Saturday, December 31, 2016

Yu Suzuki & Katsuhiro Harada Interview | Part 1 | DenFamiNicoGamer [26 Dec, 2016]

I've been working over the past few days on the translation of a multi-page interview with Yu Suzuki was recently published online by Japanese gaming site

Interviewed together with Yu is Katsuhiro Harada, of Tekken and Soul Calibur fame. 

Due to its length, I will be posting up the interview as a series.

Today I am pleased to present the first part. (Note that the order in which they are presented differs from that of the original article, as I am prioritizing the Shenmue-related content).

Yu Suzuki & Katsuhiro Harada

Part One

Today's initial part covers the following content:
  • Interviewee profiles
  • Article introduction
  • Interview / discussion:
    • Shenmue's popularity outside Japan
    • Shenmue: ahead of its time
    • Concept of a cinematic game

Also in today's part: a photo of Yu Suzuki sharing a building design for Shenmue III plus an previously-unseen early Shenmue project document. (I will be looking at the text written on the project documents in a future post!)

The interview translation starts below.

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Yu Suzuki's New Year Resolution [, Dec 29] has asked 110 Japanese game developers to comment on the upcoming 2017 (this theme sounds somewhat familiar...), and naturally Yu Suzuki is one of these.
"110 Game Developers' New Year's Resolutions for 2017"
While other developers have answered with a paragraph or two, Yu keeps his answer short and sweet - which is totally understandable given the way that game developers in Japan seem to get flooded with interview requests at the year end.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Yu Suzuki Comments on the Past & Coming Year [, 28 Dec 2016]

Yu Suzuki was one of the 149 prominent games industry figures who were surveyed by Japanese games site in their feature published today.

A montage of some of the 149 (mainly Japanese) game industry leaders to contribute comments.

Four questions were asked, covering games & media of this past year, as well as looking ahead to 2017. Read on for the questions and Yu's comments.

Note: the translation of another much larger interview from is also in the works, the first part of which will be posted within the next couple of days. It is a good time of year for interviews!

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Thoughts on Kickstarter Update #64 [Season’s Greetings!]

Today Yu and team released a second update for the month of December. While it does not really contain new information of note, it does have a special treat for backers in the form of an animated Shenmue-themed greeting for the holiday season.

Full animated version contained later in the post!

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Winter Heating in Japan | Shenmue Realism

Today's post is about the heating methods that can be observed in Shenmue at the Hazuki residence and elsewhere.

Winter in Yokosuka

The story of Shenmue opens on November 29, 1986 to a wintry scene in the hamlet of Yamanose where Ryo lives. Snowflakes drift down from an overcast sky, the roofs and trees are dusted with snow and snowdrifts have started to appear at the sides of the roads and pathways.

Shenmue intro scene
November 29, 1986: the snow will be turning to rain later in the day.

From this one's impression might be that Yokosuka experiences severe winters, but in real life it has a fairly mild climate, with temperatures rarely falling below freezing point. Snowfall is seen typically on only a few days each winter.

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Thoughts on Kickstarter Update #63 [Campaign and Progress Update]

Kickstarter Update #63 has been released, and includes some astonishing new images. Here are my thoughts on this latest update.

Game Development Status

A direct comment from Yu Suzuki reveals that he living and breathing Shenmue, and has been staying overnight at the offices more and more. His dedication to the project is evident.

New Work-In-Progress Images

Three new images are presented in the update, with the first showing an intricate temple gate illuminated by the glow of red hanging lanterns. Further in, a set of stairs leads up towards the dark interior of the temple and above, the moon casts a silvery light over the rocky mountains from a star-studded night sky.

Of the three this first image, entitled "Rising moon over the temple gate", is the one that captivated me most with its evocative atmosphere and lighting. It feels reassuringly "Shenmue" to me.

What intrigue lurks beyond the temple gate... [Click to enlarge]

The distinctive silhouette on the mountain peak is a clear tease to the return of a certain creepy villain!

If you feel as if you've seen this outline somewhere before...
... then you would be right: in the concept art for Chai.
Image detail: a wooden bench sits under the temple gate.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Shenmue III "Pre-Orders" for PC Start Tomorrow (Dec 15, 2016)

The weekly Famitsu magazine in Japan has released a few preview pages of their upcoming feature on expectations in the game industry for 2017 which goes on sale tomorrow (Dec 15).

One of the games picked up is Shenmue III, and includes a short message from Yu Suzuki.

Famitsu magazine preview page
A short description of Shenmue III is featured

The message from Yu Suzuki reads as follows (my translation, Japanese source text courtesy of Hachima Kikou):

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Sunday, December 11, 2016

"Let's Get Sweaty" | Translation Analysis

We join Ryo one cool but fine day in Dobuita, as he scouts around for a place to put in a spot of martial arts practice.
Finding an empty parking lot, Ryo enters it cautiously and stops in the middle, looking around him at the available space. "Maybe I can practice here," he muses. "Think I'll warm up a bit".

After a slight pause, almost as if to confirm the decision with some higher power, Ryo says with determination: "Let's get sweaty."

Ryo manages to keep a straight face as he delivers the English line.

It's another slightly off-beat line from the English version of Shenmue which has charmed fans far and wide. The (presumably) unintentional element of humor comes from a combination of Ryo's dead-serious tone coupled with the choice of words themselves - although the sentence can't be faulted for grammar.

Examining the equivalent phrase in Japanese reveals why the translation ended up the way it did.

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Yu Suzuki Currently In California

Yu Suzuki has met earlier today with Gio Corsi, Director of Third Party Productions & Developer Relations. The PlayStation Offices are located south of San Francisco in California.

Gio tweeted the photo below of the occasion, mentioning that Yu even put his signature to a Ryo Hazuki forklift model. (Hopefully Yu's wrist is holding up from his daily signing of the many pieces of Kickstarter reward art!)

The smile of someone who has been treated to a preview of the latest Shenmue 3 progress?

The L.A. Kickstarter Dinner

While information has been scarce regarding the timing of the Los Angeles Kickstarter dinner reward, it is believed to have been rescheduled to some time this month, from the original tentative June timeframe,

If this is the case, with Yu in California everything seems aligned for the dinner to take place this week.

Let's see what is revealed later in this month's Kickstarter update.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Shenmue Campaign Timeline

Team Yu has added a fantastic new resource to their website in the form of an extensive Campaign Timeline for Shenmue.

The timeline documents significant events that have occurred during the journey of the collective Shenmue fan community, starting from the early Shenmue development work and the mysterious Project Berkley through to its revival and current day events. Entries in the timeline contain links as appropriate to relevant historical posts, articles and videos.

The timeline is attractively laid out and easy-to-read.

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Shenmue's Absence From PSX 2016

The two-day PlayStation Experience (PSX) 2016 event took place over the weekend, and while there had been some anticipation among the Shenmue community for something new on Shenmue III to be revealed, in the end this turned out not to be the case.

I was among those who been hoping that Shenmue III would get a mention. There was the tweet from Cedric Biscay suggesting the possibility of something being shown in December, together with various other factors in the weeks and days before the event that all appeared to point to a reveal at PSX (confirmation bias!).

Furthermore, PSX seemed to "make sense" as it would have provided a high level of public exposure for the game, and timing-wise would have slotted in nicely ahead of the release of the trial version due some time in 2017.

However while the outcome is somewhat disappointing, the absence of Shenmue III from PSX was always within the realm of possibility.

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Yu Suzuki Interview Video (Subtitled) - Retro Games Expo 2016

A couple of months back, I posted up my English translation of an interview held with Yu Suzuki in August 2016 in which he speaks about his childhood and his time at SEGA as well as stories about several of the arcade games he designed during his time there.

Working together with Ziming from the Shenmue Dojo, we have put together a version of the video overlayed with English captions.

As usual, Yu comes across as relaxed and humble about his many achievements. Video form is particularly helpful when he is describing Space Harrier using various gestures and sweeps of his arm!

View the video below (running time: approximately 16 mins).

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thoughts on Kickstarter Update #62 [Yu Suzuki on the Music of Shenmue]

In this month's Kickstarter update, we have a video interview with Yu Suzuki on the topic of music.

Yu relaxes at the end of the interview
The questions cover the following areas:
  • The Music Yu-san Loves: his membership in a rock band growing up, and bands that have influenced him.
  • Approaching Music in Games: his changing role with respect to music.
  • Shenmue and Music - Atmosphere: evoking the atmosphere of China in 1987, with a frequent use of the erhu (Chinese fiddle).
  • Shenmue and Music - Sound Design: how music selection varies for battles, quests and events.
  • What Music Means to Games: music as one of the three key elements of a game.
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Monday, November 28, 2016

Is Lan Di the Leader of the Chi You Men?

In the English version of Shenmue, Lan Di is described as being the leader of the Chi You Men, a significant fact about one of the key characters in the story.

This information is provided by the trustworthy Master Chen, whom Ryo visits in an early part of the game.

However unfortunately it turns out that while Master Chen may be trustworthy, the English translation is not perfectly faithful to his original words.

Master Chen's English lines to analyze
Have these words been put into Master Chen's mouth?
Let's examine the Japanese version to find out if this is exactly what was said.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Lan Di Statue Photos (Exclusive Edition)

The Lan Di figure by collectibles maker First 4 Figures is now being shipped out to those lucky people who were able to snap one up.

Lan Di figure promotional image
Lan Di remains calm
as the Hazuki Dojo blazes around him
Lan Di 360 degrees
The regular edition
of the Lan Di figure
Today we have a selection of photos of the exclusive version of the Lan Di figure, provided by Jcgamer60 (Twitter account here) who received the delivery in Canada earlier this week and kindly offered them to share on this blog with the Shenmue community. Regarding the build quality of the statue he comments that he is "thrilled at the quality and attention to detail".

[The photos follow at the end of the next section.]
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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Shenmue Dojo Broadcast Special - 3 December, 2016

The Shenmue Dojo has announced the upcoming relaunch of the Dojo's Twitch channel, with an exciting line-up planned for the first special broadcast being hosted on December 3rd, in less than two weeks' time.

[Nov 28 update] The advertised GMT start time has been corrected to 5pm.

Shenmue Dojo Dec 3 Twitch Announcement
Shenmue Dojo Twitch Channel: Relaunching December 3rd

Here's a run-down of what lies in store in the December 3rd special broadcast:

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

SEGA Online Poll Results & Video Recap

The results from the online poll held this week by Sega Japan were announced this morning by live video feed from the Sega Fes event in Akihabara.

Panelists for the results announcement
Kensaku Nishimura (left), Yosuke Okunari (center), Hiroyuki Miyazaki (right).

I'll run through the results from each of the three categories in turn, and highlight any comments of interest from the Sega presenters about the results.

If you would prefer to view a quick summary of the results from all categories at once, skip down to the final image in this post.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Guide to the SEGA Japan Online Poll. [Now Closed]

In conjunction with an up-coming Tokyo event this weekend, SEGA Japan has put up an online poll in which they ask for the public to name your most memorable Sega game and character, out of any from the entire history of Sega.

Nov 22 update: the poll results have now been announced. I have written a follow-up post here with a summary of the results for each category..

The poll is in Japanese but is very short, consisting of only a few questions and is a great way for Shenmue fans to make our voices heard.

Click to enlarge
Poll introduction
[click to enlarge]
The questions are as follows:
Q1: Most memorable work of entertainment. Frustratingly, Shenmue is not listed, but to vote for it just enter シェンムー as free text in the first item.
Q2: Most memorable character. Ryo Hazuki (and Segata Sanshiro!) are listed as selectable options. Or enter 芭月涼 (=Ryo Hazuki) as  free text.
Q3: Which Sega creation you wish to see revived. The same answer as Q1 can be entered here as free text: シェンムー
Q4: Your sex
Q5: Your age bracket
See the images that follow for a detailed translation of each question.

Click here to vote in the poll: [Now closed]

The results of the poll are scheduled to be announced on the NicoNico SEGA live stream at 6am JST this Sunday Nov 20th here.

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cédric Biscay hints at Shenmue III material for the PSX event

Shenmue III co-producer Cédric Biscay of Shibuya Productions has tweeted out a promising comment regarding the possibility of something Shenmue related being revealed at the upcoming PlayStation Experience event at the start of December.

PlayStation Experience
PlayStation Experience 2016, December 3-4
His replied to a query posed by user Spaghetti from the Shenmue Dojo / NeoGAF as follows:
Cedric: "If we are ready on time, we will show something next december. I cannot confirm at this stage."

Tweet from Cedric

While being at pains to point out that this should not be taken as a definite confirmation, it is still a great indication that something is in the works for showing off Shenmue III - perhaps a trailer? - with a chance of it being revealed at the PSX event itself. And if not at the event, then hopefully soon after it.

We shall know more in a few weeks' time!

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

"It can't be... you... ?"

"It can't be... you... ?" These are the words from Shenmue's opening cut-scene gasped by Ryo's father, Iwao, after Lan Di levels an accusation of the murder of a man named Zhao Sun Ming (or "Sunming Zhao" in Shenmue II).

Just hold that thought while we perform an analysis.
A point of interest here is that the final word "you...?" suggests that Iwao may have a tentative idea of who Lan Di is. However is this really the case? It's a small point, but given that Ryo's entire journey kicks off from this crucial cut scene, it is worth a closer look.

In this post we'll examine the corresponding sentence in Japanese to try to get some clarification.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Top 200 Dreamcast Games Poll Results [DCJY 2016]

The results of the Dreamcast Junkyard Top 200 Dreamcast Games poll are out, and the Shenmue games have shone through again.
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Yu Suzuki Comments on Shenmue 3 - Nov 2 Famitsu interview

Japanese site today published a new interview with Yu Suzuki, in commemoration of the release of the recent Powerdrift 3D on the Nintendo 3DS, centered mainly around various arcade games he worked on at his time with Sega.

Yu Suzuki interview photo
The famed Yu Suzuki striped shirt puts in an appearance.
Image credit:

The good news for Shenmue fans is that the interview contains mention of Shenmue 3 in a few places, including some direct comments by Yu Suzuki.

I've extracted and translated the relevant parts below, starting with this comment by the interviewer:

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Kickstarter Update #61: Halloween Greetings

This month's Kickstarter update is Halloween themed as might be expected, with a colorful original illustration by Kenji Miyawaki.

Happy Halloween illustration
The illustration on the update page is entitled "Witch Shenhua and Pumpkin Patch Chai"
(That sounds a bit cute, how about "Devil-Zombie Chai")
Yu Suzuki is also shown sitting somewhat self-consciously signing one of the Reward illustrations.

Yu Suzuki signing an illustration
"Let me know when you've finished taking the photo"
Signed illustration
A better look at the illustration

Kickstarter Update #61: link to official site.

Thoughts on This Month's Update

A short but sweet update this month, with little in the way of development news. However, looking ahead we have the Playstation Experience event coming up in just over a month (December 3rd and 4th in Anaheim, California) and there is a strong possibility there may be something Shenmue 3 related there - hopefully something that will blow our socks off! Leave your thoughts in the comments on what this might be...
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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Two Fan-made Shenmue Videos Not to Miss

Two remarkable high-quality fan-made Shenmue videos have been released recently: "Shenmue: The Movie Remastered" and "Shenmue 3: A New Journey".

Shenmue: The Movie Remastered

The first is an HD-quality remaster of "Shenmue: The Movie", released to YouTube by Mr .357 earlier this year. It has already garnered an impressive 21,000 views and counting.

Shenmue: The Movie - Goro

The original "Shenmue: The Movie" was an official 90-minute film consisting of a compilation of the main cut-scenes from Shenmue. The intention was to bring purchasers of Shenmue II up to speed on the events of Shenmue. It was released as an actual movie in theaters in Japan in early 2001 and on DVD, being bundled with Shenmue II on the Xbox, a console on which the original Dreamcast-exclusive Shenmue had not been released.

Shenmue The Movie DVD cover
Japanese DVD cover for the official Shenmue: The Movie
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Map of Langhuishan - Shenmue 2 Unused Asset

Unlike Shenmue I where Ryo is comfortable and familiar with his hometown environment, in Shenmue II Ryo is a stranger in a strange land. Fortunately he has some options available to find his way around.

One of these are the handy map stands dotted around the city areas that Ryo can purchase for $10 a pop (if Ryo hasn't spent all his cash on capsule toys). Buying a map results in it being superimposed in real-time on the screen.

Ryo at the map stand
"Buy a map... or buy capsule toys..."
Ryo purchases a map of Workers Pier
"Guess I've got enough capsule toys for now."

Workers Pier map on the HUD
Real-time map on the HUD
Clearly it is the city areas where a map will be most useful, but I came across a very interesting finding when browsing the image files on disk...

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Shenmue Realism: Yamanose Shrine

The little shrine located in Yamanose is a familiar spot for Ryo being located just a minute away from his family home. And players of Shenmue are introduced to it early on in a cut scene where Megumi shows you the kitten whose mother was run over by Lan Di and his cohorts as they sped away in their black vehicle on "that day".

The shrine itself is a detailed example of an Inari shrine, a type of Shinto shrine found commonly through-out Japan in all sizes, from fairly small ones like in Shenmue to much larger structures. Inari (or "Inari Daimyojin" with a respectful suffix) is one of the principal deities of the Shinto religion and is the god of foxes, agriculture and industry among others.

Ryo pays a visit to Yamanose Shrine
in the evening.
I have made some comparisons below using photos I've taken of shrines in the Yokosuka area which highlight how well the details are portrayed in the game.

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Saturday, October 8, 2016

"Especially Since You Bought Merchandise." (Unnatural Utterances at the Tomato Convenience Store - Part 2)

Today we'll dive into the real meaning behind a phrase from Shenmue I that has been quoted with affection by fans throughout the years. Like the "This..." case examined previously, it's one that can come up when Ryo shops at the Tomato Convenience Store.

"Especially since you bought merchandise."
Caution! This phrase may bring your conversation to a stop
if used without adequate supervision.

The Scenario:

This time, Ryo selects a packet of potato chips to buy from the well-stocked shelves of the Tomato Convenience store.
Shenmue Potato Chips
Shenmue 'Potechi' Potato Chips from SEGA.
"Crispy & delicious. 94% potato. Flavor: gradually grows salty."

After Ryo has paid for the item, the shop assistant invites him to draw a raffle ticket. Ryo plucks one out from the box and unfolds it eagerly.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Ryo performing Victory Pose from Virtua Fighter

It's well-known among Shenmue fans that Ryo's character derives from the character of Akira in Virtua Fighter. But digging among Ryo's move animations in What's Shenmue reveals just how close that relationship really is.

Virtua Fighter 2 characters, ready for action

Ryo's Animations

Ryo's general animations for walking, turning, crouching and so on are stored in their own motion files in the Shenmue games. While most of these are used, there are also animations that are never used in the main game. With some small change to values in memory while the game is running (in an emulator), these hidden animations can be revealed.

One motion contained in What's Shenmue is named "AKI_WIN_312" and proved worthy of investigation.

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Shenmue 3 Dev Team Expanding! Leaflet Translation

Quest for the Leaflet

Today (1st October) I want along to a single-day event in Yokohama for Unreal Engine put on by Epic Games, with the venue being Pacifico Yokohama, the same conference center where Yu Suzuki held the Shenmue Premiere so many years ago.
Pacifico Yokohama
Pacifico Yokohama convention center,
where fans once lined up for the Shenmue Premiere
A number of talks on developing with Unreal were held through-out the day by companies such as Capcom and Square Enix, as well as exhibition booths and even a stall selling Unreal stickers and other merchandise.

Unreal Fest banner
It's the "Unreal Fest"
But the main reason I was there was for to get my hands on the Shenmue leaflet that the grapevine (tweet-vine?) indicated was being distributed at the event.

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Kickstarter Update #60: Dinner in Japan Report

This month's Kickstarter update is upon us (slightly earlier than usual, with a day still to go before the end of the month!).

The update consists of photos from the day the $10,000 Kickstarter backers and their guests spent with Yu Suzuki on September 16 for their Dinner in Japan reward, which we had a glimpse of earlier in the month.

Here is a small selection of photos from the full set, and a few comments.

Photo 1: In Kamakura, where they wandered along Komachi-dori, a bustling shopping alley near Kamakura station. It is a popular destination for both Japanese and overseas visitors, with shops of all kinds selling souvenirs and snacks. There are even shops that specialize in cooking fresh rice crackers while you wait, dipping them in soy sauce and handing them over wrapped in a piece of paper. Delicious!

Komachi dori
Inspecting individually-wrapped rice crackers on Komachi-dori.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

QTE Sound Collection

Ryo is tested at the barbershop
Ryo tries to calm his mind and ignore the insistent beeps

The distinctive sounds that are used in Shenmue whenever a Quick Timer Event (QTE) occurs are not easily forgotten. The rapid beeps signaling the need for an instant decision; the bright chirp that is played if your response has been successful - or the brash sound of the buzzer if not.

It doesn't take many games for the sound of the QTE beeps to cause your pulse to quicken, even outside of the game.

The QTE short beep and the "success" sound were also used elsewhere, most obviously when entering and navigating the main menu screen before play begins.

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Yu Suzuki Interview Translation (Retro Games Expo / 2016)

Today's post is a translation / transcription of a new Yu Suzuki video interview in Japanese that was filmed on 29 August 2016 in conjunction with the Retro Games Expo that is being held currently in Saitama prefecture, Japan.

The interview asks Suzuki about his life as a young boy, why he chose to work at Sega, and how some of his famous arcade games came into being. Suzuki also talks about the aspects of arcade game creation that are most important, and gives some advice on the essential attributes of a game developer.

Although parts of these stories may been heard before in previous interviews, with each interview there are always new and interesting details that have not come out before.

And now, on with the interview!

Yu Suzuki: "I want people to go all-out for what they want to do."

Yu Suzuki, Game Director & Producer

  • Born: Kamaishi city, Iwate prefecture, 1958
  • Joined Sega in 1983.
  • Creator of numerous game hits for Sega including Hang-On, Space Harrier, Out Run, Virtua Fighter & Shenmue.
  • Left Sega in 2008 to become Director at YS NET.

Q: What were you like as a child?

Yu Suzuki: I was born in 1958 in a city called Kamaishi. Later we moved to Sanriku village - it’s called Sanriku town now.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Cryptic Notes in Fukuhara-san's Room

It is clear upon entering Fuku-san's room that he is a video games fan, from the two game posters he has stuck up on his wall.

Virtua Fighter posters in Fuku-san's room
Left: In Fuku-san's room, a promotional poster for the original Virtua Fighter
Right: Fuku-san is apparently a fan of Pai Chan
The first poster shows a promotional image for Virtua Fighter, which looks to be the Sega Saturn version - Akira's hands are rendered in a chunky block style (as compared to the arcade version where he has individual moving fingers).

Akira (Sega console version)
Left: The arcade Akira has individual fingers...
Right: but not so for Akira in the Saturn version, who has blocky hands.
Image credit: gamemaster14neo
The poster next to that on the wall is a CG image of Pai Chan, one of the characters that appears in the game.
Pai Chan
Pai Chan
Image credit: crazyasianfan4
Turning our attention to the far wall, a couple of smaller notes or notices on the wall can be seen above his desk.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

New "Shenmue AM2" Podcast Series

A new podcast series called the Shenmue AM2 Podcast has recently started, with two episodes released so far. The podcast hosts are Andrew Letson and Matt Humphrey (their initials forming the A and M of "AM2"), two Shenmue fans and Kickstarter backers from Canada, who share their memories, opinions and humorous anecdotes about the Shenmue series.

Episodes 1 and 2 in Soundcloud
Episodes 01 and 02 are out now.

In Episode 01, a shorter episode of 25 mins, the guys introduce themselves and talk about the time they first played Shenmue and what it was that drew them to the game. Behind the commentary, selected tunes such as the Bob's Pizza theme play in the background for added atmosphere. I found myself keeping an ear out hopefully for the Tomato Mart song - I wasn't disappointed as it turned up later in the podcast.

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Shenmue 3 Kickstarter Dinner Party in Japan

Earlier this year, in February 2016, the first of the three Shenmue III Kickstarter reward dinners with Yu Suzuki was held in Monaco (actually, in the nearby town of Eze - there is a fantastic article write-up of that weekend by one of the participants, Amir Moosavi, that you can read here).

Japan Dinner Reward

Yesterday was the day for another select group of noble Kickstarter donors who backed Shenmue III at the top-most level, together with their guests, to join Yu Suzuki for the dinner reward in Japan.

The photos from Twitter so far give a hint of this enviable experience!

Day Trip to Kamakura

Prior to the dinner, Yu took the group on a trip to Kamakura, a small coastal city to the south of Tokyo in Kanagawa prefecture - not too far from Yokosuka, in fact. It is a place that is popular with tourists for its intimate and historic atmosphere and its many shrines and temples.

The group photo was taken at the site of the distinctive bronze statue of the Great Buddha which is located outdoors at Kotuku-in temple. Sitting (literally) at around 13.4m high, it is an icon of the city - and of Japan itself.

Yu Suzuki and backers in Kamakura
YSNET tweet: "We've come to the Great Buddha in Kamakura.
The rain stopped with perfect timing."

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Recent sightings of Yu Suzuki

With the 2016 Tokyo Game Show in full swing, Yu Suzuki has also been out and about recently!

Visiting Tokyo Game Show, First Business Day

Suzuki's message: "Here to check out TGS. Snapped with Torishima-san :-)"

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Yu Suzuki Arcade Games at Retro Games Exhibition in Saitama, Japan

A retro games exhibition is currently being held at the "SKIP City" complex in Saitama which features arcade and home console (specifically, the Nintendo Entertainment System) games from the 1980s.

Note: a new video interview with Yu Suzuki has been released for the occasion! In it, Suzuki speaks about some of his arcade games at Sega like Hang On & Afterburner as well as game creation in general. This interview is in Japanese only, so I am planning to translate it into English. I will post it up as soon as it is completed.

Update: I have finished adding translated captions to the video. View it here.

The exhibition runs through to March next year.

Overview of the Exhibition

The following information is translated from the event home page.

Last year, "Stage One" of the exhibition was held, with multiple areas covering a diverse range of games representative of the era from the birth of digital games through to 1982. With the core of the exhibition displaying game cabinets that could actually be played, a great many visitors attended and had fun while learning about things such as the graphics technology and how the machines worked.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Cédric Biscay: No "big update" on Shenmue III for the near future

An eager fan has tweeted Cédric Biscay to ask whether any new Shenmue III pictures are on their way.

From Cédric's reply, there are no major updates currently planned for the next few months by way of new pictures or videos:
Cedric's at MAGIC Monaco
in 2015
My first reaction to the question is that while it's true that the last "polished" Shenmue III presentation may have been quite a while ago being back in February, let's not forget the development progress and even some glimpses of in-progress scenes that have been shared with us each month in the Kickstarter updates and videos. I'm quite happy with these without a new trailer being released.

So I hope that the team takes such questions in the way that I'm sure they are intended i.e. enthusiastic anticipation - rather than as dissatisfaction towards a lack of a new update. Although this is the first Kickstarter I've backed myself, I would say that they are doing a great job of keeping backers fed with new tidbits of information, without giving too much away before the right time.

But should Cédric's mention of "December" in his reply raise hopes at the possibility of new material to be shared around that timeframe? Possibly!
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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Dorimaga Awards Part 2: Best Script (Dorimaga / March 2000)

This is the 2nd part in a series of translations of an article that was published in the March 2000 edition of the Japanese Dreamcast Magazine ("Dorimaga") in which the results of the first "Dreamcast Magazine Grand Prix" were announced in which all released Dreamcast software titles competed against each other across several award categories.

Part 1, the award for Best Title which also features an interview with Yu Suzuki, can be found here.

Further translations / interviews to come for the remaining award categories in which Shenmue ranked.

Dreamcast Magazine article

Dreamcast Magazine article

This time Shenmue claims first place in the category for Best Script. Read on for an interview with Yu Suzuki and Keiji Okayasu. 

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