Tuesday, December 31, 2019

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

It is hard to believe that over two 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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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Is Joy related to Master Chen? | Analysis

Joy's Connection to Master Chen & Guizhang

This topic was selected by the Phantom River Stone blog patrons via our monthly poll on Patreon.

From playing Shenmue II, one might gain the impression that Joy is related to Master Chen, from certain conversations in which she refers to him as "Uncle Chen". Does she mean this literally?
A conversation in which Joy speaks of "Uncle Chen."
A conversation in which Joy speaks of "Uncle Chen."
Before dealing with this question directly, it makes for a good opportunity to review various pieces of information from within and outside the game that can be found regarding their relationship, including some optional conversations that might be missed on an initial playthrough.

Let's start by examining the profiles of Joy and Master Chen, as well as Master Chen's son Guizhang.

Joy's Profile Description

Joy's profile on SEGA Japan's Shenmue I & II site
Joy is the same age as Ryo at 18 years old. Here is an excerpt from her profile description, translated from Sega's Shenmue I & II website:
Her father, Chunyun Liang, presides over the harbor's trading business and is someone people trust deeply. Joy is his only daughter, and as a result, she is looked up to by many people at the harbor.

Like Ryo, Joy lost her mother when she was a child. Because of this, her father indulges her. She is acquainted with Master Chen and his son in Yokosuka, and they contact each other from time to time.
So Joy knows Master Chen and Guizhang, however the phrasing used, "acquainted with," sounds somewhat formal and doesn't hint at a family connection.
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Friday, March 22, 2019

[Video | English Captions] Yu Suzuki's Shenmue 3 Talk at MAGIC 2019

Earlier this month on March 9th at the MAGIC event in Monaco, Yu Suzuki gave a stage presentation about Shenmue III during which he revealed fresh information about the game. While we posted a summary of highlights at the time, a video of the presentation with English subtitles is now ready.

The video can be viewed below, and a written transcript of the presentation follows the video.

The moderator of the presentation was David De Ville and the interpreter was Kenji Kojima. We would like to thank them both for the excellent job they did on stage, as well as all their many hours of unseen efforts behind the scenes.

Shenmue Master kindly provided the video footage. Thank you to Yokosuka from the Shenmue Dojo for the question translations. Yu Suzuki's responses were translated by Switch.

Transcript of the Presentation

Shenmue 3 Kickstarter and Announcement at E3 2015

Q: First of all, I would like to return to a key element, since Shenmue 3 was born on the Kickstarter platform. Kickstarter is what allowed us to see Shenmue 3 as it is today. It's good to remind ourselves of the two Kickstarter records that Shenmue 3 broke. The first one is the fastest $1 million pledged for a Kickstarter video game, in just 1 hour 44 minutes. The second is the most-funded Kickstarter video game ever. Let's applaud this great achievement!


YS: Thank you.

Q: I am curious to know what you thought about the Kickstarter campaign. What are your memories?

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Virtua Fighter CG Portrait Series | Guest Post by James Brown

Today's guest post was authored by James Brown (Twitter: @skilljim, YouTube: youtube.com/theskilljim). Thanks to James for the great write-up!

Back in 1995 Yu Suzuki with his AM2 team and SEGA released a 10-disc series of stand alone SEGA Saturn discs called the Virtua Fighter CG Portrait Series. Each of the discs contained computer-generated art and a unique music track, some even featuring vocals from the iconic Daytona singer himself, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi!

Each disc focused on one specific Virtua Fighter character, and there was also a bonus 11th "not for sale" disc that was based on the character Dural (and could only be obtained in exchange for sending the spine cards of the previous 10 discs to Sega).

All the discs are shown here below:
The complete set of 11 discs in the CG Portrait series
Each of the discs feature a wealth of fantastic early 3D concept art that still looks great today -  a testament to Yu Suzuki and his vision for realism.
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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Steven Spielberg's Reaction to Virtua RPG Helped Greenlight Development

A photo of Steve Spielberg visiting Yu Suzuki and the development studio during the 1990s has emerged online, in an written interview by Japan's 4Gamer with the then-business-director of AM2 ( Hisashi Suzuki - yes, another Suzuki!).

With Steve Spielberg was Mark Cerny, who was not working at SEGA at the time but was accompanying Spielberg for another project.
Sega Development Studio tour. Top: Hisashi Suzuki (AM2 business director), Yu Suzuki (AM2 development head), Hisao Oguchi (AM3 development head), Steven Spielberg, Mark Cerny. Bottom: Mie Kumagaya (AM3 developer) and Steven Spielberg's son.
Due to Spielberg's enthusiastic comments ("wonderful!") on being shown Virtua Fighter RPG, Shenmue's early form, apparently SEGA's CEO was put in such a good mood that he greenlit the start of full-on development.

A second photo of Yu Suzuki with Steven Spielberg and son has been previously shared before online:
Yu Suzuki with Steve Spielberg and son, most likely taken during the same visit as the previous photo.
It's interesting to identify that this photo is likely to have been during the same office visit, based on the matching clothing.

The 4Gamer article contains other interesting anecdotes about Yu Suzuki and Shenmue so we hope to be able to provide a translation of these parts on the blog in the future.

Source: 4Gamer (Japanese)
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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Shenmue Postcard & Name Card Set (2000) | Shenmue Merchandise

Today we'll take a look at a Shenmue item I hadn't seen before, which was produced back at the time of the original release of Shenmue as a bonus for readers of Japan's Famitsu DC magazine in early 2000.

The bonus was an exclusive insert of detachable post cards & name cards featuring the Shenmue CG art from Shenmue's original promotion. The illustrations are: Shenhua in an exquisite headdress, Ryo striking a fighting stance, Ryo & Nozomi on a motorcycle and Shenhua standing in falling snow.

The idea was that the reader would remove the card they wished to send from the sheet, fill it out and send it like a normal postcard.

Sheet 1:

Sheet 2:

The "name cards" are smaller-sized cards containing spaces for a contact's name, address, birthday, blood type (believed by some to give insight into a person's personality) and telephone/fax machine number, with lines for notes on the reverse side.

The text at the top of the first sheet reads:
"Special Shenmue postcards and name cards, exclusive to Famitsu DC. March is graduation season. Why not send one to that special someone, with a few words of congratulation and appreciation".
The second sheet also has some words of encouragement to get posting:
"Shenmue: at last, that day has arrived to play it. Why not write a message with your memories of this great year and hopes for the new year to come, and send a special Famitsu DC postcard to your friends and acquaintances!"
The reverse side has all the necessary markings for filling in a message, address and post code.

I wonder whether any magazine readers actually went ahead and posted a card...

Thank you to Retro Import Gamer for providing the photos for this article. They have this set available right now at their Ebay store, in excellent condition. All items ship from the UK.

View the Shenmue Postcard & Name Set on Ebay
Or view other Shenmue items listed on the Retro Import Gamer website.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Observations on "Ryo & Master" Shenmue 3 Trailer | Part One

A new Shenmue 3 trailer was shown at MAGIC Monaco, giving us the chance to see Ryo interacting in several different situations around Bailu village. In this post, we'll highlight some of the details, especially the smaller, easy-to-miss ones, with an assumption that the reader has already watched the trailer through (if not, the link follows).
The observations will be spread over a series of posts, this being the first.

Note: some of the images in this post have been upscaled / filtered.

Sound and Music

Two main pieces of music play in the trailer, both from the original games' soundtrack. The video initially opens to the majestic crash of cymbals from the opening notes of the original Shenmue main theme, which accompanies the scenes. When the action turns to fighting, the music changes to the well-known piece known in English among fans as "Earth and Sea" (and officially as "Continent and Sea" as Sega Japan recently clarified). Finally, the main theme reprises with an erhu solo at the end.

Sound effects also can be heard: the chirping of birds, the scrape of a sliding door being pulled open, the tread of boots on ground as well as various whooshes and swishes during the fighting sequences. Not forgetting the anxious cluck of the chickens as they dash out of the way.

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Sunday, March 10, 2019

New Shenmue 3 Trailer: "Ryo and Master" From MAGIC Monaco | Kickstarter Update #98

A new Shenmue 3 trailer was shown during the Crazy Time session at MAGIC Monaco yesterday, which has been named "Ryo and Master".

The scenes appear to take place entirely Bailu village and its surroundings. The video, which is just over two-and-a-half minutes long, shows Ryo interacting in various ways with characters, including a training scene with the titular master, snippets of conversations and combat. There is also a dream sequence showing Lan Di and a frightened Shenhua. The characters are voiced in Japanese, with English subtitles.

The trailer was also announced as Kickstarter Update #98, with a brief message to backers indicating there will be more information to follow:
"We know we have not put up a development report for a while, but please rest assured that production is steadily moving forward, and we hope to share more info with you very soon!"
We will be putting up an analysis of some of the finer details of the trailer on the blog soon.

Watch the new trailer below:

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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Yu Suzuki's Shenmue 3 Talk Highlights | Magic Monaco 2019

Image credit: Koch Media UK via Twitter
Yu Suzuki held an on-stage talk on Shenmue 3 at today's MAGIC Monaco event, and revealed some new details about the game. Long-time blog contributor yuc02 was at the event, tweeting live updates and images from the talk for Phantom River Stone.

Here is a collection of the tweets, summarizing highlights from the talk.

The start of the talk was slightly delayed due to the previous session running on, but it was then time for Yu and team to get set up!
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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for March 2019

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 March's topic. After tallying the votes (including accumulated votes from previous months) the winning topic was...

"Learning Japanese through Shenmue: Lesson Two"

It has been a while but it's coming back! Last year we piloted our first Shenmue-themed Japanese lesson, which introduced the various Japanese writing systems (see the screenshots below). In the second lesson we will be introducing some simple greetings in Japanese which can be heard in the game.

We'll be putting together the second lesson later this month. In the meantime, why not refresh yourself with the first lesson:

For early access to this and other articles published on the blog, check us out on Patreon. Link to Phantom River Stone on Patreon.
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Monday, March 4, 2019

Japan's Doll Festival (With a Shenmue Touch)

March 3rd was the Doll Festival celebration in Japan (also known as Girls' Day), for which ornamental dolls are put on display. It is a special day for families to celebrate their young daughters, praying for their success and happiness.

Yu Suzuki and the Shenmue team have joined in the spirit with a celebratory Shenmue-III-themed illustration.

Ryo and Shenhua celebrating the Doll Festival.
Yu Suzuki also wrote a message accompanying the illustration.

The text reads:
"One day late, but yesterday, March 3rd, was the Doll Festival.🎎 Perhaps in America it's still going on?
#Hinamatsuri #girls festival #doll festival #japaneseday #shenmue3"  

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Saturday, March 2, 2019

Exclusive Shenmue III T-Shirt at MAGIC 2019

Images have been revealed of the limited-edition Shenmue III T-shirt to be made available exclusively at the MAGIC 2019 event in Monaco on March 9th where Yu Suzuki will be holding a Shenmue 3 presentation. The announcement was made by Shenmue III co-producer Cédric Biscay, who is also president and CEO of Shibuya Productions, the company behind the annual MAGIC Monaco event.

The T-shirt has a black base, with a small white MAGIC logo on the front, and a large illustration also in white on the back, showing Ryo Hazuki with his back to the viewer, the tiger motif on his jacket visible. Overlaid at the bottom of the illustration is the Shenmue III logo, with some copyright text beneath.

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Monday, February 25, 2019

Image of Shopping Street in Shenmue 3 | Amazon

A pre-order page for Shenmue III has appeared on Amazon's site in France and Germany and it contains a couple of images that have not been shown before.

Shenmue III Box Art on Amazon

The first is this mock-up game cover image showing models of Ryo and Shenhua against a background of the carved Phoenix and Dragon mirrors in the cave from Gamescom 2017. While not identical, it is similar in appearance to the Shenmue III banner on Steam that was updated around October of last year.
Shenmue III cover image on Amazon France

Image of Shopping Street in Choubu 

The sample images on the Amazon page are mainly a mix of those we have seen at previous games events, however there is one image that has not been revealed before, which shows Ryo on the main shopping street in Choubu:

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Shenmue III New Images: Lan Di, Ren and a Riverboat | MAGIC Monaco Local Press Conference

Yesterday three new Shenmue III images were shared by the game's co-producer. Cédric Biscay, as part of a local press conference for MAGIC Monaco 2019. This was separate from the earlier global press conference on February 8th at which new images were also shared (see Yu Suzuki Confirmed for MAGIC 2019 + Two New Shenmue 3 Images)

We will recap the images in this post, commenting on some of the smaller details.

First Image: Lan Di

First image: Lan Di (tap to enlarge)
The detail, lighting and textures in this image are exquisite, from the fine patterning in his silk sleeves to the ornate surroundings. The ceiling decorations, wall scroll and lanterns match those of the room in which Lan Di was standing in the Gamescom 2018 trailer (see Shenmue III Trailer "The Prophecy" Dissection [Part Two]).

Finely-detailed patterning on Lan Di's sleeves.
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Saturday, February 16, 2019

1999 Shenmue Pre-Release Interview with Director Keiji Okayasu | Dreamcast Magazine

1999 Shenmue Pre-Release Interview with Director Keiji Okayasu | Dreamcast Magazine

We have translated a 1999 interview by Dreamcast Magazine with the Game Director of Shenmue, Keiji Okayasu, which took place one week before the release of the first Shenmue game in Japan. This topic was selected by the Phantom River Stone blog patrons via our monthly poll on Patreon.

The interview translation starts below. Some additional images have been inserted.

Keiji Oyakasu was one of the main AM2 leaders involved with porting the Saturn version of Virtua Fighter (1 and 2) from 1994 to 1995. With Shenmue, he has completely dropped off the radar these past 4 years. We track down what has been going on during the 4 years he went “missing in action”!

KO = Keiji Oyakasu

Q: It has been so long that there’s a lot we’d like to ask about. First of all, could you tell us about recent events?

KO: You might suppose I don’t have much to do that Chapter One* is completed, but actually I’m incredibly busy now [laughs]. That’s because Shenmue 2 [the working title] is already getting underway. The fundamental work has already started, and we’re putting together the foundations of the story, If this isn’t done properly, we’ll have trouble later with things like the software and the design, so I’m busy at the start.
*The first Shenmue game was called Shenmue Chapter One: Yokosuka in Japan.
However, up to now I’ve also been responsible for looking after the software program and other parts as well, but from 2 I’ll be completely dedicated to a director-like position, keeping an eye on it as a whole. I’ve also got to get stuck into working on one more game I’m doing, Rent a Hero.

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Tornado Dog at the Mikasa Cafe in Dobuita | Shenmue Coaster Campaign

Earlier in the year, I took the train down to Yokosuka and while I was there, stopped in at the Mikasa Cafe, which sits on the Yokosuka Highway, just around the corner from Dobuita Street.

Dobuita Street in the evening, near "Kurita's Military Surplus" (actually named Kakita). At the front is a standee figure of Kurita-san from Shenmue.
The Mikasa Cafe.
The Mikasa Cafe is one of the shops participating in the currently-running Shenmue Sacred Spot coaster campaign (ending February 24th).

Inside the door was the Shenmue-themed campaign map, which can be taken over to Suwadai Shrine for a commemorative Shenmue stamp during the campaign period. And at the counter, this caught my eye:

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for February 2019

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 February's topic. Tallying the votes (including accumulated votes from previous months) resulted in a tie, so a deciding vote has been made by Switch! So the winning topic was...

"Is Master Chen Joy’s Uncle?"

At a certain point in Shenmue II, as Ryo explores Hong Kong, he may find Joy at an amusement arcade, which triggers a cut scene. During his conversation with Joy, she refers to Master Chen in Yokosuka as "Uncle Chen".

This cut scene has been a point of discussion over the years. We'll look for evidence to help decide whether Joy's words are supposed to be taken literally. Also while we are on the topic, we'll look at Joy's relationships with other people around Hong Kong.

Watch for the article later this month.

For early access to this and other articles published on the blog, check us out on Patreon. Link to Phantom River Stone on Patreon.
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Friday, February 8, 2019

Yu Suzuki Confirmed for MAGIC 2019 + Two New Shenmue 3 Images

Yu Suzuki Confirmed for MAGIC 2019

Some exciting information on Shenmue III was revealed at yesterday's press conference for the upcoming MAGIC 2019 event in Monaco on March 9th. And we were even treated to two new images from the game!

In this post we recap what was shared by Shenmue III's co-producer, Cédric Biscay.

Cédric Biscay at the MAGIC Monaco press conference
Cédric Biscay at the MAGIC Monaco press conference. Photo credit: Raptoror via Twitter

Yu Suzuki's Attendance Confirmed for MAGIC

First and foremost: Yu Suzuki's presence at the event is confirmed with a presentation on Shenmue III. This will be a fantastic opportunity to hear Yu speak more about the game and the latest progress, Autograph signing sessions are also promised.

Yu Suzuki will be at MAGIC Monaco! Photo credit: Pascal Parol via Twitter

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Monday, February 4, 2019

Yu Suzuki Interview by GameCores | Part Two: Development Anecdotes & Shenmue 3

Yu Suzuki Interview by GameCores | Part Two: Development Anecdotes & Shenmue 3

This is Part Two of an interview on a radio show by GameCores, which was held when Yu Suzuki was in China for the G-Fusion event last month (December 2018). Translation to English by yuc02 (contact him at the Shenmue Dojo).

The interview continues below. Go here for Part One.

Related link: this is the full version from which an extract was published earlier on the blog in Shenmue 3 to Include Previously-Cut "Chapter Two Content

GameCores Interview with Yu Suzuki Part Two: Development Anecdotes & Shenmue 3

Original text (Chinese): https://www.gcores.com/articles/105359

YS = Yu Suzuki

Q: Finally, let’s talk about Shenmue. Due to the massive interest in the Shenmue series, you have already revealed many of the stories to other journalists in the past, therefore let's talk a bit in detail about two other things that people haven’t yet mentioned.

Firstly, at the beginning the game was given the codename “Project Berkley”, is there any special meaning behind this name?

YS: It’s actually like this [laughs]. Because we realized at the start that this would be a completely different game to anything else on the market at the time, and its scale was unprecedented, we wanted to keep the project very confidential. Because of this we wanted to give it a very cool sounding name, like something from a spy movie. In Japan there’s this phrase bakkureru* (ばっくれる) meaning to “pretend not to know” or “feign ignorance”, and by coincidence that there is a place in America with a similar sounding name, so we chose this “Project Berkley*” codename.
* In Japanese, the word Berkley is pronounced "bākurē", sharing similar sounds to the word "bakkureru".

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Friday, February 1, 2019

Commentary on "English Voice Recording Report" | Kickstarter Update #96

Commentary on "English Voice Recording Report" | Kickstarter Update #96

A new update (officially Kickstarter Update #96) has been released by the Shenmue III project team, introducing the English voice actors for two of the lead characters in the game. The update contains several photographs from the studio and a "behind the scenes" video clip in which cut scenes from the game can be briefly seen.

In this post, we'll recap the update and pick out some points of interest, particularly the game images that appear on the screens in the video.

Earlier posts relating to voice actors for the Japanese version of the game:

Note: minor spoilers, in the form of a small number of lines of script from the game.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Tough Shenmue Quiz from the Recent Fan Meeting in Yokosuka | Translation

A special Shenmue quiz was held at last month's Shenmue Fan Meeting that was held on Christmas Eve in Yokosuka. The quiz was entitled "How About Trying a Mega-Tough Quiz?" (naturally, spoken in the vein of the owner of a Lucky Hit game trying to attract customers!).

In this post we present the translated quiz questions so you can try for yourselves (answers are hidden in spoiler tags).
The quiz was devised by the MC for the event, Esra Krabbe of IGN Japan (who in fact organized the entire event together with Yokosuka City), with the promise that all the questions, while not easy, are potentially all answerable if you are familiar with through the games.

Give it a try, noting down your answers as you go. The answers follow the end of the questions, of which there are 6 in total.

Mega-Tough Shenmue Quiz from the Recent Fan Meeting in Yokosuka | Translation

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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Yu Suzuki Interview by GameCores | Part One: Early Games Development at Sega

Yu Suzuki Interview by GameCores | Part One: Early Games Development at Sega

Thanks to the prolific translation efforts of yuc02, a newly-translated interview with Yu Suzuki is now available. The text is a transcript of an interview on a radio show by GameCores, which was held when Yu Suzuki was in China for the G-Fusion event last month (December 2018).

The translation starts below. Part Two to follow in a separate post.

GameCores Interview with Yu Suzuki Part One: Yu's Background

Original text (Chinese): https://www.gcores.com/articles/105359

This text is the full transcript of the interview that accompanies the radio program "Let Us Tell You What We Chatted with Yu Suzuki-san About". Thanks to Joe-san and Takeuchi-san’s support, and everyone else’s help with the recording and editing. Finally we thank WeGame for their full support and making this G-Fusion meet with Yu Suzuki possible!

Q: You were born into a family that revolved around the music profession, so why did you choose not to work in music, but instead the gaming industry?

YS: You’re right, my parents both worked in the music industry. They produced traditional music, and my father wanted me to carry on the work; but children are always a bit rebellious, and although I did dabble with music, I went instead towards the rock music route. Anyway, my view is that most children don’t develop in the way their parents would have wanted.

Q: When you were at Okayama University, you had already done research into 3D animation. What in particular did you research?

YS: 3D architecture drawings: building up from wireframe into surfaces that are correct from different perspectives. Personal computers at the time were quite primitive, so we used the mainframe computer at the university to run simulations as well.

Q: You entered Sega in 1983, and by 1984 you were already supervising your first project, the SG-1000 title Champion Boxing. It must be quite rare for someone to be able to take up such responsibility after just one year?

YS: At the time the term “supervisor” didn’t exist in Sega, I was just a project leader. Normally it would take 7-8 years’ experience to be one, and even then only people from the planning department would become a project leader. I don’t know what my boss was thinking, but anyway I became one in my second year!
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

What's On the Menu at the Manpukuken Ramen Restaurant | Translation

What's On the Menu at the Manpukuken Ramen Restaurant | Translation

This topic was selected by the Phantom River Stone blog patrons via our monthly poll on Patreon.

Although Ryo is never seen eating in Shenmue, the attention to detail is just as present with the restaurant interiors as with any of the other locations in the game. They have bottles of sauces and condiments for customers on the table, water dispensers, air conditioners, television sets - and menus showing the names of various dishes, and their prices, served at each establishment.

In this new series of posts, we'll be visiting the restaurants scattered around the Dobuita Street area in the first game to see exactly what they have on offer.

For today's shop, we will be visiting...

Manpukuken Ramen

Manpukuken Ramen is a casual Chinese diner operated by Junko Yamamoto, that opens in the late afternoon and does not close until the early hours of the morning.

Let's take a seat at the counter and see what they have to offer - the second part of their name is a give-away as to what they specialize in!
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Monday, January 21, 2019

Shenmue 3 to Include Previously-Cut "Chapter Two Content" - Yu Suzuki

Yu Suzuki: Shenmue 3 to Include Previously-Cut "Chapter Two" Content

During his visit to China for the G-Fusion event last month, Yu Suzuki carried out a number of interviews including an audio interview for a podcast by GameCores.

This post is a sneak-peek of part of the full interview, courtesy once again of yuc02 (who can be found on the Shenmue Dojo forums). In this extract, Yu talks about the origin of the codename for the project, "Project Berkley", and the meaning behind the name of the ship Ryo takes to Hong Kong. Finally, he reveals plans for Shenmue III to incorporate certain content that had been cut from earlier in the story due to constraints.


According to a 2001 interview, the name of the cut chapter was to have been "Chapter 2 - The Boat", covering Ryo's journey from Yokosuka to Hong Kong, and was to have involved an encounter with Chai. In the end it was scrapped, however it did remain in the form of one of an official Shenmue Side Story manga entitled "Chai & Ryo" that was included with the Xbox version of Shenmue II.
First page of the Shenmue Side Story "Chai & Ryo" that was originally intended to be a playable chapter.
The interview extract starts below.

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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Interview with Yu Suzuki on Shenmue 3 [Gamersky]: Full Transcript - Part Two

Interview with Yu Suzuki on Shenmue 3 [Gamersky]: Full Transcript - Part Two

This is Part Two of a full interview transcript with Yu Suzuki held in China, carried out by Gamersky.com and translated by yuc02 (contact him at the Shenmue Dojo).

The interview continues below. Go here for Part One.

Shenmue 3 Director Yu Suzuki Interview - Fighting System’s Complete Revamp [Part 2]

Original text from https://www.gamersky.com/news/201812/1135488.shtml

YS = Yu Suzuki

Q: You announced that Shenmue 3 would be released in China via WeGame for the PC and Oasis Games for PS4. How did you assess and decide on these two partners?

YS: Shenmue had not yet been officially released in the Chinese market prior to this, so it was important for us to find a reliable partner to expand the series. WeGame is the biggest PC gaming platform in China, with a large player base, so we along with Deep Silver believe that WeGame will be very influential to us in reaching out to new players and markets. In addition we believe as a platform WeGame provides very good marketing and localization services for the developers, which would be very helpful for a new IP like ours. As for the console version, Shenmue used to be a console-only game, and many console players have a lot of affection towards the Shenmue franchise. Sony gave us a lot of help during the Kickstarter process, and as Oasis Games is an important Chinese partner to the PlayStation business, we therefore have a lot of faith in them.
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Monday, January 14, 2019

Interview with Yu Suzuki on Shenmue 3 [Gamersky]: Full Transcript - Part One

We recently posted a translation by yuc02 of a report summarizing an interview held with Shenmue III director Yu Suzuki and animation producer Hiroaki Takeuchi at the recent G-Fusion Tour event in Xiamen, China.
    Today's post, kindly translated once again by yuc02, is a full interview transcript, carried out by Gamersky.com.

    The translation starts below. Part Two to follow in a separate post.

    Shenmue 3 Director Yu Suzuki Interview - Fighting System’s Complete Revamp [Part 1]

    Original text from https://www.gamersky.com/news/201812/1135488.shtml

    Following WeGame’s invitation, the author had the privilege to meet with Shenmue 3 director Yu Suzuki (YS) and animation producer Hiroaki Takeuchi (HT) in Xiamen, and with fellow journalists conducted an interview about the state of the game.

    Shenmue 3 director Yu Suzuki (left) and animation producer Hiroaki Takeuchi (right)
    Shenmue 3 director Yu Suzuki (left) and animation producer Hiroaki Takeuchi (right)
    Q: Apart from the location of Shenmue 3 being set in Guilin, what other aspects of Chinese culture will be represented? The first two games in the series contained the Chinese martial art Bajiquan; will Shenmue 3 introduce more martial arts styles?

    YS: In my early game development years I visited China numerous times, and learned Bajiquan from Master Wu [Master Wu Lian Zhi], with whom I still keep in touch and meet every year, although not on this occasion. I am quite familiar with China, and have visited Xiamen’s Kulangsu for cultural studies, and learned about Chinese architectural styles for the game. We did not carry out any studies on new martial arts, but have incorporated other Chinese styles such as Xingyiquan in the game, although these will not be part of Ryo’s repertoire; rather they’ll be styles owned by other characters.

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    Saturday, January 12, 2019

    Shenmue Documentary: Japan Visit Production Stills

    Last week the team behind the Shenmue Documentary (officially title: "A Gamer's Journey: The Definitive History of Shenmue") posted a Kickstarter update displaying some production stills from footage and interviews captured during their December visit to Japan which really conjure up a taste of how the documentary will feel.

    This first image shows Eigo Kasahara, who was planning director on the original Shenmue games, being interviewed at the SEGA head office. Kasahara also worked on the Japan localisation of the re-released Shenmue I & II, and has participated in several Shenmue related events including last month's Shenmue fan meeting that was held in Yokosuka.

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    Friday, January 11, 2019

    Yu Suzuki's China Interview Report Part Two: Early Game Development Years [YouYanShe Publication Group]

    This is the second part of a translation by yuc02 of a recent Chinese-language article reporting on an interview held with Shenmue III director Yu Suzuki and animation producer Hiroaki Takeuchi at the recent G-Fusion Tour event in Xiamen, China. The report was published on sohu.com.

    Part Two below focuses on Yu Suzuki's earlier years in game development. Go here to read Part One.

    Dialogue with Yu Suzuki On the Birth of Shenmue - Part 2

    Original text & images from http://www.sohu.com/a/283337668_628730

    Aside from Shenmue, we also talked with Yu Suzuki about stories from his early game development years, as well as his views on the video gaming industry. Although his iconic status as one Sega’s top developers in the 80s and 90s has meant that much has already been written about him, it was still fascinating to hear his views and stories in person.

    Prior to working on Shenmue, Yu Suzuki’s work mainly revolved around arcade gaming. At that time many titles were developed from his AM2 studio (Outrun, Space Harrier, Virtua Fighter, Virtua Cop etc.). One can say that he’s worked in, as well as advanced, almost every gaming genre available.

    But in actual fact, he was still not fully satisfied, and wished to try more things on the home gaming front. Yu Suzuki explained that “At the time the golden rule with arcade games is that average play times must be limited to 3 minutes per credit, and given the 30 seconds or so for changing between machines, that left around 2 mins 40 seconds for the developers to showcase the game".

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