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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