Release Countdown to November 19th

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, August 25, 2019

Fan-Made Shenmue Passport Releasing August 27th | Suka Pass

Last year saw the release of Shenmue I & II HD, bringing our beloved game series to the modern day and creating a generation of new fans for the franchise.

However, those familiar with the Dreamcast version missed a certain part of the original release which didn't make the transition forward to the modern day: namely, the Shenmue Passport.

Well, Shenmue fans will not be left without for much longer. A new fan-made app called Suka Pass (a contraction of "Yokosuka Passport") has been in development over the past year, and is now ready for release! 

The release date for the app is in three days' time, on August 27th - a nod to the previously-scheduled release date of Shenmue III, providing fans with something to tide them over until they get their hands on the new game.

You can pre-register over at the Suka Pass website to receive an email with download instructions once the app is released.

Find out more at the Suka Pass website

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Saturday, August 24, 2019

Famitsu Interview with Yu Suzuki at Gamescom 2019 | Translation has published an interview with Yu Suzuki on Shenmue 3 that was carried out at the recent Gamescom 2019 event. This is our translation of the interview.

Note: there is a (minor) story spoiler pertaining to general story content in Shenmue 3 which I have enclosed in a spoiler section.

The translation begins from here.

Currently In Progress: Debugging and Last Adjustments

Q: Is the content of this Gamescom demo the same as the one at E3 2019?

YS:  It has been touched up compared to the previous one. At E3, the gameplay time was set to 15 minutes making it hard to grasp the gameplay loop, so this time we've smoothed out that process and increased the play time to around 45 minutes.

Q: In terms of content, people will be able to experience gameplay at the start of Shenmue 3's story, in Bailu village..?

YS: Yes, you'll be able to play through things like events and the gameplay loop, at Bailu village. However, being a demo version, the content differs a bit from the release version.

I consider Shenmue 3 to be what people call open-world, but it differs from other open-world games so markedly that if you take the same approach as those when playing it, you won't get what makes it special; and I suspect that may lead to a conclusion that "different = bad".

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Yu Suzuki's Signing Sessions at Gamescom 2019

"Last day of the signing sessions"
While at Gamescom, Yu Suzuki held multiple signing sessions in the public exhibition hall, with long queues of fans forming to meet the master. This post contains a selection of some of the pictures shared on social media over the period.

Shenmue III promotion at the Deep Silver booth was most impressive. Above, large panels ensured it could be spotted from afar with an eye-catching image of the Stone Pit's cave with the giant carved mirrors and burning flames .

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Analysis: New Shenmue III Screenshots From Gamescom 2019

Three new still shots of Shenmue 3 have been released, showing off more of the game's detailed environments.

Screenshot 1: Evening Dining in Bailu Village

The first screenshot is a night scene of customers seated at an outdoor table. In the background an elderly man (perhaps the proprietor) is seated at a table laden with sausages, cake and other food items. The customers are turned in his direction - they seem to be getting hungry.
Screenshot #1
The heavy wooden beam and hanging rope in the foreground can be recognized as being the Bailu village well, as seen in this capture from E3 B-roll footage earlier this year:
The Bailu village well

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New Trailer "A Day In Shenmue" Released at Gamescom 2019

Fan-snapped photos and hand-held recordings of a brand new Shenmue 3 trailer on show at Gamescom 2019 have been flying around the internet, and now a direct feed of the trailer is available - and it looks magnificent!

Titled "A Day in Shenmue", it includes scenes of combat, arcade games, exploration and even some interactions with Ren (the rain pouring down during this scene makes for a striking atmosphere). The voices of this version are in English.

We will be writing up an analysis of the trailer's content in a future post.

The trailer was also announced in a Kickstarter Update which included a photo of Yu Suzuki at the Shenmue 3 booth, where he will be continuing to hold signing sessions.

Source: news
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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Yu Suzuki Visits Aachen Old Town | Gamescom 2019

This is the week of Gamescom 2019, with a series of press events already having taken place throughout the day (with some glimpses of Shenmue 3 which we will cover in the next post!). The actual show properly kicks off on Tuesday August 20th, with the first day being for trade and media only.

Yu Suzuki has also of course traveled to Germany for the event, and after arrival took some time to visit the city of Aachen, located an hour's train ride to the west of Cologne. Koch Media has shared photos of his visit to the city's old town and historical center.

Based on clues in the photos, we can even identify some of the locations.
Yu Suzuki poses next to a sculpture of a horse.
This horse is one of a number of galloping horses in a bronze sculpture outside Aachen Central Railway Station.
Horse sculpture seen from the front
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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Nozomi Shows Off Her Fighting Skills: Another Hidden Easter Egg Discovered in Shenmue!

Our report a couple of months back on an easter egg that lets Ryo unleash a punch resembling Street-Fighter's "Shin Shōryūken" against Goro in a harbor QTE scene stirred up a storm of interest from fans, and that post has become our most-viewed post of all-time.

And now, the same legendary Japanese fan who tracked down that easter egg has shared a video of how to unlock a new one that lets Nozomi show off her previously unknown martial art talents in a free battle!

It is astounding that a 20-year old game still has new secrets to be discovered.

Don't take our word for it - watch below to see a side of Nozomi you never knew existed!

According to the fan who made the discovery, who goes by the handle nullpo, a hint about such an easter egg first surfaced in summer of last year (2018) - presumably also courtesy of the former developer who teased the existence of the Shin Shōryūken punch around that timeframe.

With not much more than this to go on, he has been spending his spare time over the last four months analyzing the game's code and eventually succeeding in identifying (and reproducing) the conditions to enable it.

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