or 1,200 yen if bought on the day.

Entry is from 10 am, although there is a note on the official site that there is a possibility that doors may open earlier at 9:30 am "depending on the situation".

SEGA

SEGA will of course be present, and what's more will be promoting Shenmue! Here is an overview of what they have in store.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

New Shenmue T-Shirt at TGS 2018

SEGA has prepared a new piece of Shenmue merchandise for sale at the Tokyo Game Show later this month in the form of a T-shirt!

The front has an image of Ryo driving a forklift truck, with a crate that says "Shenmue" on the side. The rear has a small image of the tiger motif from the back of Ryo's jacket in the game. And, in a nice additional touch, the sleeve has a directional sign "No.1-17" that echoes the markings that can be seen at harbor in Shenmue I.


The price of the T-shirt is 3000 yen including tax (sizes: M / L / XL).

As well as the T-shirt, a Shenmue-themed pin badge will be available from the capsule toy machines - and as usual, you will need to try your luck to get hold of it. The design is the same as the one seen at the 2015 Tokyo Game Show & SEGA Fes earlier in the year, with the Dreamcast logo at the bottom.

The Shenmue pin badge will be available from the capsule toy machines
The full line-up of SEGA merchandise at TGS 2018 can be viewed on the official site (Japanese).

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

Shenmue III Trailer "The Prophecy" Dissection [Part Two]

Shenmue III Trailer "The Prophecy" Dissection [Part Two]

Welcome to Part Two of our analysis of the Shenmue III release date announcement trailer. Part One can be found here.

We pick up as Ryo, backpack on one shoulder, steps off the berthed ferry across a rough ramp of wooden boards, onto the wharf at Choubu.

Disembarking from the Ferry


Ryo steps onto the wharf.
Ryo steps onto the wharf.
A lot of small graphical details help to bring the scene to life, such as a puff of steam produced from inside the ferry. The glass in the windows are smeared, and grimy residue can be seen on the walls and under the port holes.
Small graphical details: a puff of steam (left); smeared windows (middle) and grimy walls (right).
Small graphical details: a puff of steam (left); smeared windows (middle) and grimy walls (right).
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Saturday, September 8, 2018

d3t's "Toughest Project": Interview on the Shenmue I & II Rereleases [PCGamer]


PC Gamer has published an interview with Noel Austin, technical director at d3t Limited, the development studio behind the rerelease of Shenmue I & II to modern platforms.

Noel reveals some fascinating pieces of information about the way the original games and the challenges involved that will surprise even veteran fans.

We recommend reading the full article (link below), but here is a condensed summary:
  • The project got underway in October 2015, when d3t gained access to the "massive" Shenmue archive of data and started planning their approach.
  • At least 20 developers in total worked on the code over the course of the project, with the team size growing to around 10 developers at its largest point.
  • The project was "by far the toughest" project d3t has ever done.
    • Source code was not available for the Dreamcast libraries (and hence for Shenmue I which was released only for that console).
    • For Shenmue I, some of the biggest challenges were around the hardware:
      • Sound: the loop points, reverb, volumes, envelopes etc that were specified within separate programs for the Dreamcast's audio chip had to be reverse engineered.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Exclusive Pre-Order Bonus at SEGA Japan's Online Shop | Shenmue 1&2 Limited Edition

Exclusive Pre-Order Bonus at SEGA Online Shop | Shenmue 1&2 Limited Edition [Japan]

SEGA Japan's official online shop is offering a special exclusive bonus, while stocks last, for customers who pre-order the Japan Limited Edition version of Shenmue I & II (to be released on November 22nd).

The bonus takes the form of a custom-designed "QUO" prepaid card to the value of 500 yen in a custom envelope.
QUO cards can be used to pay for items at convenience stores in Japan, as well as a number of other shops.
QUO cards resemble phone cards and come in many designs.
QUO cards resemble phone cards and come in many designs.
This bonus was created as a tribute to the daily allowance of 500 yen that Ine-san leaves out for Ryo each day in the first Shenmue game.
Ryo picks up his daily allowance envelope (Shenmue I)
Ryo picks up his daily allowance of 500 yen (Shenmue I)

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Shenmue III Trailer "The Prophecy" Dissection [Part One]

Shenmue III Trailer "The Prophecy" Dissection [Part One]

Among the opening presentations at the recent Gamescom 2018 event in Cologne was an announcement trailer for the release date for Shenmue III: August 27th, 2019. This brand new trailer reveals new locations and characters - as well as some familiar faces from Shenmue II revealed again for the first time in this third game.

The trailer is approximately 1.5 minutes in length, and in this post, we'll be walking through and dissecting each of the scenes to catch those small details that are easy to miss when watching the video in a single sitting - and also simply to appreciate the the presentation of the scenes.

The trailer video can be viewed below if you would like to refresh your memory before we dive in:

And now let's get started!


"The Prophecy"


The name of the trailer is "The Prophecy", as per the description on the official YouTube video, and once it starts the naming makes sense: throughout the video the voice of Shenhua can be heard reciting the prophetic poem that describes her predestined meeting with Ryo.

The words of the poem are the same as the one she recites before the start of Shenmue II (the Shenmue I version of the poem is a shorter version). The words retain their impressiveness as they foretell not only of her preordained encounter with Ryo but with a fantastical description of the two mythical beasts that decorate the mirrors: the Dragon and the Pheonix:
From a distant land in the East, from across the sea,
he shall appear.
He does not know of the strength hidden within him.
The strength that would destroy him.
The strength that would fulfill his wishes.
When he is ready, he shall seek me out.
And we shall brave together the rocky path.
I shall wait...
This encounter has been my destiny since ancient times.
A Dragon shall emerge from the earth and dark clouds
shall obscure the heavens.
A Phoenix shall descend from above,
Its wings will create a purple wind.
In the midst of the pitch-black night
a morning star shall glisten... alone...
This is the first time we get to hear the new Japanese voice of Shenhua, with the voice actress from the first two games, Hazuki Ishigaki, having since retired from the business. Shenhua's new voice is performed by Haruka Terui as announced in Kickstarter Update #82, and she has really managed to capture a similar feel.
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Sunday, August 26, 2018

"Don't you know that blackmail is waaaay uncool?" | Translation Analysis

"Don't you know that blackmail is waaaay uncool?" | Translation Analysis
Today's analysis by Phantom River Stone: Ryo's words when he comes across some punks shaking someone down at the harbor may sound cheesy, but how do they stack up against the original Japanese?
"Don't you know that blackmail is waaaay uncool?" The line by Ryo Hazuki is delivered seriously, but has found affection with the fans for its slightly cheesy, over-the-top words, and is one of the most recognized lines from the English version of Shenmue.

It occurs during the scene when Ryo scolds two thugs who are attempting to extort money from a man at the harbor.

Something that may have crossed the mind of players of the English version is whether the line sounds more convincing, or has difference in meaning in the Japanese version of the game. Today we'll attempt to answer that question.

Other Quirky Lines: 

Here are some of our previous posts in which we have analyzed specific quirky, but often iconic, utterances heard within Shenmue:
Let's proceed with today's analysis.


The Scenario


A bus pulls up at the bus stop, and the back doors open. Ryo Hazuki steps out and looks around him at the barbed-wire fencing and commercial buildings of Amihama. After getting his bearings, he locates the main entrance of the harbor area, and walks through.

As Ryo enters the harbor compound, his attention is caught by the sound of thuggery...
As Ryo enters the harbor compound, his attention is caught by the sound of thuggery...
As he does so, the snarling voice of a thug reaches him:

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Yu Suzuki Accepts the Special Award at CEDEC 2018 | Video

Yu Suzuki Accepts the Special Award at CEDEC 2018

As reported last month, the organizers of CEDEC 2018 voted to select Yu Suzuki for the annual Special Award in recognition of his pioneering and revolutionary contributions to the game industry. The Special Award, decided by members of the CEDEC steering committee, is given for "overall contributions to game development". (See our earlier blog post.)
  • CEDEC: the Computer Entertainment Developers Conference, held annually in Japan primarily for members of the entertainment industry.
The awards ceremony was held yesterday on August 23rd at the Pacifico Event center in Yokohama, and Yu Suzuki attended in person to receive his award, starting with a selfie he tweeted prior to the ceremony.
Yu Suzuki via Twitter: "Here I am at CEDEC!"
Yu Suzuki via Twitter: "Here I am at CEDEC!" (source tweet)
Watch a short clip of Yu receiving his award below (our thanks to Shenmue 3 Ambassador Ali Novin for permission to include this exclusive video and photographs).


The short speech that Yu Suzuki gave in acceptance of the award translates follows:
"My ideal for game creation is something that combines technology with [artistic] sense at the highest level; something that I’m always thinking about. I’m extremely happy to have the honor of receiving this kind of award from CEDEC, which has so many technically skilled members from the industry. Thank you very much."
After the ceremony had finished, a group photo was taken with all the CEDEC award winners, with Yu Suzuki taking at the front and center of the group.

Yu Suzuki with the other award winners at CEDEC 2018 (photo courtesy of Ali Novin)
Yu Suzuki with the other award winners at CEDEC 2018 (photo courtesy of Ali Novin)

Quote from Yu Suzuki

Fans of Shenmue and his numerous arcade hits of the past will know how well-deserved it was for Yu to receive this recognition. Congratulations, Yu!


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Monday, August 20, 2018

Shenmue 3 Announcement & Video Tomorrow at Gamescom

A short but exciting Kickstarter update, entitled "Gamescom 2018 Update #1", has been released announcing the news that a Shenmue 3 announcement is planned for the opening day of the Gamescom event tomorrow. Furthermore, a video is also being prepared for the announcement.

Key details:
  • Shenmue III announcement/video planned for Tuesday the 21st, at 11:00~13:00 CEST (17:00~19:00 JST) Correction: the time in JST converts to 18:00~20:00 JST.
  • Livestreaming available at the Gamescom official website

Below is a high-resolution version of the image that accompanied the update. In the background we see the Shenhua character model at the left (with her hair in plaits), and on the main monitor is a night scene of what looks to be a ferry at the Choubu habor, with a full moon and star-studded sky behind. An identification number, M06_S0006, appears in the top-right corner; similar to the ones seen in previous cut-scene stills.

Although it is hard to see clearly, it appears there may be figures standing on the wharf... No doubt this will become clear in tomorrow's video!



Source: link to official update
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Sunday, August 12, 2018

New Series: Yu Suzuki's 1993 Research Trip to China Part 1 | Kazunari Uchida's Blog Post Translation


In 1993 Yu Suzuki spent two weeks in China gathering material for his upcoming Virtua Fighter II game, and his findings also greatly influenced his creation of Shenmue. In this first part of a new series, Phantom River Stone has translated blog posts by the person who accompanied Yu on this journey.
Today's post topic was selected by Phantom River Stone patrons in our monthly poll for a topic suggestion for the month of July. 

In the year 1993, Yu Suzuki made a trip to China to research and gather material that had a direct impact on his creation of the Virtua Fighter games, and also on his later concept for "Virtua Fighter RPG" which eventually came to be known as Shenmue.

To date there has not been a lot of information available about this trip. Yu has made mention of this trip during presentations, notably his talk on Shenmue at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco at which he shared photos of some of the places visited. Then during my investigation for this article, I came across some posts on a personal blog that were written by the person that Yu made the trip together with - and who later worked with him on the actual Shenmue project: a man by the name of Kazunari Uchida.

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

"What is Shenmue" SEGA Video Series | Parts 1 & 2: Storyline and Characters


SEGA Europe has released two videos narrated by Corey Marshall, the voice of Ryo Hazuki in the English version of Shenmue. The first part details the storyline of Shenmue and what makes it so compelling. The second part delves deeper into the characters encountered during the journey.

The videos showcase footage from the soon-to-be released Shemue I & II (its release date is August 21st for most regions outside of Japan).



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