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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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Analysis Part Two: Shenmue III Scenes from PS4 Kiosk at Walmart

Welcome to the second half of our analysis of the Shenmue III teaser that was unexpectedly discovered by Shenmue fan Cebman at a US Walmart on a PS4 demo kiosk earlier this month.

If you have not yet read the first post, go here to read our analysis of Part One.

Here is the full video as a refresher (note that the release date at the end of the teaser is incorrect: it shows the old release date of 27th August; which now changed to 19th November. Footage credit: praj from the Shenmue Dojo.

And now let's continue on with the analysis of the final scenes.
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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Mini-Interview with Yu Suzuki at MAGIC 2019 | Museo Dreamcast

A short fan-community interview with Yu Suzuki has been newly released by Spanish-language site Museo Dreamcast (=Dreamcast Museum). The interview was held in March at MAGIC 2019 and was apparently arranged on the spot.

The questions asked were:

  • Which of the SEGA systems is your favorite? Why?
  • Do you have good memories of the development of Ferrari F355 Challenge?
  • Given the technical limitations of the Saturn, did you benefit from from a bigger creative freedom when Shenmue was moved to the Dreamcast?
  • Were you worried before Shenmue 3 was presented at E3 (2015)?
  • Will you start developing Shenmue 4 right after releasing Shenmue 3?

Yu's positive answer to this final question points reflects his undiminished enthusiasm for the series and his desire to continue on with Shenmue 4 and beyond.

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Yu Suzuki Interview & "True Shenmue Experience" Shenmue III Demo Report by A9VG | Guest Post Translation

Chinese gaming site A9VG has released a hands-on impressions report on their Shenmue III time-limited play-through at E3 2019, together with a brief interview with the game's creator, Yu Suzuki.

The review gives details of the combat and training system such as leveling up of moves and their timing, and concludes that Shenmue III "serves up the true Shenmue experience."

The translation is again from the hand of yuc02 who can be found hanging out over at the Shenmue Dojo. 

(Screenshots added from Shenmue III footage released at E3 by IGN Japan).

Shenmue 3 E3 Demo Play-through Report and Yu Suzuki Interview - Fans Should Not Be Disappointed

Shenmue is a game series that conjures up sweet memories for its old fans. In the Dreamcast days, many people were amazed by this game, but for various reasons, Ryo Hazuki’s story has yet to be concluded, leaving people with a deep sense of regret. This is why Shenmue 3 has been met with so much anticipation.

During this year’s E3, journalists from The Game Bus and A9VG played Shenmue 3 for 15 minutes, and gained an initial impression of the game.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Gamersky Report on Shenmue III from E3 2019 | Guest Post Translation

Today's post is a translation of a report by Chinese gaming site Gamersky on their recent 15-minute demo play-through at E3 2019. The translation is by Shenmue Dojo member and frequent post contributor yuc02.

(Screenshots added from Shenmue III footage released at E3 by IGN Japan).

E3 2019: We played Shenmue 3, where we chopped some wood and picked up herbs in a Chinese village

In a very-low key manner, the much-anticipated and delayed Shenmue 3 appeared at E3. We had the honor to sample the game during the show.

The demo version contained a Chinese village (Bailu) that we were free to explore.  I was able to investigate details, have conversations, play mini games, or progress the main storyline.  Because the demo was only 15 minutes long, I asked the staff there for their suggestions, in order to see the best and most interesting parts of the game given the time available.
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Saturday, June 15, 2019

[ENG Captions] Gamespot Interview with Yu Suzuki

At this week's E3, Gamespot carried out a short interview with Yu Suzuki before an audience, with the topic of course being Shenmue 3. To help capture Yu's words more accurately, I've translated his responses and added them as captions to the video in place of the live interpretation.

A written transcript of the interview follows the video.

Interview Transcripion

YS = Yu Suzuki

Q: What is your current vision for Shenmue III?

YS: My vision for Shenmue has not changed at all from what it was 20 years ago. I have an ideal in mind, and aim towards that by considering what is feasible with the technologies of the time.

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Haunting Music & New Art in the S3 Character Concept Theme | PlayStation Store

Pre-orders for Shenmue III for the PS4 are now open on the PlayStation store, and with it comes a Shenmue III Character Concept Theme pre-order bonus, for both the Standard and Deluxe editions.

Firstly, there is a beautiful (though short) and haunting new piece of piano & violin music that is a variation of the Shenmue theme. It has been shared via youTube by VG Life:

Next is a glimpse of one of the wallpaper images (image credit: Alfonso Martínez on Twitter), which shows concept art of five characters from the game:
Shenmue III Character Concept Theme for PS4
Update: a video of the theme has been posted on YouTube:

We can see a number of familiar faces from past trailers and development previews.
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Thursday, June 13, 2019

"Shin Shōryūken" Hidden Move in Shenmue Unlocked After 20 Years By Fan in Japan

Amazing. A fan has successfully created a hack to unlock the previously-rumored "Shin Shōryūken" move (as used by Ryu in Street Fighter III) that developers put into Shenmue but which can't be produced through normal control input. Once unlocked, Ryo uses it against Goro in the harbor blackmail QTE scene.

The existence of the move was first made known last year by a former AM2 developer who revealed that staff came up with it during development as an easter egg (with an immensely-tricky input sequence) but apparently Yu Suzuki, as producer, stepped in and put a stop to it before the final release - although the code was just disabled not removed, waiting to be dug up 20 years later!

Watch the move in action below.

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