Release Countdown to November 19th

Monday, November 11, 2019

MAGIC Kyoto 2019 Travel Report

Held on November 6th, the MAGIC Kyoto event that took place in the Kansai region of Japan is one of the last major events to feature Shenmue 3 prior to its release on the 19th. I traveled down to Kyoto to attend the Shenmue 3 conference live (would there perhaps be a new trailer?) and meet with a number of other Shenmue fans both from within Japan and overseas

In this post I'll share some photos of the trip and event (a mix of those taken by myself and by others).

The venue was located a short bus ride from Kyoto station.

Kyoto tower: the first thing to greet you on exiting the train station.

The MAGIC Kyoto venue location: the Rohm Theater.
Become a Patron!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Mini-Interview with Yu Suzuki at MAGIC Kyoto 2019

We are now just over a week until the release of Shenmue III on November 19th, and to keep the hype building we have something special to share in this post - a brand new interview with Yu Suzuki.

In recent weeks, it was announced that Yu Suzuki would be present at the MAGIC Kyoto event, appearing on stage to talk about the game as well as meeting fans at an autograph signing session. I thought that this could be the last opportunity to speak to the legendary creator prior to its release.

Although no media interviews were officially planned, thanks to the kind arrangements and permission from Shibuya Productions, Koch Media and YS Net I was able to snatch some of Yu Suzuki's precious time at the event.

The interview transcript begins below, translated into English.

Yu's Feeling with the Approaching Release

Phantom River Stone: Thank you for your time today. Please tell us how you feel now that you have finished making Shenmue 3?

Yu Suzuki: I can't wait to release it. There are about two weeks to go now, aren't there. I'm a little nervous thinking about how it will go. However, there's no use feeling nervous. I just want it to be released already! [laughs] I'd like it to be in everyone's hands as soon as possible.

PRS: People's reactions to the Shenmue 3 backer demo have been really positive.

YS: I'm glad to hear that.

PRS: What are you most looking forward to after Shenmue 3's release?

YS: The thing I'm most looking forward to after the release is hearing everyone's impressions, and watching videos uploaded to the web where players comment as they play through.
Become a Patron!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Yu Suzuki Introduces Shenmue 3: Extra Features | Video & Summary

A fourth promotional video has been released, in which Yu Suzuki introduces another aspect of Shenmue III. This time the theme is the activities and mini-games in Shenmue III. The release date of Shenmue 3 is coming up fast on 19th November!

The previous three Shenmue III promo videos in this interview series can be found here:
Here is the new video. It has official English subs, so remember to turn these on!

Text Summary

Below is a summary of the points Yu talks about in the video (based on the Japanese).
Become a Patron!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for November 2019

Every month Phantom River Stone holds a poll among our patrons to choose a topic for the blog in the coming month. After tallying the votes (including accumulated votes from previous months), the winning topic for November was...

"Dobuita's motorcycle shop Knocking in real life - where is it now?"

With its under-repair motorcycles scattered about outside, motorcycle shop "Knocking" is an easy-to-find landmark in Shenmue's Dobuita.

Knocking Motorcycle Shop in Shenmue
The Knocking motorcycle shop in Shenmue was based on an actual shop that existed in Dobuita at the time, and it had a very similar name: "Knock"!

Although no such motorcycle shop can be found on real-life Dobuita Street today, online research suggests that the shop may still actually be in business elsewhere in Yokosuka.

We have made it our mission to try to track down its new location and bring back photographic evidence if it is still operating.

Watch for this article on the blog in the near future.

Get early access to this and other articles by becoming a Patreon supporter!

Become a Patron!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Nagoshi's Involvement with Shenmue's Release | Anecdote from Sega Management [4Gamer]

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

At the end of 2018, Sega's current Chief Creative Officer Toshihiro Nagoshi talked to GamesRadar about his involvement in getting the first Shenmue game ready for release, in particular how he was enlisted by upper management to get the project wrapped up, which he stated he was able to do within a 6-month timeframe.

Not a lot has been reported on this topic in general, so here we share another angle, this time from the point of view of Sega management at the time.

An article published by 4Gamer earlier this year describes a 2012 interview with Hisashi Suzuki who was a senior director at Sega at the time and had formerly been managing Yu Suzuki prior to the Shenmue project. Hisashi Suzuki is the director whose anecdote about Virtua Racing we also translated recently:
The translated excerpt begins below.

According to the testimony of Sega managing director Hisashi Suzuki, the photo below led to the start of a certain big project.

It was taken when top members of the development teams surround a special guest from the US. I'm sure some people will know immediately who it is, but the special guest is Steven Spielberg. Also there was (CEO) Nakayama, although he isn't in the photo, along with Hisashi Suzuki and Yu Suzuki.

Photo description: At the far left, watching the gameplay from over the partition, is Hisashi Suzuki, with Yu Suzuki beside him. Back right is Steven Spielberg, and on his left is Hisao Oguchi. Playing the game are Mie Kumagai and Spielberg's son. At the front right is Mark Cerny, who was formerly worked on Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and is also known for being the lead system architect for the PS4. Cerny was not working for Sega at this time, but is likely to have accompanied Spielberg here due to his involvement in one of Spielberg's projects.
Hisashi Suzuki relates:
 "Spielberg did a tour of Sega, I believe when he was in Japan to promote a movie. He himself owned a game company called GameWorks, you see. Nakayama led the way as they walked around the development offices.
"When he showed Virtua Fighter RPG to Spielberg, he was like, 'That's wonderful!' And that pleased Nakayama so much that he gave the direction to start development on it in earnest."
Become a Patron!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Yu Suzuki Introduces Shenmue 3's Training | Video & Text Summary

A third new promotional video has been released, again featuring Yu Suzuki introducing aspects of Shenmue III. This time the theme is Shenmue III's martial arts training. The release date of Shenmue 3 is coming up fast on 19th November!

There previous two Shenmue III promo videos in this interview series can be found here:
Here is the new video (now with official English subs added):

Text Summary

Below is a summary of the points Yu talks about in the video.

Become a Patron!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Shenmue III Video Advertisement - An Epic Adventure

Yesterday fans reported that a new official Shenmue III video advertisement has been appearing while watching YouTube videos on mobile devices, although it had been proving elusive to capture.

Thankfully a high-quality copy of it has now been posted on the official Shenmue III Facebook page, with a title of "Shenmue III - An Epic Adventure".

Minor spoiler warning: the video is 30 seconds long, and while no new characters are shown it does contain some content that we have not seen before.

View the video:

Become a Patron!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

An Interview with Yu Suzuki by Nagai Industries | Gamescom 2019

We're very pleased to share a new interview that was held with Yu Suzuki at Gamescom 2019 by a passionate Shenmue fan known in the community as Nagai Industries, who in doing so brought a long-held goal of interviewing Yu to reality.

About the author:
Nagai Industries can be found on Twitter and is an indie game developer inspired by the Yu Suzuki's teachings and a freelance journalist.
A Russian-language version of this interview article has also been published on and can be viewed here.

This interview would not have happened without the enormous support of the Shenmue community, of which I became an active part in 2014, when a friend of mine and I started developing a small Shenmue-inspired game — Lucky Hit Challenge.

At that time, the sequels of forgotten game series were popping up on Kickstarter, one by one. We dreamed that, sooner or later, one of these such sequels would be Shenmue III. In the fall of that year, we released the Lucky Hit Challenge in which the player could win money playing Lucky Hit and spend it on the in-game Shenmue III Kickstarter. This project was warmly received by the audience, and two years later I started developing a new project: the social application #ChawanSign that would generate Shenmue memes in augmented reality. It is this project that soon led me to an interview-meeting with Suzuki.

Become a Patron!